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Perdue says ’18 Farm Bill should help small dairies

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says the 2018 Farm Bill should help stem the flow of small dairy farms going out of business but he says there’s an economy-of-scale issue in America.

Perdue says, “Big get bigger and small go out and that’s kind of what we’ve seen here. It’s very difficult on an economy of scale with the capital needs and all the environmental regulations and everything else today to survive milking 40, 50, 60 or even a hundred cows.”

Perdue told reporters at World Dairy Expo there’s no guarantee in America for small business profitability or survival, “That depends on each and every farmer and dairy farmer. Farmers are pretty good at managing and managing through tough times. I think those that have survived through the ’14 Farm Bill should do well in the ’18 Farm Bill.”

Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hersey and chairwomen of the dairy checkoff tells Brownfield the diversification of both large and small dairies in the U.S. is one of the industry’s greatest strengths.

“The checkoff program is not designated to look at size. You know, I don’t see size as a focus.”

Dairy checkoff officials identified the need to support farmers as individuals and better unite and support their differences. 

The Open Markets Institute issued a statement saying Secretary Perdue has the ability to enact policies “that would crack down on the abusive agriculture monopolies that are pushing out small producers and independent family farms.”

~Brownfield’s Larry Lee and Nicole Heslip contributed to this story

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks with reporters

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