Otter Tail County dairy farmer gives in to the economy, sells the herd

The way the economy of agriculture is now, a sure sign that you’re going to have a tough time in the dairy business is you have a name for all of your cows.

Steve Cordes, of Henning, Minn., is old school.

“Her mother was Boo. This is Buzz,” Cordes said in his interview with WDAY while pointing to a Jersey cow.

So much for Buzz, though. Cordes is out of the dairy business. He’s turning to sheep instead.

These are tough times for dairy farmers, you’ve probably heard. And he’s got the check to prove it.

“I just got my milk check for July’s milk, and my base was $14 a hundredweight. And that is the same price I got 25 years ago, and our expenses have doubled and sometimes tripled,” he said.

Dairy runs deep in Minnesota families and leaving the business is about more than selling off a herd.

My great great grandfather homesteaded on the south shores of West Leaf Lake of Leaf Lake Township (Henning). Since then, there has been a Cordes farming for 133 years. I am the last one, but that is a long run,” he said.

A dairy farmer’s farmer’s life revolves around one thing: milking.

Christmas morning? The kids had to wait until the milking was done. It’s the circadian rhythm of the cows. Cordes says he’s going to feel lost not going to the barn at 5 a.m. anymore.

There are now only 150 dairy farmers left in Otter Tail County, WDAY says.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)