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As Dairy Farmers Struggle, U.S. Agriculture Secretary says Small Dairy Farms Will Likely All Close

MORELAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. — For many dairy farmers across Pennsylvania, every day is a struggle to make ends meet. Just this week, the top agriculture offici...

MORELAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- For many dairy farmers across Pennsylvania, every day is a struggle to make ends meet.

Just this week, the top agriculture official in the U.S., Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said publicly that smaller dairy farms are probably all going to go out of business.

Bob Myers owns Buck Hill Farms in Moreland Township near Muncy. He was not surprised by Secretary Perdue's comment.

"Even the big guys can't hold on with the price of everything. It cost too much, everything is so high-priced," Myers said.

Myers spends upwards of 14 hours a day tending to his 20 cows and working on his farm. He said in the last 30 years, the cost of doing business has gone up ten-fold but the price of milk has not.

"Back years ago, you made as much as you made going to a factory to work as farming, now you work a whole day plus overtime and you near that," Myers said.

Buck Hill Farms has been in Myers' family for three generations, but Myers said it has never been so hard to turn a profit.

"I am not profitable. Every year I have a loss, I do. I keep hoping it will all come back," Myers said.

Myers said the last time he was profitable was in the 1980s. He said there are just too many government regulations over the cost of milk and that is cutting into his earnings.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said at the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin this week, "In America, the big get bigger and the small go out... I don't think in America, we for any small business, we have a guaranteed profitability."

Secretary Perdue did say he believes the 2018 farm bill should keep larger farms afloat. However, Perdue concedes smaller family-owned dairy farms will still struggle to compete.