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Johnson County dairy farm to stop milking cows after losing Dean Foods contract

Posted at 8:07 PM, Aug 21, 2018

A sixth-generation farmer in Johnson County is making a difficult decision to stop milking cows after losing a major contract with Dean Foods.

Joe Kelsay with Kelsay Farms says it was a difficult decision, but tough times call for drastic changes in the way business is done. 

"For generations, my grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great grandparents have been a part of building the equity in this business," said Kelsay. "To see that erode and slip through your fingers year by year and month by month at a pace that's alarming - you think that the prudent business decision is clear - it just is incredibly difficult to come to that conclusion."

The CEO of the American Dairy Association of Indiana says Kelsay isn't alone. The supply of milk, worldwide, exceeds the demand. The organization says that China's tariffs on dairy imports from the United States have played a major role in that issue and could mean continuing challenges in Indiana. 

Numbers from the International Dairy Foods Association show that dairy production is a $4 billion industry responsible for more than 20,000 jobs in the state. 

Kelsay says his team is evaluating their next steps but will continue their corn and soybean production along with tours at the nearly 200-year-old farm. 

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