In 2000, Missouri had more than 150,000 dairy cows. Now, there are now less than 90,000 cows, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. MU economist Joe Horner studies the dairy industry and said most dairy farmers leave because of financial hardship. Dairy is a volatile market, and Missouri dairy farmers are choosing to get out of the business.
As part of a collaboration with The Columbia Missourian and KOMU, KBIA's Aviva Okeson-Haberman spoke with two farmers who left the dairy industry. Duncan Smith and Mindy Mills kept their dairy barn and land but they now both raise sheep.
This story is a collaboration with The Columbia Missourian and KOMU. For more on this topic read The Missourian’s “Evaporating: Missouri’s dairy industry at a crossroads" and "Evaporating: Where does your milk come from?” You can also watch KOMU’s “Evaporating: Lower milk prices threaten a Missouri family's legacy.”