Wednesday, January 9, 2019

WI '18 dairy farm losses greater than first reported

Dairy farm losses last year in Wisconsin totaled 691, or 15 more than first reported in early December before year-end numbers became available. The full December loss was 53 farms, or almost two every day.

The bigger picture is devastating, as Farm Journal's MILK reports:
In the past decade, Wisconsin has lost 4,819 milk cow herds, or about 37% of its herds. The rate of losses this year is more than double the rate of loss over the past 10 years. 

The issue was highlighted in a searing first-person op-ed in The Washington Post by a Wisconsin dairy farmer quitting after forty years:
This year, Wisconsin, where I live, had lost 382 dairy farms by August; last year, the number at the same point was 283. The despair is palpable; suicide is a fact of life, though many farm suicides are listed as accidents. 
A farmer I knew for many years came home from town, folded his good clothes for the last time and killed himself. I saw no warning, though maybe others did.
I had tracked the numbers and noted that shrinking totals, along with growth at the industrial-sized and heavily-polluting CAFOs, (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operationo), favored by Walker's administration had become twin rural crises he'd left for the Evers administration to confront.

The industry publication Farm Journal MILK also reports that the total number of dairy cattle in Wisconsin in 2018 actually increased, affirming the growing domination of the CAFO sector.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The number of herds has decreased but the number of cows has remained almost the same. The acronym CAFO stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation and dairy is definitely becoming concentrated.