In 1975, Americans drank 247 pounds of cow milk annually, but this has dropped to 149 pounds in 2017. While consumption has decreased, production has increased with the help of farmland loans. This imbalance of supply and demand is partially the result of plant-based milks overtaking the market. 


Plant-based Milk Is Eating into the Dairy Industry Share

Ever since plant-based milks entered the market, they have been seeing steady growth. Dairy milk now faces competition from “milk” from: 

  • almonds
  • oats
  • coconut
  • soy
  • hemp 


These alternative milks all claim they are a good milk alternative, cutting into dairy sales, but are not milk at all. This is forcing dairy farmers to re-evaluate operations and diversify their farm income with the help of farm and ranch operating loans


Stable Products Against a Volatile Economy

Dairy farmers strive hard to achieve stability in product. Where traditional milk may have limited shelf life, plant-based “milk” is more processed and, in turn, more stable. This means loss as a percentage of produce is lower for plant-based “milk.” Economic and market trends have intensified as consumers turn to alternative food options. 


Here are some strategies being pursued:

  • Legislation
  • Focusing on a wide array of dairy products
  • Innovation
  • Getting involved with plant-based “milk” companies



Legislation, such as the DAIRY Pride Act has been introduced to prevent plant-based drinks from being labeled as “milk.” This legislation aims to prevent imitation diary from being mislabeled have the FDA enforce mislabeled 


Wide Array of Dairy Products

Dairy farmers are putting in efforts to produce other dairy products to help consume the excess milk supply as well as generate additional revenues. Such products include cheese, yogurt, and flavored milks. 



The dairy industry is working to create milk products that appeal to the modern consumer by focusing on its health benefits. This includes products such as “ultrafiltered” and “A-2.” 


Getting Involved with Plant-Based “Milk” Companies

Major dairy farmers, such as Dean Foods, have bought majority shares of an alternative “milk” company, while others have  adjusted their operations to produce their own plant-based “milk” products. 


How Can Ag America Help?

These are turbulent times indeed. If you need help with capital outlay, it may be worthwhile to speak with one of our advisors here at AgAmerica to see how our farmland loan offerings can fit in your farm plans.