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Minnesota Loses Almost 150 Dairies in 2023

Minnesota’s already-shrinking dairy sector lost another 58 dairy farm permits in November. That brings a total of 146 fewer dairy farmer permits at Christmas than the state had at the beginning of the year.

While October, November, and December typically see dairy farms shut down, Minnesota Milk Producers Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom says he hasn’t seen more than 50 in a single month for a long time. The numbers show just how razor-thin financial margins are under a crushing load of economic pressures. High input costs and low commodity values are squeezing margins only a year after the dairy industry was in the midst of higher prices for milk, cheese, and butter in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Overall, Minnesota had a total of 1,825 permits as of December 1. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says the state had more than 4,000 dairy farms as recently as ten years ago.

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