March 6 2018 07:00 AM

It’s not the plan we want, but we want to survive these milk prices.

Across the country America’s dairy farmers are sitting down to kitchen tables and making tough choices. These discussions are centered around how to endure and survive the low milk prices.

And it’s heartbreaking.

Even with all the best farm business management, financial risk planning, and “oh shit funds,” many of us are forced to look for another plan.

We are past the point of places we can cut back that was already done last year. But when there doesn’t look to be any end in sight, where do you turn for the next plan?

For our family farm, we are 3 weeks into a plan we would have never said yes to before. My husband has taken a job off the farm. While it feels like a giant step backward for our future, it is our current plan to survive.

I’m not going to lie; it’s heartbreaking on a lot of levels. But I also understand how very, very lucky we were with the timing of this opportunity. There are too many farm families out there without another option.

I wish I had the answer, I wish somebody had the answer. I know too many of us are way past plan A, B, or even Z because in my eyes the whole dairy industry needs a new plan.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of two young boys who round out the family run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.