Dairy farmers remain optimistic in Chautauqua County despite hardships endured during the pandemic.
That was the message from Cornell Cooperative Extension Farm Business Management Specialist Katelyn Walley-Stoll while talking about June being celebrated as “Dairy Month” in the United States. Walley-Stoll said the pandemic hit farms really hard with fees tacked onto milk prices as well as low milk prices causing farmers to dump milk, “For farms that were already struggling or having some cash flow issues or maybe the farm owners were getting to retirement age and didn’t necessarily have a new generation coming in, we did see some farms stop producing milk, sell businesses, or switch to producing beef cattle, or something a little less volatile which is unfortunate. But for the majority, dairy farmers are very resilient.”
Walley-Stoll said dairy farms have a important economic impact on our area, “We kind of have this number that for every dollar that a farms brings in $2.29 is generated in the local community. So a single 100 cow dairy farm, for example, which is on the smaller side for our region, could have as much as an over $2 million worth of economic impact.”
There are 150 dairy farms in Chautauqua County with a total of over 680 dairy farms in the Southwest New York region.