Hoping to compete with California, some Wisconsin farmers expand

US - While most Wisconsin farmers have fewer than 100 cows, Jim Ostrom can fit nearly 6,900 into the seven barns at Tidy View Dairy.
calendar icon 26 December 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
In one of his two milking parlors, five workers hustle down the center aisle, tending to 100 cows hooked up to milking machines. Milking takes 12 minutes per cow here, and the process runs around the clock, producing enough milk to fill eight 6,000-gallon tankers per day.

Ostrom is part of a new _ and important _ breed of Wisconsin farmers. While so-called mega-operators represent only 1.3 percent of the state's 15,300 farms, they produce 16 percent of its milk.

"The dairymen in Wisconsin have a common enemy, and it is the West Coast large production units we're competing with," Ostrom said. "In order to compete, we have to reinvest. And reinvestment does not look like 25 years ago.

"It has economies of scale."

California's large dairies have already surpassed Wisconsin as the No. 1 producers of milk, and farmers agree it's only a matter of time before the Golden State becomes the top cheese producer.

Source: Journal Times
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