Strategies to mitigate economic hardship among family dairy farms of central Mexico
Carlos Galdino Martínez-García1, Carlos Manuel Arriaga-Jordán2, Michel André Wattiaux3
1Autonomous university of the state of mexico, Institute of agricultural and rural science, Mexico
The economic hardship of dairy producers has worsened in the last decade, because of increasing costs of production. A field survey with 51 dairy farmers was conducted to explore strategies to mitigate economic hardship. Factor and cluster analyses were conducted to characterise the farmers and their farms. Differences among groups regarding changes adopted to increase incomes, to reduce costs, and to pay bills were tested using Fisher’s exact test. Four factors explained 76.2% of the cumulative variance and four groups were identified: “stagnant farms” were in group 1, with the lowest daily income over concentrate feed cost (DIOCFC) and the least number of changes, “effectively management farms” were in group 2, with the highest DIOCFC and the highest number of income-increasing changes, the “cost reducing farms” were in group 3, with the smallest in size with a focus on cutting cost, and the “mixed strategy farms” were in group 4, with the largest herd size. Most prevalent income-increasing strategies included attempts to improve cow nutritional balance and milk composition, whereas the most prevalent cost-reducing strategies included reductions in input purchases of inputs (concentrates and fertilisers) and selected household expenses. Selling cows was a common strategy to generate cash in acute hardship situations. In conclusion, responses to economic hardship varied substantially among groups of farms, cost-reducing strategies were linked to lower cow productivity and lower technological levels, but income-increasing strategies were linked to higher cow productivity and higher DIOCFC. Our findings may contribute to the design of extension initiatives to promote useful strategies to help mitigate economic hardship on dairy farms.
Keywords: Dairy farmers, economic hardship, Mexico, multivariable analysis
Contact Address: Carlos Galdino Martínez-García, Autonomous university of the state of mexico, Institute of agricultural and rural science, Campus uaeméx el cerrillo, 50090 Toluca, Mexico, e-mail: cgmartinezguaemex.mx