As we are about to host a summer potluck for our local chapter of the Wisconsin Farmer’s Union, our thoughts can’t help but dive into the struggling economic situation Wisconsin farmers are presently facing. WFU supports legislative action and farmer cooperation to navigate this difficult situation.
Snap Peas (larges only)
Wisconsin lost nearly 700 dairy farms last year, almost two a day, in a downturn now headed into its fifth year. Family farms are at the mercy of trade wars, economies of scale and a complex pricing system. In April of 2019, as farmers were forced with making the decision to hold on another year or not, we lost a record 90 more dairy farms in Wisconsin. The current economy isn’t much better for commodity crop farmers as the relations between US and our leading ag export nations continue to fray.
There is an even bigger problem brewing as a result of losing farms. Our small town economies are centered around these farms. Mechanics, hardware and lumber stores, implement dealers, grain mills, seed dealers, agronomists, veterinarians and the list goes on. Every where you look, the economic support system for the farming industry is present and when the farms shutdown, so do many other businesses.
None of us like to see our rural life slipping away, so the big question hangs out there. What can the average consumer do? That’s easy, seek local dairy products. Buying as directly as possible helps them capture as much of the food dollar as possible. It’s worth it when you consider the big picture. Ask your grocery store or restaurant owner where their dairy products are coming from. Simply starting the conversation makes them consider their role in the crisis as well. Their actions will also affect their customer base in the long term as well. Write to your representatives and tell them how important farming is to our rural economy. Congress could make important changes to foster a fair marketplace for farmers and fix the broken milk pricing system. Even just stopping by for a visit with positive thoughts, neighborly conversation and a distraction from the situation will help.
Growing for you,