Dairy production in Wisconsin is slipping again. The latest figures from the Wisconsin Agriculture Statistics service says output is down 6/10 of a percent. Farmers say they're not surprised to hear about the drop.
"The cost of doing business is more than you can make a decent living, and a lot of farmers are leaving the business," Gene Christian, president of the Marathon County Farm Bureau said.
Christian says between what it takes to keep a farm running, and climbing insurance premiums, there's not a lot of cream in the dairy industry.
"When you get a $3,000 milk check and you pay $1,000 for health insurance, that don't leave much for paying the bills and living expenses," the Wausau farmer said.
Christian is hopeful, however, that that could change. Gov. Jim Doyle said in his state of the state address that he hopes to develop a health insurance pool. This would allow small businesses and farmers to take advantage of the state's buying power. Christian says something like that could help a lot.
"Let's hope it's not just talk, and we get a little action," Christian said with a smile.