Declining Dairy

By  | 

In December 2006, the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved $49,000 for the Kentucky Dairy Development Council.

The Kentucky dairy industry has an economic impact of over half a billion dollars a year on the state's economy and while the average dairy in Kentucky has 80 cows, that number is increasing every year, while the number of dairies in the state continues to decrease.

"The dairy industry in Kentucky is on the decline right now, as far as the number of dairies, there are still dairies going out everyday and most of the ones staying in are getting larger and getting better at what they're doing," dairy farmer, Tim Elkins said.

Elkins, like many farmers, is seeing the decline of agriculture, an industry that once dominated the American economy. The number of dairy farms in the Commonwealth is declining at a rate of about eight percent and while the small dairy farms are disappearing, the big dairies are increasing their operations.

"That's just the way all the farm industry is going now. You have to get larger to stay in business," Elkins said.

That's where the Kentucky Dairy Development Council comes in. The KDDC is trying to help ensure dairy farmers are able to keep making a living off Kentucky milk.

"When you ask a dairy farmer in Kentucky 'what can we do to help you,' the number one thing is improve our milk price," said Roger Thomas, with the KDDC and with the dairy industry in Kentucky grossing over $220 million in 2005, the impact on the state's economy is vital.

"It's very important to local communities in generating economic activity," Thomas said.

"Kentucky is ranked 49th out of 50, in the state as far as milk production per a cow and that's one thing I think the KDDC is trying to change. Try to help dairymen that's still milking cows in Kentucky to get better at it and produce a better quality milk," Elkins said.

The Kentucky Dairy Development Council has a few up-coming events to help Dairymen improve their farms and promote dairy in Kentucky.

Jan. 18, 2007 KDDC Meeting at Cave City Covention Center

Feb. 6-9, 2007 Annual Young Dairymen's Conf. in Bowling Green

Jan.-Dec. 2007 KDDC Barn Meetings, Locations TBA