Series: The Dairy State Economy

Dairy is iconic in Wisconsin, with the production of milk and cheese a longstanding foundation of the state's identity and global reputation. This industry is a significant component of Wisconsin's economy, dependent on the fluctuations of international markets and tastes of consumers, with each affecting the livelihoods of farmers and their employees. Meanwhile, the structure of the business is changing, with the number of farms decreasing as their average size is increasing. Around Wisconsin, the direction of the dairy industry will define the future for producers and communities.
 
Milk prices are cyclical, explained University of Wisconsin-Madison agricultural economics professor Brian Gould. While Wisconsin dairy producers saw an all-time high in 2014, an extended drop in prices will have a negative effect on the state's economy.