Dairy producers proved they are a resilient lot. Despite tough economic conditions during the past two years, most producers kept milking cows as only 1,805 licensed dairy farms called it quits last year. Not only did this represent the smallest drop in permitted dairy farms since tracking began in 1992, last year also marked the lowest percentage drop at 3.3 percent. The next smallest reductions occurred in 2005 and 2008 when 3.4 percent of dairies hung up milkers for the last time.

It appears dairy farm losses may be moderating. When looking at nearly two decades of data, the previous three years posted the lowest actual reductions in farm numbers, noting the small losses in 2009 (2,185) and 2008 (2,003).

To read more on this topic and see statewide comparisons, see page 159 of the March 10, 2011 issue of Hoard's Dairyman.