Can Dairy Farms Compete for Labor?

We know that dairy farm wages have been climbing rapidly, more so than in most other industries. Depending on the different dairy budgets available, estimated hired labor costs for herds of 200 cows or more vary from $1.80 per cwt. (hundredweight) to $2.30 per cwt. That typically represents 10 to 15 percent of production costs.

As the population of migrant workers shrinks and the prospect of immigration reforms remain uncertain, questions arise about the future competitiveness of the U.S. dairy sector. In the Hoard’s Dairyman Intel “Can Dairy Farms Compete for Labor?” UW-Extension Center for Dairy Profitability Specialist & UW-River Falls Professor Simon Jette-Nantel shares a comparisons of wages from various industries to the dairy industry.

For more information on agriculture human resources, please visit UW-Extension Human Resource Management in Agriculture.

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