Wisconsin Dairy Farmer Poll

We want to hear the experiences and opinions of Wisconsin dairy farmers.

The past years have, by most accounts, been incredibly challenging for Wisconsin dairy farmers – between low prices, covid-19, and all of the big, little things that happen on and around the farm that make farming always ‘interesting’.

Early in 2021, we are undertaking a statewide farmer poll (survey) to explore how recent changes in market trends, government policies, and farm management strategies are affecting farmers, their farm outcomes and their well-being. We want to better understand dairy farmers’ perspectives, learn what they are doing and what other stakeholders can do to help improve the viability of dairy farming in Wisconsin. 

We have designed this survey to help us learn about three main questions:

  • What are the views and opinions of Wisconsin dairy farmers about market trends and policy issues including the response to Covid-19?
  • Which farming strategies including, herd expansion and different marketing arrangements, have been most successful in recent years?
  • What land management choices are farms using in 2021 including cover crops, managed grazing, and other soil and water conservation methods?

Survey Distribution

The survey is being designed to be completed electronically, online. Every farmer registered with the state of Wisconsin as a commercial operator will receive letters with a link to the website. Many will get emails and other types of invitations as well. Hard copies of the survey will be available, but screening questions will be used to ensure survey questions are appropriate to the operation of the farmer and avoid lots of ‘skips’ in the survey on irrelevant questions to the farmer.

Spurring Solutions

The survey results will be used to write a series of reports that we plan to share with farmers, producer organizations, legislators, government officials, university scientists, industry leaders, news media, and the general public.  All individual responses will be held in strict confidentiality, as is required by university rules. These reports will be used to highlight the struggles many farmers are facing, and spur conversation on how we can bring diverse groups together to achieve solutions that work for all of us.

The success of the survey depends on getting responses and complete information from as many farmers as possible. With so many variations in what farmers choose to do on their farms, and in their individual experiences, it is valuable to get a full picture of what’s going on.

Questions? Reach out to Brad Barham for more information.