March 2023 MilkLine Newsletter

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative > News > MilkLine Newsletter > March 2023 MilkLine Newsletter

Surely, a lot has changed over the past several years, but certainly a lot has changed in the past year too. I believe that I’ve always been aware of my surroundings and how things change. Yet, I feel that we are in unprecedented times, and it makes me appreciate what I once took for granted.
For example, these days I realize how grateful I am to see the milk truck arrive in my driveway every day. He has always shown up, but in today’s world, I realize his dedication is going to be hard to replace. My milk truck driver is Shannon, and his workday begins at 10 p.m. in the evening, and he works until 2 p.m. in the afternoon. He only gets every other weekend off, and also digs graves on the side. He is great to talk to, has a great perspective on life, but he is nearing retirement age, and I am afraid of who they can even fathom will be able to replace him.
I know the labor shortage is hitting the dairy industry, and I’m afraid of how it may impact milk hauling.
This is a great example of how, as a dairy farmer, my concerns have changed. I still am prioritizing work on the farm, but now there are new concerns, like feeling secure with my milk hauler. Wondering how my expenses will increase beyond my control. Or wondering if a shortage on tractor or implement parts will keep me from getting fieldwork done.
I remember when you walked into an implement dealer. They either told you the part you’re looking for is either right here or it hasn’t arrived yet. Then the era came when they could track your parts while they were being shipped, and they could tell you exactly where they were. Now, when you go into the implement dealer, they say that your parts are sitting on a cargo ship, sitting in the ocean and will hopefully get unloaded sometime in the next week or two. I would rather get back to the day when they just didn’t know where they were!
I can honestly say that I took it for granted, that when I ordered something, it would arrive in a reasonable amount of time, within the week usually, or that parts were in stock and equipment could get fixed so I could get back to work. Because that’s what we do as dairy farmers – we work and get it done.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we were living in great times. Committed milk haulers. On-time deliveries. Manageable margins.
Now, I don’t want to paint a picture of just doom and gloom. I think learning more about what is impacting our industry as a whole is making us smarter and more aware. Because of this, we can take that information and do something about it.
Being a member of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, you are part of an organization dedicated to improving your ability to dairy farm, and your participation here today allows your voice to be heard.
In order to make positive changes, especially in the dairy industry, it is vital to understand why certain issues exist and what solutions are possible. I want to encourage you to know that you can be a positive influence on things that matter to you.
But it may take time and endless persistence. It will take an investment in learning and taking the time to listen to others.
As a member of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, you are choosing to be a member that makes the difference.
Let’s make the future better today. By working together, let’s improve dairy farming for generations to come by being a positive influence on the world around us today.

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FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative
4001 Nakoosa Trail, Suite 100
Madison, WI 53714-1381

Toll-Free: 1-800-525-7704
Phone: 608-244-3373
Fax: 608-244-3643

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