As drought, feed costs, and urban development wear on West Coast milk producers, states like Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa are pitching themselves as a dairy heaven. Even in California, the nation’s No. 1 dairy state, many dairy farmers are listening.
For the Midwest, an influx of dairies isn’t just about milk. It’s about pumping dollars into the rural economy.
California is branded as the state with happy cows, but increasingly, not necessarily happy dairy owners. For many of them in the nation’s No. 1 dairy state it’s getting tougher to make a living, that’s why some are some selling their cattle and heading to the Midwest.
A full quarter of California dairies have been shuttered since 2007, according to Michael Marsh, CEO of Western United Dairymen.
“They’ve just closed their doors and they’ve decided to make their investment in other states,” Marsh said.
Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 4:02 pm
For the Midwest’s biggest crops, this harvest season was a big one. With winter setting in, the race is on for farmers to ship out their harvest so it’s not left out to spoil. But the giant harvest and a lack of available rail cars have created a traffic jam on the rails and the highways.
Usually, famers store their harvest in silos and grain bins, but this year, farmers brought in so much, there’s just no room. Farmers in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and South Dakota are all being hit particularly hard by the storage shortage.
More cities want to take eating local food from just a hip trend to an economic generator, but as in many grassroots movements, there can be some growing pains along the way. Northern Colorado advocates are trying a new model to spur growth and they’re borrowing ideas from the tech sector.
It’s called a food cluster and it’s based in Fort Collins, Colo.
After getting pummeled by drought and low cattle prices, many ranchers are across the Midwest are eager to grow their herds. As they do, grass is turning into a hot commodity.
The national beef herd is down to the size it was in 1951. Shoppers know that beef is more expensive, which has people switching to chicken and pork. To raise more cattle and perhaps bring down meat prices, ranchers need more pasture. The trouble for many ranchers is grass has grown expensive.