"It's a drop in the bucket compared to the price decline in dairy farm prices," says MDA President Ted Sheppard, a dairy producer from Cabool, Missouri.
"The estimated $127 million in direct payments represents less than 10 percent of US dairy farmers’ losses caused by the retaliatory tariffs imposed by both Mexico and China.
“Our financial situation is compounded with the drought in our state. Our pastures are burned up in some areas and hay cuttings were less than half of normal. Most dairy farmers I talk with are short on hay to feed this winter," says Sheppard.
Unlike most farm commodities, we are harvesting a perishable product that needs to find a market now.
"We are proud of the fact that Missouri's dairy industry adds $2 billion to the state's gross domestic product according to a University of Missouri study," says Sheppard. "The study also showed an economic output effect per cow in Missouri of $14,464."
The economic pressures brought by lack of markets and feed shortages are forcing dairy farms to close now and will continue if normal trading conditions aren't resumed sooner than later, concludes Sheppard.