In contrast to the US, the Colorado dairy herd is increasing. In fact, the total number of milking cows in the state has grown from about 75,000 cows in 1975 to 120,000 in 2008, which is a 1.4 percent annual growth rate. However, the rate appeared to accelerate after 1990, when the dairy herd grew at about 4.1 percent, suggesting at doubling of the cow herd in about 17 years.
A number of potential issues may hinder continued growth of the industry including:
- Continued urbanization of Colorado's Front Range that converts agricultural land to housing developments.
- A shortage of qualified labor.
- Costly regulations surrounding air quality and ammonia emissions.
- The growth of the biofuels industry.
What issues are the most critical?