Small Dairy Farms Face Extinction

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tuesday that small dairy farms may soon be a thing of the past.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke Tuesday at the World Dairy Expo in Madison Wisconsin about the possible extinction of small dairy farms, according to Axios.

Small dairy farms in the U.S. are facing changing business models and economic struggles, decreasing sentiment about their survival against the bigger farms. Secretary Perdue spoke on the matter saying, "In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I don't think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability."

Small dairy farms have been struggling due to plummeting milk prices, a pivot to milking in mass quantities, the trade war with China, and a rising suicide rate amongst farmers.

Wisconsin is considered the "Dairyland" state, but economic data is starting to press that reputation. According to the Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin has lost 551 dairy farms in 2019, 638 in 2018, and 465 in 2017.

The decline in dairy farms can be attributed to many variables, but one data report shows that U.S. dairy exports to China fell 43% overall after China's first round of tariffs in July 2018. This resulted in 3.7 billion pounds of milk being left unaccounted for and forcing dairy farmers to find other markets.

Small dairy farms are closing as they struggle to keep up with modern-day economy.

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