MILWAUKEE (AP) -- After a bleak period for farmers, Wisconsin's dairy industry is on the rise.
Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the state's $27 billion dairy industry has been in recovery mode lately.
Those farmers who were able to get through 2009 -- the worst year -- have been rebuilding their equity and paying down debt.
The trend of Wisconsin losing thousands of dairy farms a year also has slowed.
As of Dec. 1, Wisconsin had 11,786 licensed milk cow herds -- down 681 from December 2010. That's less of a decline than in previous years when farm-milk prices plummeted and farmers liquidated their herds and shut down their businesses.
But more people are now showing an interest in dairy farming as exports bolster the industry's growth.