Farmer, panel discusses impact of economic downturn

A Wisconsin farmer says the dairy economic downturn of the past five years impacted some farms faster than others.

Mitch Breunig operates Mystic Valley Dairy near Sauk City, Wisconsin, and says, “I think it came quickly for some people, and I think that maybe, you know, they refinanced their operating loan more than once and pretty soon that got to be pretty ugly and they were getting ready to put a new crop in, and maybe the bank said no.”

Breunig says as an independent farmer, he wants the decision to keep farming to be his choice and not somebody else’s, and he knows farmers who were forced out of the dairy business.

Breunig says the pain and stress of losing a farm goes even deeper. “The second part of that equation all of the sudden becomes, you know I’ve farmed my family’s farm for six generations and I’m the one that lost it. Wow, I didn’t see it coming, right? That’s pretty tough and I’ve had several friends you know, that that’s their story.”

Breunig participated in a Future of Dairy panel discussion hosted by the University of Wisconsin Alumni Organization Monday, where panelists agreed many producers are still struggling, even with improved milk prices.

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