New Hampshire dairy farm numbers have stabilized in recent years, and the industry will continue to have a presence in the future. The last bastion of the dairy industry will probably be along the Connecticut River Valley on the west side of the state.
Looking ahead into the crystal ball, future trends in the dairy industry might include:
- Return of milk production leadership to the traditional areas of the upper Midwest and Northeast due to water restrictions in the West and Southwest, energy concerns, and transportation costs.
- Reversal of the trend toward mega dairies (1,000 plus cows) due to concerns about environmental pollution and requirements to own a designated amount of land per cow to dispose of animal wastes.
- Discoveries in human nutrition and the use of milk components in industrial manufacturing may cause an increased demand for milk production.
- Production of efficient, cost-effective, small-scale equipment will promote on-farm processing of dairy products to fill niche markets.
- Increased recognition of the value of purchasing local to help support NH agriculture and maintain open space.
The dairy industry will continue to be a viable industry made up of producers who are skilled in business management, nutrition, agronomy, animal health, and mechanics, always ready to adopt the latest technology to remain competitive.