“There’s just not that much money in agriculture. But it’s a peaceful lifestyle and a great way to raise a family.”

Alexander Tan:

But the Brattset Family Farm’s success is not something every family farm experiences.

Jurcek’s farm resides in an agricultural community where there were once dozens of small dairy farms, but in their place remain a scant few holdouts and a new highway. Their town echoes a nationwide trend: that the viability of family farming is waning.

Less than a decade ago, America’s dairyland boasted over 10,000 farms, most of them small family operations. But in recent years, about 40% of dairy farms have gone out of business, according to PBS Wisconsin. For several years, Wisconsin has led the nation in farm bankruptcies.

Simultaneously, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms confining over 1,000 cattle, have risen to dominate the dairy market.

‘Get big or get out’