Dairy producers in Wisconsin are spending tens of millions of dollars to upgrade the equipment they need to produce more milk, and they’re using that money to expand production and hire more workers.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, the number of dairy cows has grown from less than 10,000 in the 1970s to more than 200,000 today.
That’s due in part to the introduction of a number of new milk-producing techniques in the late 1980s, and also to a boom in demand for dairy products in recent years.
In 2015, the state added nearly 4 million dairy cows, which represented a 16% increase from the previous year.
Wisconsin Dairy Growers Association President Jeff Schoenfeld said the increase in production is “just part of the continuing trend.”
Schoenfeld noted that Wisconsin dairy farmers are investing in new equipment that helps them produce milk that is fresher and tastier.
He said the increased production is part of an overall economic recovery.
“We are growing in a sustainable way,” Schoenfield said.
“We’re growing and we’re not losing jobs.”
Schönfeld said Wisconsin dairy production has doubled over the last decade and the dairy industry is “more competitive than it’s been in decades.”
“I think the industry is a lot more competitive than we were five, 10, 15 years ago,” he said.
But there are also new challenges.
The Wisconsin Department Of Agriculture said in a statement that more than 50,000 workers lost their jobs during the recession.
Some of those workers have been laid off.
Schoenfe said Wisconsin’s dairy industry still has some “weak spots” in the economy.
Schoenfield called Wisconsin’s recovery from the recession “a big part of our success,” and said that he’s confident that the state can get back on its feet.
“I am very confident that this recovery will continue and continue to grow,” he told ABC News.