Number of Missouri Dairy Farms Declines

US - At age 77, Arlen Schwinke might be getting too old for the twice-a-day milkings that come with working a dairy farm, but he's still deeply committed to Missouri's dairy industry.
calendar icon 21 March 2008
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Rather than sell off his cows when he decided to stop milking, Schwinke rented them out to other farmers.

"We kept seeing cows leaving the state of Missouri," he said. "I wanted them to stay here."

Missouri is one of several states where the numbers of dairy farms, many of them family-owned, are declining, despite efforts to bolster the industry. The state is also seeing a decrease in its dairy cow population and its milk production.

Missouri had as many as 1 million dairy cows by the end of World War II. The numbers declined in subsequent years, but cows were more productive, so the reduction didn't always translate into less milk being produced.

However, the state has seen rapid declines in its dairy herd in recent years. By 2000, Missouri was home to 154,000 dairy cows. The number dropped more than 25 percent by last year, to about 112,000 cows.

Source: The Associated Press
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