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The Changing Face of Wisconsin Dairy Farms: A Summary of PATS' Research on Structural Change in the 1990s
Research Reports No. 7, August 2000
by Douglas Jackson-Smith and Bradford Barham

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Given the importance of dairy products to U.S. regional and national farm economies, surprisingly little empirical research has been undertaken on the recent trends and dynamics of structural change in the American dairy farm sector, other than observing that a rapid transformation is occurring. We draw on data from a wide variety of sources to explore recent patterns of structural change in Wisconsin dairy farming and compare them to long-term trends in Wisconsin and the U.S. We also examine the underlying patterns of expansion, entry, and exit which are shaping the evolution of dairy farm structure in the state. What are the forces that underlie recent structural changes? By clarifying the dynamics of what is occurring perhaps we can better anticipate future changes in this critical industry.

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