Local dairy farmers struggling as trade war continues

Hampshire County

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – The ongoing trade war is affecting some local dairy farmers. 

As China announcement Monday that it will raise tariffs on $60 billion of American goods, tariffs from Mexico and Canada are affecting American dairy products. 

Milk prices are low and dairy producers have been hit hard by tariffs on the products they export. Years of low prices are forcing many small and medium-sized dairy farms out of business.  

“It doesn’t matter where you are in this country if you are a dairy farmer, you’re struggling,” Owner of McCray’s Farm, Steve McCray said.

McCray said back 40-years-ago, there use to be about 800 dairy farms in Massachusetts, now there are only about 120 left. 

Trade wars and tariff barriers have gone up between the U.S, Mexico, and Canada and although McCray said the trade war is having minimal impact on his farm, the demand here in the U.S. is just not there. 

“Tariffs affect us because the price is so poor,” McCray said. “If we had good prices we wouldn’t be exporting much milk but because there is an over-production and because we have to export milk, that’s why it affects us.”

The United States Department of Agriculture reported in March that licensed dairy farms in the country declined by more than 2,500 farms, a drop of 6.8 percent. 

As McCray looks towards the future, he said it doesn’t look promising. 

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