Surplus milk and soft prices put most of the Country’s dairy farmers in a tight spot last year. In South Dakota, farmers are just getting ready to run. They expanded milk production multiple months including a 13% jump in November and hope to add 20,000 more cows to the herd over the next two years.
While the state has already met its initial goal of growing its herd to more than 100,000 cows Roger Sheibe of Midwest Dairy Association says they hope to double that. Over the next two years thousands of cows will be added according to Sheibe.
“We have 20,000 permitted cows on the books that haven’t been built for yet,” he says. “We can expect to add them over the next two years.”
This story was originally reported by Betsy Jibben, Farm Journal TV national reporter. Watch her story below.
Roger Scheibe of Midwest Dairy Association says the growth is coming in many forms.
“You have farmers adding another barn on, maybe another 200 cows,” he says. “We are seeing a lot of that in South Dakota as well as farms that want to move here.”
Stefan Temperli was one of those farmers. He moved to Elgen, S.D. from Canada because staying to farm with his parents didn’t make financial sense.
“My parents were milking 60 cows on quota and both my younger brother and myself wanted to get in the business,” he says. “Due to the cost of expansion because of the quota it wasn’t going to pencil out to stay in Canada.”
Temperli hedges the majority of his milk. Although he missed out on the record high prices of 2014, his 2015 milk contracts have put him in a financial position that allows him to expand.
Sheibe and Temperli agree more processing capacity is necessary to meet the needs of their expanding cow herd. Sheibe says the state could add one more processing plant in just a few years.