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Dairy- CWT- Disbelief

Accepted number of bids were announced last Fri. 7/9, notification to start Mon. 7/12. I had known since bid deadline that my brother bid his herd. I asked him what plan B was if he did not get the acceptance. No plan B, was ready to get OUT of dairy. 3rd generation dairy, quite successful, top 5 herd of county, leader and one looked upon to see what new technology to be tried for cows or crops.


He called last evening, somewhat un-nerved, he received the call that his bid was accepted, not sure if he made the right decision, I was unable to assure him that his decision set right with me.  My grandfather was always an admired successful dairyfarmer, my Dad set the example to carry on the tradition, John stepped up and has done a tremendous job with the dairy, crops and now horse boarding.

Spoke with him this AM, did not sleep well, staying his course, let his key employees know what is happening. Paul has been with him 12 years, Tom 12 yrs also. I hope his BAD pers. weeks prior to this decision will not haunt him. Everyone has BAD days.


Two weeks and the cows will be gone. 3rd cut haylage is done this week, wheat harvest is starting, soybean crop is best yet, corn crop looks great, will move heifers back from custom grower and continue on with growing and marketing grains.

Last summer a prominent dairy of 1200 went out of business, role models of good business, it really questioned my sheer existence as to why I was going forward with re-financing. We decided to stay in NY and expand our dairy in 2000. New parlor stated in 2003, larger used equip. needed to provide crops, had the dairy herd, had the heifer herd, oldest son became partner and lead crop person  ***** made it over the halfway mark of just having 7.5 years left on the 15 yr mtg. TOO MUCH DEBT TOO FAST**** TOO LOW PRICES FOR MILK*** re-financed with lead lender.

Successful dairymen and their business's are becoming extinct. The milk pricing formula is outdated, new policy not until fall 2012. There is life after dairy, I remind my son that he could go work the the other LARGE dairy in the area, have quality time off, pay his mortgage and not have to be part of the life struggling decisions that need to be made daily as an owner. No more sick cows, no more worry about how much rain we did, or did not get for the crops, what piece of equipment will not hold up even with the best preventative maintenance.

Attitudes are the best measure, paying bills somewhat on time helps, equity eroding becomes norm.


I will be sad when the cows leave. I remember my 1st 4-H show cow, she was loaded up to leave for beef, low milk production** imagine my surprise, me at 12 yrs old when my Dad brought her back and put her in the dry lot for the summer. Her name was Mistletoe.

Husband thinks CWT is NOT the way to leave the dairy business. Son says other farmers will be SHOCKED when the word gets around   ---- small town stuff ---- etc.  People will ask why, John? Who will be next in the area??

As I contiue today working on a financing plan to purchase another piece of land.

TIA for letting me express how I feel today.



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4 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Dairy- CWT- Disbelief

My sympathies , forever in dairy it seems like one does the good and right thing, keep getting larger to compete. But it is killer, the price never goes up its like the industry loses, loses so the population can have milk products.

Forever, it has been if enough get liquidated. Then maybe?


If a drought materializes here and meal and corn blow high, I think investing in a string of milk futures  stating Nov 2010 and going out 14 months will pay off.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Dairy- CWT- Disbelief

Darlene my sympathies.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts as openness about the current financial constraints in the dairy business will open the eyes of many who doubt the horrid conditions of the past 2 years. 

Your story is being lived out in many households and dairy barns around the country.  It is difficult to have such an abrupt end to an illustrious multi generational farm family but in the end you will still have the wonderful memories of a great farm family.

It is little consolation to look at others pain and justify the decision based on that so realize that at some time you will come to peace with this decision and realize that you will still have your family.

I grieve with your family for this loss and hope that you will keep us informed of your transition. JR 

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Re: Dairy- CWT- Disbelief

I echo that!, My sympathies.  This is happening way too much, and it is very hard to see and council the number of families going through this.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Dairy- CWT- Disbelief

I will never forget the day we took our last finishing hogs out of the old barn on my father's place.  We had built a new finisher, and it was 12 miles closer to home and presented no security problems....

I thought he was going to cry...hogs had always been there. 

We've gone out of and/or watched other families go out of hogs, chickens, laying hens, dairying, beef cattle, tobacco and peanuts.   We are down to hogs (contracting as growers) and hay, more as a niche than a commodity crop here, with horse spinoffs. Some of those crops, our family had raised for a dozen exaggeration. 

 It was always sad to make a  decision to narrow our scope, even with a crop I despised as much as I hated tobacco; but, it had to be done, for various reasons each time. 

The message I'd offer is that life does go on, and often is easier, once the decision sett;es in as a new reality.  From the sound of it, the brother didn't think his bid would hit,and he was sort of shocked when it did.    All you can do is help him with the consequences and not never know what his family's sentiments are, behind closed doors. 

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