For New York dairy farmer Skip Hardie, the last several years can be summed up in one statement. “Our farm went through financial hell for the last six-plus years as I'm sure a lot of your listeners did. It was really ugly,” he shared during the July 20 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream. “We just kept getting leaner and meaner, and we've kind of come into this period of really great prices – the best prices ever that most of us will see – not necessarily ready to blow the top off this thing.”
Instead, Hardie shared that his farm has been focused on financially retrenching and working to set the operation up for long-term success.
“We've been pricing a barn,” he said. “Right now, the going rate in our area is $4,500 per freestall. At this point in time, it seems like a good idea to just kind of back off expansion plans.”
That’s the general perspective he’s gotten from other dairymen in his area as well.
“We're all in a semi-expansion mode, but we're not in, ‘Let's blow the barn doors off and double or triple production mode,’” he continued.
Hardie sees opportunity on the horizon, though, particularly in the global market. Leading world dairy competitors are facing a number of challenges. The EU is dealing with increasingly restrictive sustainability measures, and in New Zealand, land base is at a premium. As such, Hardie thinks that the U.S. is positioned to grow exports substantially.
On his own farm, he shared that he intends to continue focusing on efficiency and limiting capital purchases.
“We strive to be as efficient as possible in every aspect. We installed a robot for postdipping on the rotary, and it freed up two and a half people. We're at almost 2 million pounds of milk sold per employee,” Hardie explained. “The recession, or whether it's just this tremendous inflation, seems to be affecting capital purchases.”
To watch the recording of the July 20 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.
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