Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Neva Hassanein

Commitee Members

Laurie Yung, Len Broberg


dairy, farmer decision making, milk, Montana, quota, state effects, supply management


University of Montana


Montana’s dairy industry is unique among US states because of its supply management program, which allocates quota to limit how much fluid milk can be produced and sold within the state. The amount of quota is set and price varies with market conditions; therefore, quota adds to a farm’s production costs. This paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with 17 dairy farmers to learn how quota has affected on-farm decision-making and how they perceive the impacts of quota on the statewide industry. Farmers tend to be spilt between those who think it affected their on-farm decisions and those who felt that other factors had greater impact. Farmers perceive effects such as supply stagnation, increased expenses, industry protection from other states, and possibly stabilizing the price of milk. The qualitative approach used here differs from past research in other nations, which typically focused on the financial implications of supply management.



© Copyright 2013 Laura Ginsburg