Louisiana IAMCA Dairy Bulletin

Like the rest of the United States, Louisiana continues to see a decline in the number of dairy operations. There were 186 dairies in 2008; ten years later there are only 85. Producers in three parishes (Tangipahoa, Washington, and St. Helena) account for over 92 percent of the milk produced in Louisiana. There are only three major pasteurization plants in the state and two dairy cooperatives. Louisiana’s dairy industry face many of the same challenges seen across the United States, with aging dairy farmers, increasing overhead costs, decreasing consumption, and price. Dairy farmers in the state must also contend with the extreme heat and humidity of their subtropical climate, which lowers milk production. All of these factors have had a substantial impact on the economic health of our dairymen and women.

According to the Louisiana State University’s Agriculture Summary of 2017, the total economic contribution from the Louisiana dairy industry was $83 million. Over the past ten years, Louisiana’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M., has led the fight to ensure that the dairymen and women of Louisiana receive as much help as possible to meet these challenges. One of his innovations is the Dairy Producers’ Refundable Tax Credit Program. This program is applied against a dairy producer’s state income tax, and any excess credit over taxes due is rebated to the producer. Credits can only be awarded when the current tax-year uniform milk prices are less than the calculated Announced Production Price (APP). The APP reflects the three-year moving average cost of importing milk into Louisiana that has been adjusted for the milk prices that Louisiana dairy producers receive plus their cost of production. An individual dairy person can receive up to $21,600 in tax credits if both the number of fiscal quarters and the production level are met, subject to an annual cap of $1.8 million on total program cost. This program has been extended to 2025.

Currently, Commissioner Strain, Louisiana legislators, producers, and industry partners are participating in a dairy industry study commissioned to offer insight into the decline of dairy in the state, and suggest beneficial legislation before the 2019 legislative session.

Louisiana is proud to be a new member of the International Association of Milk Control Agencies (IAMCA). IAMCA is poised to offer state and national partners valuable information with respect to any current and future challenges to the industry. These working relationships are more valued today than ever before.