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Peruse practical information for the dairy producer on essential topics including management, A.I. and breeding, new technology, and feed and nutrition.

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Editor’s note: The following is the second of a two-part series discussing basic financial statements and analysis tools.

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I have been a Spanish teacher for 20 years. A while ago, I was asked to help local dairy producers with their Mexican employees. I started working and have never, ever looked back. I love what I do. As I gain experience in this world of milking cows, scraping estiércol (es-dee-air-col) or manure and pushing up feed, I am beginning to form an image of what makes a good patrón (pa-drone) or boss.

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Marketing is becoming an important tool to help dairy producers reach maximum profitability. I interviewed Scott Stewart who recently wrote a book, New Times, New Rules – Take Control of Your Farm Marketing, about agriculture marketing. I asked him how dairy producers should approach marketing and how agriculture markets have changed in the last 25 years.

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Today it takes more than hard work to operate a profitable dairy. Financial measurements help make it possible to not only understand and measure but to sustain profitability despite expense rates that have risen from 50 percent of gross income in 1980 to 70 to 80 percent of gross income today.

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Jim and Laura Lee Albers decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Chino, California, in September 2005. Their move to the west Texas town of Dalhart made Covenant Dairy a pioneer in one of the fastest-growing dairy regions in the nation.

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Brent Duncan of Franklington, Louisiana, is most grateful this Christmas for normal weather. To a dairy producer in the Louisiana panhandle, cool temperatures and wet fall days are critical for winter survival. Both have been fantastic this fall, and optimism has replaced survival as the theme on Duncan’s dairy this Christmas.

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