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Organic Food Crisis Threatens Wisconsin Dairy Farmers

What's in your grocery store's dairy case?

(This is part one in a two-part series.)

“The last two years have not been smooth sailing,” Ron Miller, general manager of the R&G Miller & Sons farm, says carefully when I ask how the family’s organic dairy farm is faring.

The Columbus-area farmer, one of six Miller family members running a venerable homestead farm that dates to 1852, is patiently explaining how the previous fall they couldn’t harvest crops or plant winter grains because of the wet fields that had mired the 1,600 acres they own and rent north of Sun Prairie. 

This was a costly problem because the Millers, who milk 365 cows and have even more heifers and calves, want to grow everything they feed their animals.

But weather, a constant uncertainty in a farmer’s life, wasn’t the big problem challenging the Miller farm. It was the crash in organic dairy prices that had prompted the Millers to pinch pennies.