Over the years, we have seen fewer dairy farms in the United States. In 2003, the American Farm Bureau reported more than 70,000 dairy producers. In 2020, that number dropped to 31,000. These days, farms that are surviving, are the ones that are adapting to the changing environment and trying new things. 

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This is no different for a couple of Benton County dairy farmers. 

Auston and Jenna Schulte milk 186 Holsteins. In order to adjust to the changing industry, the Schultes are building a creamery to produce Gouda, Jarlsberg, and cheddar cheeses from their cow's milk. 

The couple has recently been awarded a $36,000 Value-Added Producer Grant from the USDA to create a business plan and conduct feasibility of the on-site creamery. The project is one of 21 that have received $74.7 million to improve/expand business in rural Iowa. 

According to an article in KCRG, the Schultes bought their dairy operation in 2010. However, milk prices have plummeted with milk consumption slowing causing an oversupply. 

Last week Xochitl Torres Small, undersecretary for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture toured the couple’s dairy. During the tour, Jenna explained their explained why they are branching out in this new direction;

We have to do something different or we’ll be done, 

In the past, the Schultes sent their milk to Wapsie Valley Creamery in Independence. The couple plans to start constriction on the creamery this summer. 

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