Ken Jereczek had one more thing to tell me. Ken and his son Paul had just finished giving me a tour of their 180-head dairy farm near the town of Dodge, Wis., a few miles east of the Mississippi River. They showed me the waterbed mattresses where the cows sleep, the Fitbit-like ankle monitors that signal when the cows are in heat, and the temperature-controlled sprinkler system that keeps them comfortable in hot weather. “An uncomfortable cow is an unprofitable cow,” Paul explained.
Then the Jereczeks talked about the economic forces conspiring to endanger their farm’s survival, the most recent of which are the tariffs imposed by Mexico and China on nearly $1 billion of American dairy exports.
But as I was about to leave, Ken suddenly became silent. He looked down and momentarily began to weep. “This is the first time in my life time I really don’t know what to do,” he said through tears.
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