The pace of growth for the dairy industry in California, Idaho and Texas is slowing. Minnesota Milk Producers Association Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom testified before the House Agriculture Committee Tuesday, highlighting the opportunities in the Upper Midwest. “Growth in places like Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa is due to the three Rs; rain, resources and the regulatory climate. If we can provide that welcome mat, Minnesota will be the dairy choice in the U.S. and worldwide for the next half-century.” With three years of low prices, a large number of dairy farmers are leaving the business. For the dairy farmers that remain, Sjostrom said there are unique challenges. “We’ve got lenders in Minnesota, especially in low-dairy areas, choosing to exit out of the dairy portfolio entirely. There are literally farmers that do not have a bank right now, not because they couldn’t cash flow (and) not because they couldn’t pay their loans, but simply because their bank exited from the dairy industry altogether.”
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