SPRING HILL, KS (KCTV) -- A growing number of farmers are filing for bankruptcy and the state of Kansas has been especially hard hit.
Hundreds of farms are declaring bankruptcy and there are a lot of factors that came together at once and caused that to happen.
Kansas has been hit by natural disasters in the past few years. There were drought conditions in some parts of the state and then flooding this past year.
Mackey Farm near Spring Hill was once a fully functioning dairy, but the owner said they haven't milked in several years.
The only constant in farming is change.
“Expenses get higher, they keep going up,” Frank Mackey Jr. said. “We never know what we'll get for our product.”
Mackey has been raising cattle there for nearly 50 years.
“It's been a tough business,” he said.
So tough, in fact, that his dairy operation has stopped milking.
“The dairy industry has been terrible,” he said. “Oversupply of milk has put a lot of dairy cattle out of business.”
For a while, he still raised dairy cattle, but that was a challenge, too.
“That went down, too,” he said. “There was just no market for the replacement heifers either.”
He's watched other farmers struggle over the past few years as they deal with competition from corporate agriculture, natural disasters, and tariffs. He wasn't surprised when KCTV5 News showed him a report from the farm bureau that shows more than 30 Kansas farms going bankrupt, which is up 13 from the year before.
“It's been a bad business the last 3 or 4 years,” Mackey said.
Only Wisconsin had more bankruptcies than Kansas in 2019. It is another state hit hard by a struggling dairy industry.
Mackey hopes consumers can understand the struggle.
“The American farmer doesn't have it easy out here,” he said. “People need to appreciate where their food comes from.”
The USDA also released a report this month that said overall farm profits are actually increasing this year. However, that could largely be due to disaster relief payments after record flooding.