Wisconsin, home to nearly 7,000 dairy farms, more than any other state, widely recognizes June as National Dairy Month. The dairy industry itself contributes $45.6 billion to Wisconsin’s economy each year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. But for all its success, the industry also faces challenges. Farmers struggle to find and pay employees more than 40% of which are foreign-born immigrants to the US. Additionally, family farms are finding it hard to survive in a market that increasingly favors large-scale farms, also called concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.
Host Clara Neupert talks about these issues with guests Mireya Sigala, founding member of El Centro de Conexion de Chippewa Valley; Mercedes Falk, president of Puentes/Bridges in Fountain City; Administrator for the Sheep Dairy Association of Wisconsin Patty Koenig, and Carr Valley Cheese Co. senior administrator; John Mayer, a sheep milk producer at Mayfield Family Farms in Clear Lake and Executive Vice President of Industry Relations at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin Patrick Geoghegan.