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Expansion, Modernization, and Specialization on Wisconsin Dairy Farms
January 1992 - 2011

The scope of this project is wide, with areas of examination ranging from herd size, to production methods, to entry and exit trends of WI dairy farmers. Key areas of focus in recent years have included: the growth of organic and grazing production systems, manure management trends, and the use of specific technological advances such as milking parlors and anaerobic digesters. This research is ongoing and is at the heart of PATS research agenda.

Starting in 2008, Jeremy Foltz and Brad Barham have begun research aimed at understanding the viability of alternative and small-scale dairy production systems. Traditional financial indicators focus on profitability measures that do not adequately explain farm production choices, much less the continued expansion of grazing and organic based dairy farms in Wisconsin. This research looks deeper into the choices and values of producers to inform an improved analysis of farm "viability." Eventually, this work will lead to a broader understanding of the tradeoffs associated with various production systems.

Associated Publications