Self Operating Data Input and Recording in the Dairy Analysis Industry
California prides itself with being the nation’s largest farming state. Currently California produces more than 250 commercial food and fiber commodities. Single handedly, the dairy industry has a substantial impact on California State’s economy. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), dairy farming is the largest agricultural commodity in California with producing $7 billion in annual retail sales in 2012. The milk that leaves the dairy farm flows into society to become value-added products that create jobs and revenues in local communities. (REF 2) California has competed with Wisconsin and Idaho for many years to become the nation’s largest milk producer and finally reached this goal and has stayed on top of the charts since 1993. The State of California is also the country’s leading producer of butter, ice cream, nonfat dry milk and whey protein concentrate. It is the second largest cheese producer. (REF 2) The dairy business is a large part of California’s economy with being a $40 billion a year industry. In 2013 California had 1,905 dairies with 1.8 million dairy cows that supplied milk to 117 dairy processing plants, which produced cheese, fluid milk, ice cream, butter and other dairy products. California alone accounts for 21% of the United States’ milk production. In 2012, California produced 42 billion pounds of milk – more than one-fifth of the nation’s total production.
California’s dairy industry began to experience a period of rapid growth in the late 1970’s that continued until the early 2000’s. Shifting demographics and the changing tastes of the common consumer have played a role in the growth period, resulting in a wider variety of dairy products and increased production in certain product categories. For example, cheese is California’s fastest growing dairy product and 44 percent of the state’s milk supply goes to cheese production. In the period between 1990 and 2013, California’s cheese production grew from 702 million to 2.3 billion pounds. California’s has more than 50 cheesemakers that make and sell more than 250 different varieties and styles of cheese. (ref 2)
However, in the mid 2000’s the United States’ economy began to slow and the effects were drastically seen in California’s dairy industry. Although the recession drove many businesses into bankruptcy, California’s dairy farmers experienced a particularity difficult and challenging period. Between the years of 2008 and 2013 more than 400 California dairies suffered more than others and were forced to stop production, sell off their herds and the diary closed. In 2012 alone, there were 105 that closed - plagued by an outdated and antique regulatory system that forcibly kept the price of milk dairy farmers sold artificially low, at least in the opinion of the dairy farm’s owners, and skyrocketing feed prices. Trending popular opinion began to expose that the correct solution for a long term period would be to completely abandon the current approaching of a regulated system in exchange for a market-based one. Unfortunately, there is almost a non-existent political drive and backing to take such a game-changing and disruptive step. Instead, policymakers are debating ways to help dairymen at the expense of cheese makers – which ultimately then leads to their customers. (REF 3) Today, California dairy farmers find themselves locked into a system based on the economic realities of the 1960’s, and not one of the modern 21st century. California has differed itself in comparison to other states that grow and harvest their own feed by they typically occupy fewer acres and rely on low-cost feed from other suppliers. This approach allowed them to farm and produce milk at a much lower cost than comparable dairy farms in other state – this idea and new blueprint for dairying showed to be promising