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Andrews University To Shutter Dairy Farm After 100 Years

WKAR/Kevin Lavery

A university in southwestern Michigan is shutting down its dairy farm business, which has operated for more than a century.

Andrews University's board of trustees voted Monday to focus on the farm's food crops and shutter its dairy operations next year, the Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reported .

The farm began its dairy production in 1907 with a small herd of between 40 and 50 cows, milked by hand. The farm grew the herd to more than 700 cattle over the years.

"Our state-of-the-art dairy has attempted to thrive in an environment where there has been an overall and very significant downturn in the dairy industry in recent years," the university reported following an extensive study of its dairy farm and the market for dairy products. "The demand for milk and milk products has fallen nationally, (and) dairy producers have increased their herd sizes, and now large distributors, such as Walmart, plan to create their own mega-dairies."

According to the university, income from the farm's dairy production has dropped considerably, leading to financial losses over the last three years.

A year-long analysis determined that the market wouldn't improve enough to allow the dairy farm to break even, the university stated.

"This was a difficult decision to make about a significant part of Andrews University and its history," said Andrea Luxton, the university's president. "However, our need to be good stewards of the resources we have and to responsibly ensure stable finances for the university has led us to this decision."

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