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Dairy farmers react to two AMPI plants closing

Talia Milavetz
Updated: November 07, 2019 05:45 PM
Created: November 07, 2019 05:32 PM

(ABC 6 News) - With dairy farms declining across the Midwest, some production plants are struggling to stay open. 

Three generations have worked at the Hoscheit Dairy Farm in Caledonia since 1941.

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Since then, it has had ups and downs, but lately, owners say it has been down for too long. 

 "When the tariffs got kicked in it hurt the dairy industry immensely. So dairy farmers are taking 40-45% less than they were in 2015 for their prices," said Owner Tom Hoscheit.
 
Some farmers are leaving the industry altogether. 
 
"You know you're waking up and it’s well we're breaking even again today or losing money again today,” said Cole Hoscheit, Tom’s son who is in the process of taking over the farm.
 
"In Minnesota, we've lost 40% of the dairy farms and so we are losing farms and as we are losing farms we are losing production so we are not going to be able to keep our plants full,” said Tom.
 
Last week, AMPI stopped production at its plants in Rochester and Arlington, Iowa.
 
Hoschiet is an AMPI Corporate Director there and has been selling milk to the co-op since the 1980s. 
 
"Some of it was going to Rochester and some of it was going to Blair," he said.
 
Since the Rochester plant closed, all of his milk has been rerouted to Blair, Wisconsin. 
 
"Unfortunately Rochester was kind of the victim of the circumstance I guess. Nobody is losing a market. There is a home for everybody’s milk. Nobody is getting left high and dry or anything. It's just a matter of becoming more efficient," he said.
 
And hopefully making things better for the farmers. 
 
"There's a lot of employees in Rochester that lost their job and that bothers us too but it comes down to a business decision that we had to make and ultimately it is gonna help put more money on the milk check for the dairy farmers,” he said.
 
Which is what they need most, in order to continue farming for generations to come. 
 
"I got two kids that I would sure love to hopefully give them the opportunity to say you know hey, dad and grandpa have something pretty special here," said Cole. 


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