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Dying dairies: How drought, low milk prices lead to decline in N.H. farms

By Elodie Reed, Concord Monitor staff

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New Hampshire has lost 16 percent of its dairy farms in just eight months, and Stew Yeaton is worried his might be next.

Yeaton, who runs the fifth-generation Yeaton Farm in Epsom with his brother Bill, said prolonged low milk prices, combined with this summer’s drought, have made for tough times.

“We should have cut this field a month ago,” Yeaton said, stopping his tractor between rows of cut hay.

Epsom falls right between the “moderate drought” and “severe drought” zones, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s drought monitor. Across the Yeaton family’s 120 acres of hay and 96 acres of silage corn, Yeaton guessed they’ve had about a 50 percent crop loss due to the drought, and they’ve had to start buying food in Maine for their 180 cows.

“It’s expensive,” Yeaton said. “Almost twice as much.”

Read the full Concord Monitor article here.

Featured image courtesy of John Benford Photography