Trump’s Ag Secretary Doesn’t Know If Family Farms Can Survive
President Donald Trump's agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue was in Wisconsin when he told reporters that he doesn't know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was at the World Dairy Expo in Madison when he stated that it's getting harder for farmers to get by on milking smaller herds.
Perdue said: "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."
The dairy industry has been on the decline as they struggle with many issues including declining milk prices, rising suicide rates, and Trump's international trade wars.
In 2019 alone Wisconsin has lost 551 dairy farms. And that's after losing 638 in 2018 and 465 in 2017, according to data from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Legislature's finance committee voted unanimously last month to spend an additional $200,000 to help struggling farmers deal with depression and mental health problems.
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader has pointed out that South Dakota farmers and ranchers are experiencing financial and emotional stress due to low commodity prices, extended drought, along with flooding combined with a lingering trade war with China and other importers.
The Star Tribune quoted Jerry Volenec, a fifth-generation Wisconsin dairy farmer with 330 cows after he left the Perdue event feeling discouraged about his future. "What I heard today from the secretary of agriculture is there's no place for me. Can I get some support from my state and federal government? I feel like we're a benefit to society."
A question has been raised concerning if “we want all the food supply being controlled by one or a few big corporate farmers or even the government itself?”