March 14, 2007 | By: Aimee Nielson

Kentucky’s dairy industry is changing. Numbers of cows, farms and producers have been on the decline – 4,000 fewer head in 2005 than in 2004, and milk production down 4 percent in the same time period.

To keep current with the state’s dairy operations, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Division of Regulatory Services surveyed dairy farmers about their enterprises in 2006. Now in 2007, a survey is aimed at dairy laboratory managers and technicians, milk haulers, marketing agency representatives, processor representatives, and other allied and public service representatives impacted by milk program activities.

“The dairy industry has fewer farmers, but herd sizes tend to be growing,” said Chris Thompson, coordinator of the milk program in the UK College of Agriculture Division of Regulatory Services. “With that in mind, we need to know how to plan for the future to better serve our clientele.”

The milk program’s mission is to ensure raw farm milk produced and marketed in Kentucky is bought and sold using accurate weights and tests, and to provide a fair and equitable marketplace environment for all producers and processors in Kentucky's dairy industry. The program uses education, licensing, monitoring and service to accomplish the mission.

Thompson said the industry survey results will provide valuable input to help evaluate the milk program’s current activities and also help plan future activities. 

The college’s Department of Community and Leadership Development is administering the survey. Participants will receive the 12-question document in late March and early April. Thompson expects to have completed surveys returned sometime in May. 

“We will combine the results of the industry survey with the farmer survey done in 2006,” he said. “With input from both sides, it will really help us to see a clearer picture of what we need to be doing down the road. It will be valuable in guiding the milk program’s efforts during the next five years.”

Thompson plans to present a report drawn from the combined surveys to the Kentucky Milk Handler’s Advisory Board later this year.

Surveys were developed and distributed with support from the UK College of Agriculture Division of Regulatory Services, UK Department of Community and Leadership Development, Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Dairy Development Council.

For more information, contact Thompson at 859-257-2785 or at


Chris Thompson at 859-257-2785