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Secretary of Agriculture's Comments On Dairy Strike Some As 'Shocking,' 'Disappointing'

Secretary of Agriculture's Comments On Dairy Strike Some As 'Shocking,' 'Disappointing'
By Amy Mayer
 
Small farmers and their allies are responding to comments the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture made this week that suggested only big farms are likely to survive.
 
“In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” Sonny Perdue told a gathering of dairy farmers in Wisconsin. He added that even 100 cows might not be enough to turn a profit. The comments come at a time when dairy farmers across the country, but especially in the upper Midwest, are struggling.
 
University of Illinois agriculture policy professor Jonathan Coppess found the comment “shocking.”
 
“Those farmers have just… they've really gone through it. And the kind of bankruptcies you're seeing and what's happening in that industry… you'd like to see a little more empathy,” he said.
 
The number of dairy farms continues to fall, though the 2018 Farm Bill completely overhauled federal dairy assistance and the new program has paid out more than $300 million to more than 20,000 farmers this year.
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