Dairy farms are disappearing in Iowa and across the U.S. as the downturn in the ag economy and trade disputes are hitting the industry especially hard. Iowa has lost about 80 dairy farms this year, according to the Iowa State Dairy Association. This week, members of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) voted to push for more assistance from the Trump Administration for those struggling farmers. NMPF spokesperson Alan Bjerga says the long-term outlook for industry looks good.
Exports are needed for milk production expansion, but retaliatory tariffs have halted shipments to key trade partners. Bjerga said NMPF members voted to seek assistance and improvements in the economy rather than some kind of production management system.
Bjerga notes economic loss estimates show dairy farmers lost roughly $1.5 billion in income since May, while USDA trade mitigation payments only allocated $127 million to farmers. Iowa still has roughly 1,150 dairy farms and is the nation’s 10th-largest milk producer. In addition to the decline in exports, the dairy industry is struggling with continued low milk prices, which are around half of what they were four years ago.