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Old 02-07-2010, 01:22 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,970 times
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For years we have farmed beside a nearby farm, often playing tug of war with the landowners whom we both leased land from. Some years they would get the fields, and some years we would. At times it was downright nasty as our dairy farm expanded and so did theirs. I mean farm land here is scarce and we fought hard over fields as they became available.

I was shocked today when they came over to the farm, shook hands and said it was over...they were selling their cows. The fields were ours, the corn and haylage in their bunkers, even the equipment at salvage...everything if we wanted it. Yes even the cows at beef prices. All of it has little value because there are so few farms here that can utilize that much volume, and the equipment is in rough shape from lack of maintenance.

I know you are supposed to feel euphoric when your greatest competitor folds up, but I will tell you right now it was a VERY hollow feeling. They said when milk started to tumble over a year ago that 25% of the farms would not make it, we did not realize how accurate it would be. It is just a hard hit to the rural life here, the economy, and the farming community as another 3 plus generational farm goes under. With around 300 cows, it was not a big dairy farm, but certainly sizable and made a contribution to Maine's dairy production.

Interestingly enough this is in time to notification that we were approved for our new farm purchase. We'll be increasing our herd size by another 400 cows and certainly need the fields as we continue to grow. This is the culmination of two years of legal and accounting wrestling, but it just had to fall on a day when our neighbor farmer ended up losing his farm. As I said, it is a very hollow victory.

I just cannot figure out why this country continues to import milk when our own farmers are going under at an unprecedented level? In any case, God Bless the AMERICAN Dairy Farmers...or at least the few we have left!
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:05 AM
 
7,780 posts, read 13,616,705 times
Reputation: 3458
I'm guessing you meant 'Folds' instead of 'bluffs' in your OP, since it appears your competitor is indeed going out of business.

I've been around dairy farms my whole life (though I've never owned or worked on one) and it's a shame to see them fading. Was there not some sort of arrangement that might have worked for you and your neighbor to compliment and help each other rather than be such apparent bitter rivals? I've always thought that with a little unity and like-mindedness, farmers might be able to at least take a portion of their industry back.

It is sad to see 'real' farms disappearing and being replaced more with hobbyists than farmers.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Minnysoda
8,831 posts, read 8,710,583 times
Reputation: 5339
sounds like your running close to 900 animal units! You should really look into finding someone to install a digester gas genset on your facility...... You should have enough cows to make at least 840KWs......Lots of renewable energy there!!'
Good Luck....
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:23 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,682,398 times
Reputation: 8170
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post
For years we have farmed beside a nearby farm, often playing tug of war with the landowners whom we both leased land from. Some years they would get the fields, and some years we would. At times it was downright nasty as our dairy farm expanded and so did theirs. I mean farm land here is scarce and we fought hard over fields as they became available.

I was shocked today when they came over to the farm, shook hands and said it was over...they were selling their cows. The fields were ours, the corn and haylage in their bunkers, even the equipment at salvage...everything if we wanted it. Yes even the cows at beef prices. All of it has little value because there are so few farms here that can utilize that much volume, and the equipment is in rough shape from lack of maintenance.

I know you are supposed to feel euphoric when your greatest competitor folds up, but I will tell you right now it was a VERY hollow feeling. They said when milk started to tumble over a year ago that 25% of the farms would not make it, we did not realize how accurate it would be. It is just a hard hit to the rural life here, the economy, and the farming community as another 3 plus generational farm goes under. With around 300 cows, it was not a big dairy farm, but certainly sizable and made a contribution to Maine's dairy production.

Interestingly enough this is in time to notification that we were approved for our new farm purchase. We'll be increasing our herd size by another 400 cows and certainly need the fields as we continue to grow. This is the culmination of two years of legal and accounting wrestling, but it just had to fall on a day when our neighbor farmer ended up losing his farm. As I said, it is a very hollow victory.

I just cannot figure out why this country continues to import milk when our own farmers are going under at an unprecedented level? In any case, God Bless the AMERICAN Dairy Farmers...or at least the few we have left!

-----" We will be increasing our herd size by another 400 cows "--

Yup, all in the name of cash flow and operating more efficently.

Happens a lot where I live.

The guy who has 100 cows believes he must go up to 300 cows to be profitable. Maybe he should first talk to the guy who is at 300 cows, but expanding to 750 in order to be profitable.

The guy expanding to 750 should first talk to the guy who already is at 750, but now expanding to 1500 cuz 1500 isn't profitable.

And, 10 miles from me . we have the guy expanding from 1500 to 3,000 cuz he claims 1500 is not profitable.

Out west of me, about 100 miles, dairies are going up that have 5,000 milk cows and the owner has stated dairy farms smaller than that are not profitable.

The entire dairy farm situation reminds me of a dog frantically running in circles trying to catch his tail.

( or the greyhound dogs chasing that elusive fake rabbit around a track)

I wish your family luck, Broken Tap.
But I doubt going from 800 cows to 1200 cows will solve anything.
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:41 PM
 
Location: The Woods
17,091 posts, read 22,607,566 times
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There are people seemingly intent on destroying our country and making us depend entirely on imports for everything. Until we end this free trade nonsense, even our agriculture will get outsourced...
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:13 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,970 times
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Yeah that is why I voted for Perot oh so many years ago. I believe his quote was, "if we vote for NAFTA the sound you hear will be the sucking sound of jobs leaving this country." Of course Clinton only heard his zipper being lowered, but I digress.
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:19 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,157,970 times
Reputation: 1506
We are doing okay ourselves. We made some good choices a few years back and are in a good position to expand. One of the reasons the new farm took two years to go through was because we were very particular on what we wanted, and what would work. As the industry tanked, we kept the pressure on knowing the coop that owned the farm had less and less options.

But you guys were a bit off on the cow count. We are at 1000 now and could expand to 1400-1500 with the new farm. The last owner sank 1 million into the parlor alone before he went bankrupt (no wonder). We will be able to move more cows through the parlors faster, and reduce stress on the cows and that is what we really want. Cows can't produce milk when they are waiting in line away from their managers and stalls.

We are excited, but I feel really bad for our neighbors. We love what we do, and we are committed, but they were too. It sucks they reached the breaking point...and the end of their credit. As the banks start calling loans in, more will topple...this is just the beginning unfortunately.
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Old 02-08-2010, 07:42 PM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,682,398 times
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------" the new owner sank over one million into the parlor alone before he went bankrupt "---

Since he was at --around 300 cows---, would a parlor that size work for a 1500 cow herd?

If yes-------you got a great deal as I believed you stated your parlor was getting old and was slow.

However, if that guy biult a million dollar parlor that can handle 1500 cows and he only had ----around 300 cows-- I can see why he went bankrupt.
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,543 posts, read 55,469,830 times
Reputation: 32286
"Cows can't produce milk when they are waiting in line away from their managers and stalls."

Cows have MANAGERS?!?!? When did that start?

I can just see a weaselly little guy coming up to you and saying "Bossy won't be signing her contract this year unless she gets an extra ration of oats and sweetgrass bedding."
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky
1,237 posts, read 2,760,307 times
Reputation: 1290
thanks for the laugh.
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