In March 2023, the Central Council of Dairy Farmers released the results of a survey that found that "85% of Japanese dairy farmers are operating in the red.
Many dairy farmers are experiencing financial difficulties due to decreased demand (school closings, refraining from eating out) caused by the Corona disaster, soaring feed and fuel prices due to the invasion of Ukraine and the weak yen, and a shift away from milk.
Dairy farmers are being asked by agricultural cooperatives to reduce milk production and are forced to dispose of raw milk. Why do they have to dispose of freshly milked raw milk? The reason behind this was a government policy to solve the butter shortage in 2014.
In order to overcome the dairy crisis, some dairy farms are undertaking contract dairy cattle breeding in cooperation with dairy farmers in the Honshu area, aiming to reduce costs and establish a secondary source of income, as well as supplying their own feed, dent corn, for their own use.
The future is not far off when stable food procurement itself will be in jeopardy.
It is time for us to find ways to contribute to the reduction of food loss for various reasons, not limited to milk.
In this context, I am pleased to photograph the profiles of dairy farmers who are proudly engaged in this work.