August 2, 2012

Drought Devastating Dairy Industry in Missouri

The ongoing severe drought continues to be devastating to Missouri's dairy herd.

"I think we could lose up to a third of our dairy cow numbers," says MDA President Larry Purdom and a dairy farmer from Purdy.

"It's been a double whammy on top of slumping farm prices. The weather has scorched our pastures and crops so feed is running out for many dairy farmers. We are searching high and low for hay and feed that just isn't there.

"Some are just giving up. Yesterday I saw three herds sell out at the Springfield livestock auction and two more herds were ready to go," says Purdom.

"These cows were sold for beef and will not be going back into the milking herd. This means less home grown milk for Missouri which is already a milk deficit state. Our dairy farmers produce only about half of what Missouri's consumers need for all uses.

"We appreciate all of the efforts by state and federal leaders to date but it would give us some hope if the U.S. House of Representatives would immediately pass the new Farm Bill. It contains feed assistance programs that could help us this fall and winter.

"Dairy farmers facing this severe drought need help now!" says Purdom. "It would be extremely helpful if we had support for added transportation costs to bring hay and feed in from farther away than normal.

"I know Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson introduced a bill today that would reinstate some of the feed assistance programs from last year. These provisions are already contained in the proposed Farm Bill passed by the U.S. Senate and the House Agriculture Committee.

"The House only has 13 days after the August Congressional recess. The time to act is now. But it won't do us any good unless we can hang on.

"I continue to remain hopeful that our leaders realize the severity of the situation we are facing here in Missouri and with our dairy farms," concludes Purdom.

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