Columbia County 1968 Dairy Farm Business Summary
Smith, Stuart F.; Barry, William M.
This report summarizes the records of 21 Columbia County dairy farmers who in 1968 participated in a business management project sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Service and the Department of Agricultural Economics at Cornell University. The data presented here do not represent the average of all dairymen in this county but the average of a group of dairymen interested enough in their farm businesses to keep good records and take the time to study and analyze them. Averages for the group of farms in Columbia County are not to be taken as indicative of the relative profitability of dairy farming in that county. One of the purposes of the business management project is to teach and encourage farmers to keep better records. A more important purpose is to teach farmers to use the records as a basis for sound management decisions. Each farmer has the opportunity to participate for a period of time. He should learn good record keeping and learn how to analyze his business. This should enable him to use more effectively the economic and management information available from many sources, including the general farm management program offered by the Extension Service. Farmers in many counties of New York State participate in business management projects similar to those in Columbia County. Some of the data included in this booklet is taken from the 1967 records of 548 New York dairy farmers. This gives farmers the opportunity to compare their business with a larger group of their competitors. The larger number of farmers also makes possible the sorting of farms into groups, thereby allowing comparisons that could not be made from the relatively small number of records in any one county. Changes in farming are taking place at a rapid pace. Research data indicate that the average number of cows per farm in New York increased from 29 in 1960 to 38 in 1967. This change is due both to the dropping out of smaller farms and to the expansion of many of those remaining. Projections based on the same research indicate that the average number of cows per farm in 1975 will be 55. The number of dairy farms in 1960 was 40,200. By 1967 it had dropped to 26,350; in 1975 it will likely be 16,500. In the future some dairymen will expand, others stay at about the same size and still others will quit farming. It is a challenge to each dairyman to decide upon the best course of action for himself and his family. A study of your business records and budgeting of some possible changes for the future will help you to make this decision. The information in this report should be useful to farmers in the county who are not enrolled in the business management projects. It should also be helpful to persons who work with farmers, such agricultural teachers and credit representatives.
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University