The Christian Science Monitor

Slumping milk prices force dairy farmers to think outside the barn

Dairy farmer Terry Edge in New Diggings, Wis., stands with some of his cows. Edge was a fifth generation Wisconsin dairy farmer who experimented with different breeds of cows that he thought would do better on the hilly pastures of southwestern Wisconsin. But low milk prices have forced him and others out of the business. He sold his cows at an auction in late June, while keeping some as he shifts his focus to raising beef cattle. Source: Richard Mertens

Twelve years ago, Terry Edge, in his mid 20s and descended from Wisconsin dairy farmers, turned his back on the family business and took a job in construction. It didn’t last long. Six months later he bought 50 cows, moved them into his grandfather’s old barn, and threw himself into the subtleties of cow breeding, determined not just to follow the old dairying life but to improve on it, raising animals that were healthier and better suited to grazing on the lush green hillsides of southwest Wisconsin.

“I went that route thinking it would help me make ends meet,” he says. “But it didn’t work out that way.”

Now Mr. Edge has come to the end of the line. He sold most of his cows at an auction last month, undone by a

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