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Dairy farmers struggle in harsh winter conditions

MARATHON CITY, Wis. (WAOW) — Dairy farmers experienced hardships this winter season.

James Juedes, Operator of Pleasant View Dairy Farms said out of his 37 years milking cows as a dairy farmer, this year’s winter has been one of most difficult he’s faced.

“Every year it seems like it gets worse and worse,” said Juedes. “It’s just been pretty constant and I think that’s what really draws a person’s spirits down is that it doesn’t seem like there’s an end in sight.”

He said his farms have continuously been covered in ice which is not only a danger to him, but to his cows as well. He also said there have been many occasions where he’s experienced frostbite because you can’t always wear gloves to get the job done.

“It really makes for long long long days and a few sleepless nights as well,” said James. “The animals have had a hard time getting places to go to get shelter. It’s tough on them just like it is on us when we go outside. I have some that are outside all the time.”

Juedes added that some of his cow’s udders have suffered from frostbite, which results in low milk production. He said without the product the customers don’t get milk and the farmers have no way of making enough money.

This winter has also been a contributing factor to the hay shortage in Wisconsin, which is what James uses to feed his cows and the animals abilities to survive in the cold.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture had this to say in regard to farmers experiencing similar struggles statewide.

“On our license plates it says America’s Dairyland,” said Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Secretary Brad Pfaff. America’s Dairyland recognizes the fact that how important agriculture is to us as a people of this state. Farmers are extremely hardworking. Extremely optimistic. Extremely resilient but it’s very difficult. We need to make sure we support our farmers.”

James Juedes said he’s looking forward to spring and he’s hopeful that the farming business will soon turn in a positive direction.

Rashad Williams

News 9 Reporter

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