Young Dairyman's Conference

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

Dairy farmers throughout the state are in the area trying to help improve Kentucky's dairy industry.

The Kentucky Dairy Development Council is hosting The Young Dairyman's Conference in Bowling Green.

The purpose of the event is to give young dairy farmers the opportunity to improve their dairy operations and give hope to the dairy industry overall.

There are more than 1,150 dairy farms in Kentucky but that number is falling.

"Kentucky is like every other state in the nation and especially in the Southeast. We're declining at a rate of about eight percent each year for about two to three years," said Roger Thomas, executive director of the Kentucky Dairy Development Council.

Thomas said this is because many dairy companies are consolidating. Some of the smaller dairy farms in Kentucky can't keep up and are going out of business.

"When you had five companies, you might have one or two companies so therefore you're not able to get a comparative price," young dairy producer, Travis Smith said.

Smith is trying to learn how he can expand his role in Kentucky dairy development. He said the high costs of dairy farms is also contributing to the decline in the industry.

"Much like every producer, if you don't have a family operation to fall back on, to grow into, the initial start up costs, the capitol investment cast are extremely high," Smith said.

There are loans available specifically for dairy farmers but he said you have to consider the cost of your cows, land and equipment but the Kentucky Dairy Development Council is working to help young farmers stop the decline of dairy farms and turn the industry around.

"Not only is it important to South Central Kentucky because this is one of the huge pockets of dairies in the state, it's important to the whole state because the economic activity that it generates," Thomas said.

Thomas said dairy farms provide more than $600 million to the state's economy. He said Barren County is the number one dairy county in the state, Christian County is second and Warren County ranks in the top ten.

The Kentucky Dairy Development Council started about a year and a half ago and this is the first year The Young Dairyman's Conference.

This event is being held at the Holiday Inn on Scottsville Road. It began on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007, and will last through tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 8, 2007.


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