Agricultural Handbook No. (AH-720) 54 pp

October 2000

Structure, Management, and Performance Characteristics of Specialized Dairy Farm Businesses in the United States

The U.S. dairy industry faces a changing government policy environment in the year 2000. Milk producers are struggling, and will continue to struggle, to adjust to markets that are more dependent on the forces of supply and demand. Data from the 1993-95 Farm Costs and Returns Surveys and the 1996 Agricultural Resource Management Study show that dairy farm businesses in general did a fairly good job of meeting short-term debt, generating returns, and meeting long-term debt from 1993 to 1996. The analysis indicates that farm management strategies will play an important role in determining the overall profitability of a dairy farm business as Government supports decline. However, the 1996 data suggest that changes in management techniques are adopted slowly.

Keywords: Dairy farm businesses, structure, management, performance, characteristics

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