Kersbergen quoted in BDN article on concern over declining dairy prices
Rick Kersbergen, a sustainable dairy and forage systems expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for the article, “Declining dairy prices spur concerns about farmer suicides.” The Associated Press reported that farmers are facing their fourth year of milk payments that are well below the cost of production, due in part to a national and global milk glut. “It’s a boom or bust cycle that dairy farmers get into, and right now we’re in what I would call an extended down time, making it even more difficult for farmers to try and make a living,” Kersbergen said. “It’s a tough profession and a tough time. Dairy farmers are proud people. When they work as hard as they do and go into debt, it’s pretty depressing.” Maine dairy farmers in some ways are better situated than farmers in other states because of the Maine Dairy Relief Program, which provides economic aid to farmers when milk prices dip below the cost of production, the article states. “It’s actually been a real lifesaver to Maine dairy farmers,” Kersbergen said. Despite the massive decline in dairy farms, the amount of milk produced in Maine has been stable over the years, thanks to larger, more efficient farms, according to Kersbergen.