Wisconsin farmers struggling to stay in business

STRATFORD, Wis. (WSAW) --- Farmers from every background met Sunday in Stratford to talk about the effects that they're seeing on their farms.

"The agricultural sector is really struggling right now," said crop farmer Michael Tauschek.

It's the same message from most local Wisconsin farmers.

"We've lost 500 dairy farms since 2017 and we're on track to lose over 500 in 2018. In the last 5 years we've lost 20 percent of our dairy farms," Tauschek added.

That's why members from the Marathon County chapter of the Wisconsin farmers union are meeting to discuss what they can do to take action.

"In terms of dairy there has been no consistency in the milk prices. I mean they're up down but you know they've been consistently down for the past three years. You know we typically have up and down cycles but we're not getting the up cycles,” said local dairy farmer Jim Briggs.

Some farmers believe these changes are the results of political changes.

"Most of it is the tariffs and the uncertainty of what is going to happen with the tariffs," Tauschek mentioned

"We're getting paid 1980's prices for our milk virtually. But nothing else fuel, gasoline, equipment, are we paying 1980's prices for. You can't do it, there's no stability, there's no profit in it right now," added Briggs.

For farmers who are looking for options on what to do, you shouldn’t do this alone, but rather join with others also struggling.

"If you're not at the table you're probably going to be a part of the meal. So I think a lot of farmers, if they're out there listening maybe you need to join an organization that looks out for the average small family farm and maybe we can stop this erosion that's going on in the dairy industry," said Tauschek

Dairy consumers can help too. Buying the product is just as important.

"Dairy is a consumer driven market and the consumers really have the power to change it, and make a difference," said Briggs.