Is Wisconsin Having a Farm Crisis? Read the Report.
Aug 01, 2019 (Westby, WI)
The Catholic Diocese of La Crosse has published several articles on the farm crisis that has hit rural Wisconsin over the last five years. Their work includes farmer interviews, farm crisis facts, and hope in building a farming future. Read the latest report below.
Crisis? Isn’t that extreme?
Fact: In the past, there has been a 3-year cycle of low and high milk prices. When the price is more than the cost of production, farmers recover from low milk price years by catching up on past due bills and replacing worn-out equipment. The present cycle has now moved into its 5th year of low milk prices.
Fact: Wisconsin lost almost 700 dairy farms in 2018, an unprecedented rate of nearly two a day. Most were small operations unable to survive farm milk prices that, adjusted for inflation, were among the lowest in a half-century.
Fact: UW-Extension has been holding a series “Supporting Farmers during challenging times” and is offering support and resources combating the high rate of farm suicides.
Possibly the bigger crisis is that so few of us are aware that our “neighbors” are hurting. Pope Francis has spoken often of the importance of accompaniment, of walking alongside others. We are called by Jesus himself to Love your neighbor as yourself. This is a time when we all need to reach out in care and concern for others. Even more important than financial health is spiritual and emotional health.
When is the last time you asked your neighbor, “how are you doing?” and actually stopped to listen?