There’s no shortage of headwinds facing animal agriculture in the U.S. From labor and disease to consumer perception, livestock producers have many challenges to contend with each year. However, the top concerns of dairy processors might surprise you.

Dr. Robert Hagevoort from New Mexico State University Dairy Extension says the top concerns include price volatility, disparate sustainability initiatives, emission accounting methodology, and aligning supply and demand to consider world demand and labor challenges. Rising input costs continue to draw concerns, as well as the impact of labor shortages. Dairy producers say labor management is their biggest issue, as well.

Hagevoort cites a 2023 Wall Street Journal article that postulates a combination of baby boomer retirements, lower birthrates, shifting immigration policies and changing worker preferences is significantly reducing the number of workers willing to stay in the U.S.

Read more on challenges impacting livestock operations here.