Home Indiana Agriculture News Despite Dairy Struggles, Indiana Still ‘A Step Ahead’

Despite Dairy Struggles, Indiana Still ‘A Step Ahead’


Despite Dairy Struggles, Indiana Still ‘A Step Ahead’

It’s no secret that the dairy industry nationwide has its struggles. The supply outweighs the demand and that has forced many producers to make decisions about their operations they never imagined they would have to make. One of those was Johnson County farmer Joe Kelsay. He told HAT in May that he believed there was a path forward and wouldn’t have to shutdown for the foreseeable future. However, in a social media post Monday morning, they announced they would be ending their dairy business.

Despite these struggles, Indiana Dairy Producers Executive Director Doug Leman told Hoosier Ag Today that he still runs into folks who have a positive outlook about the dairy industry.

“We’ve endured tough times before and we have a heart for survival. Things do need to ebb and flow. Sometimes people just have to stop and make good business decisions even on their own operations.”

HAT reported in March that Dean Foods terminated milk contracts with 27 Indiana dairies. Leman says he believes about 20 of those found a new market for their milk. He said he hadn’t spoken with all of them, but the ones he has spoken to have been pleasantly surprised with their new situation.

“I know one, his hauling rates were a fair amount cheaper. One was able to get into a market that has been pretty pleasing to him. I just I have not heard negative things from anybody that I’ve talked to that have picked up a new market.”

Leman said the Indiana Dairy Strategy is a positive program that is working. Recently, a new commercial organic cheese plant was announced in Huntington County. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch told HAT after that announcement, “They are coming here because Indiana has such a pro-growth, pro-business environment. We’ve got a story to tell, we’ve got a state to sell, and we’re going to continue to attract dairy to Indiana to have more opportunities for our dairy farmers and their products.”

Leman says he knows there are more projects that could come to fruition through the dairy strategy. Compared to surrounding states that are dealing with the same industry issues, Leman says, “I just feel that Indiana is a step ahead of the game and I’m very thankful for that.”