Yes, dairy farming is economically viable in central Alberta. In fact, central Alberta is where the highest concentration of dairy farms exist in the province. That being said, the success of the farm, like any business, is dependent on management. Operating a successful dairy farm requires expertise in many areas. Milking processes, herd health, housing, animal nutrition, milk quality, quota management and more all impact on success. To be a successful dairy farmer anywhere, these factors and many more must all be balanced.
Dairy farming isn’t an easy job, but farmers wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t personally satisfying and if they couldn’t make a living from the farm. Dairy farmers receive a fair return for their hard work due to supply management. Supply management stabilizes the market so dairy farmers do not experience large boom/bust cycles in their industry. It will not, however, protect a farmer who is a poor manager. There are a lot of opportunities in dairy farming and it makes a rewarding career the whole family can be a part of.
For detailed information on the economics of operating a dairy farm in Alberta we recommend that you review the provincial Dairy Cost Study. This study is undertaken annually by the Economics Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. In conducting the study up to 60 herds are surveyed over the course of one year. The research is compiled and results are published in The Economics of Milk Production.