CWT Farm Audits Begin in Latest Herd Retirement Program

August 11, 2009 07:00 PM
Source: NMPF News Release

Field auditors for Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) have begun visiting the first of the 294 farms tentatively accepted in the program's eighth herd retirement.


When the auditors complete their task, likely by late September, 87,000 cows that produced 1.8 billion pounds of milk will have been removed from the nation's milking herd.


Information released today by CWT shows:

  • 73% of the farms selected are located east of the Mississippi River;
  • 70% of the 87,000 cows to be retired come from the Western and Southwest regions of the U.S. These two regions will account for 72% of the milk removed.

"The increase in the percentage of farms selected east of the Mississippi in this herd retirement compared to the one just completed is an indication that the financial distress farmers are feeling is not unique to one or two regions of the country, but being felt nationwide,” said Jim Tillison, CWT's chief operating officer.


Both the average herd size (296 cows) and the average production per cow (20,884 pounds) are the highest of any of the eight herd retirements CWT has carried out. That indicates that "these are not just small farms with low]end cows that would have soon been gone anyway,” Tillison said. "These are, in many cases, larger herds with significant potential future milk production that CWT is removing in order to help bring supply back into line with demand.”


CWT is also removing approximately 3,200 bred heifers, nearly three times the next highest number since the option was added to the herd retirement program a year ago. All farmers bidding in this round will be notified no later than Aug. 31, 2009, as to whether their bid was among those accepted.


CWT staff will continue to monitor key economic indicators in order to determine if and when to implement another herd retirement.

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