He’s a farmer, father and quickly becoming one of the funniest farmers on Twitter. Dwayne Faber's Twitter following climbed to over 30,000 this year. It’s humor that helped him gain traction by followers, and it’s that daily dose of humor he hasn’t veered away from yet. The funny tweets continue to flow, despite the many challenges he’s battling as a dairy farmer in Washington State.
“Definitely milk prices, that topline revenue” said Faber, when asked about his biggest challenge. “That's been the hardest part; milk prices just aren't there.”
It’s not just the price he and other dairy farmers are getting for their milk that’s an obstacle. It’s also finding enough labor to do the work in a very labor-intensive business.
“Labor has always been an issue; that's continuing to be an issue,” said Faber. “Living in the Pacific Northwest, anybody with a pulse can go to Seattle and make $25 an hour, and we're having to compete with that.”
It’s those challenges that can mute anyone's outlook. After several years of grueling prices, some farmers are becoming jaded, as financial burdens chip away at optimism in farming. Faber says he chose a different route, opting to use Twitter as the place he can escape, ultimately choosing humor over negativity.
“It's tough, said Faber. “You do look for outlets, and for me Twitter is an outlet. It's a way to separate a little bit.”
He’s hopeful milk prices will turn around in 2019. He said the optimistic piece today is dairy farmers already faced four straight years of low milk prices. He said at some point, the markets are going to flip, he’s just hoping the turnaround comes soon.
It’s that turnaround that some analysts project could happen in six months; a glimmer of hope Farm Journal’s MILK editor Mike Opperman has been following.
“I think if we pick up on the demand side - both globally and domestically - we'll help take up some of that supply that's out there,” said Opperman. “I think that demand starts to come around, and we'll start to see milk prices start to jump.”