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Forty-seven Wisconsin dairy farms closed in August Submitted: 09/21/2018
Erin Beu
Erin Beu
Reporter/Anchor
ebeu@wjfw.com

Forty-seven Wisconsin dairy farms closed in August
STEVENS POINT - According to the Associated Press, Wisconsin lost 47 dairy farms just last month.

At Feltz's Dairy Farm, farmers now have to adapt fast to price changes due to Chinese tariffs or risk going under.

Jake Feltz is a sixth generation dairy farmer.

"My dad says do what you love. The money will come after," said Feltz. "We have just over six hundred cows."

Feltz's farm has seen a change from what dairy farming used to look like.

"When you think of Wisconsin, America's Dairyland, you think of that small, family farm. [But] things are changing," said Feltz.

President Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods led China to retaliate and put tariffs on American products, including milk.

"You have to grow in size [now] to stay afloat," said Feltz.

Feltz's medium sized farm has adapted to be able to handle the low prices of milk.



According to the USDA, milk prices dropped by about twenty cents per gallon in Wisconsin just in the las year.

"There's not much you can do with the price, so we just focus on what we can do," said Feltz.

Recently, Feltz added a dairy store in front of the farm and two mechanical milkers to make the milking process go by quicker.

Jake's brother Jared was shocked to hear that 47 dairy farms shut down in Wisconsin last month.

"I feel for those people," said Jared.

But just like in any business, you have to adapt.

"If you can't keep up, if you chose not to remain competitive, you're going to get left behind," said Jared.

The Trump Administration plans to add $12 billion to help offset the estimated $11 billion in losses farmers face from the tariffs. But Jake says he won't see that money until next summer.

Jake says other dairy farms, especially small farms, need to learn how to adapt or fear shutting down.

"That's dairy farming, its hard work," said Feltz.

Jake has plans to get more mechanical milking devices to be able to cut labor costs to help keep them competitive.


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