Facing low milk prices and consolidation, dairy farms in Wisconsin continue to fold
It’s no secret that dairy farms have been folding at a rapid clip over the past decade, as low milk prices and industry consolidation make it harder for smaller companies to stay afloat. But what does the trend look like on the ground? The Guardian followed one dairy farmer in Monroe, Wisconsin, as he auctioned off his dairy herd after 32 years in the business. This isn’t a unique story: The state lost 10 percent of its dairy farms in 2019, the most significant single-year drop, and approximately 44 percent of dairy farms in the last 10 years. But that doesn’t mean there’s less milk on the market. Instead, it appears that concentrated animal feeding operations with hundreds and sometimes thousands of cows are replacing—and, as some would argue, edging out—small producers.