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Starting a Virginia Dairy Cattle Farm
Dairy Farms in Virginia
Considering its mild climate and verdant rolling hills, its no surprise that Virginia is one of the best places in the nation to start a dairy farm. The state boasted over 100,000 milk cows on over 800 dairy farms in 2005, supported by the area’s lush forages and nurturing environment.
These dairy farms, found primarily in western Virginia’s serene pastures, produced over 1.7 billion pounds of milk in 2004 alone, which each cow producing almost 17,000 pounds. With numbers like these, established farmers and prospective dairy farmers alike are choosing the beautiful Virginia countryside as their own.
Since the location of the dairy farm is critical to maximizing production, those hoping to create or maintain prosperous dairy farms are choosing to relocate to the nurturing environment Virginia offers.
Starting a Dairy Farm in Virginia
Compared to other types of livestock farming, dairying provides one of the highest incomes per animal, making dairy farming an incredibly lucrative industry today. Because of this, hundreds of new farms get started in dairying each year, particularly in areas like western Virginia that are both able to sustain healthy, productive cows and provide an enthusiastic and loyal market for new local dairy farms.
Results of recent surveys conducted by the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems demonstrate that there are a variety of ways to start a successful dairy farm, even without experience farming. The study also showed that most profitable dairy farms didn’t start out with large herds.
Even farms that started out with smaller than average herds were able to flourish. Since the country’s demand for milk continues to increase, more and more farmers are looking to Virginia’s lush pastures to break into the industry.
While breaking into a new industry can be frightening, the success of dairy enterprises in Virginia—even with first-time farmers—should ease fears. With acres and acres of Virginia land boasting ideal conditions for dairy farming, now is the perfect time to buy a new property and begin a new phase of your life.
Whether you hope to grow a large dairy business or buy just enough land to start a part time dairy farm, the rich rolling hills, elevation, and moderate climate of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley offer the perfect place to start a new life.
Although beginning farmers are at a slight advantage when it comes to hands-on farming experience, they have the advantage of coming to the farm without preconceptions, and recent studies show that, in the future, dairy farmers will increasingly come from non-farm backgrounds.