I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying until I meet my maker: I firmly believe that rural places are the soul of our state and the engine of our economy. But we need a new rural economy where small- and medium-scale family farms and rural Main Streets can stabilize and innovate, not the status quo that has given Wisconsin the highest farm bankruptcy rate in the nation and a hollowing out of small towns. Wisconsin’s legacy of family farm agriculture cannot survive if farm exits continue at this rate. In fact, Wisconsin has been losing nearly two dairy farms a day for several years.
We fail to address this loss at our own peril. There can be a bright future for Wisconsin’s small towns and rural Main Streets, but getting there will take grit, attention to detail, and a commitment to address the real struggles of everyday folks out here among the pastoral landscape of family farms, towering ridgelines, and beautiful river valleys. That’s where farmers come into play.
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