Distress and Innovation in the Dairy Industry

Aug 7, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) Despite a positive export report, dairy distress continues in the Heartland, as more than 4% of Wisconsin’s dairy farmers call it quits. Farm Journal reports the state has lost 382 dairy farms through the first seven months of 2018. 44 of those farms close doors in July, 10 fewer than the month of June. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture says there are currently 8,419 licensed dairy farms in the state.

While dairy farmers struggle, lawmakers try to help market their products. The Dairy Business Innovation Act, passed as part of the Senate Appropriations Bill, includes $7 million of funding to assist cheesemakers and other dairy businesses in developing new products and expanding markets. The House Appropriations Bill still needs to pass before Congress goes to conference on the measure.

Kansas State University students also want to help the industry with some new innovation. The group took quark, atype of soft cheese popular within many European countries, and revamped it into a drinkable form. The innovation was part of the National Dairy Council’s 2018 new product competition. The team brought home the top prize of $8,000 for its development of “Quick-Quark,” which they say maximizes convenience without sacrificing nutrition. The students expanded the appeal of their new drink by infusing it with real fruit flavor, including acai-blueberry and piña colada. They’ll use the prize money in hopes of marketing “Quick-Quark.”