Wisconsin dairy farmers worried about decline is business - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin dairy farmers worried about decline is business


As milk production is increasing, dairy farmers across the state of Wisconsin are shutting down.

Experts said it's difficult for small dairy farms to make money so they expect the downward trend to continue. 

"I had always hoped that one of my son's would take over and run it but the way things are going now and the way it looks, I don't see much of a future in it for any of them," James Juedes, a Central Wisconsin dairy farmer said. 

State agriculture experts said nearly 500 dairy farms have shut down across the state, leaving about 8,000 dairy farms in Wisconsin. 

"When milk prices were high in 2012, a lot of people decided to expand and part of that has led to the issue that we have now.," Heather Schlesser, of UW Extension said. 

Many see dairy farming as a business and a lifestyle but now, the future of it remains in question. 

Experts are holding out hope. 

"For what we can produce milk for and what we're selling milk for per hundred weight it's pretty much break even so something has to change, something has to give in the market," said Schlesser. 

Farmers like Juedes think back to when they first got into the business only to be reminded of how much can change in just a couple decades. 

"It was always tough but you'd go up and down the road and there was a small farm everywhere," Juedes said. "[Now] you just see everybody drop off and the amount of farms now are way less."

Due to the declining business, some small farm owners are now selling other crops just to stay in business. 

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