A Midwestern dairy farmer who posted a video on Facebook in which he tearfully vented his frustration over his family’s inability to make ends meet has gone viral.
Minnesota dairy farmer Mark Berg, 26, who was raised by his dairy farmer parents and his been around the industry his entire life, posted a video on Facebook to provide an update on the situation in the dairy industry.
“It just isn’t fair,” said Berg. “We’re not asking to make a million.” “But when you literally work day in and day out all the time for nothing, you gain nothing.”
“We’re taking loans just to pay bills, and that’s literally the current situation for dairy farmers.”
According to a University of Minnesota report, the average income for dairy farmers in the state dropped from $43,000 in 2017 to $15,000 in 2018, frighteningly close to the 2018 poverty guidelines of $12,140 for a single family household.
“Nobody gets it because they just go to the grocery store, and they get food and it’s there,” Berg added.
“They don’t realize the people that are literally losing their lives because they’re working for nothing.”
“I love these freaking cows more than anything else; I don’t want to do anything else,” he said.
Berg added that even if he had the means to take over the farm, he wouldn’t because “dairy farming is like a guaranteed failure.”
America’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, reported a $1.1 billion sales decline in 2018.
According to Farm Aid, the number of American dairy farms dropped from 640,000 in the 1970s to approximately 40,000 today.
And dairy farmers are continuously forced to close down as milk prices drop, and the number of Americans turning toward plant milk beverages like almond, oat and coconut milk hits record highs.
Berg voiced his frustration with Land O’ Lakes CEO Beth Ford, who he says responded to his mother’s letter about her financial difficulties with an offer to help her find employment elsewhere.
“Tell me where the [expletive] we are supposed to find another job,” Berg said angrily.
“That pretty much made my mom feel useless, like, yeah, what you’re doing isn’t going to make you money, so you might as well try something else.”
“I just want my family to be happy again,” he concluded in tears.
The video, which was posted less than two weeks ago, has gone viral and now has over 470,000 views on Facebook.
Berg told CBS that he’s received messages from farmers all over the globe who understand his situation.