It's not difficult to see how farming has changed in Wisconsin; you need only to drive around the state and see the many abandoned dairy barns. The numbers can help put what you see into perspective.
Wisconsin Dairy Farms
But, interestingly enough, Wisconsin has nearly as many dairy cows in 2007 (1.25 million) as it had in 2002 (1.24 million). In 1974, Wisconsin farmers had 1.73 million cows.
Dairy farms are fewer but larger, no question about it. In 2007 the average number of cows per dairy farm was 88 cows. During World War II, when I was a kid, our dairy herd numbered 15 cows, which we milked by hand because we hadn't yet gotten electricity on our farm. (Numbers are from the Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Service)
My new novel, IN A PICKLE: A FAMILY FARM STORY looks at some of the changes in family farms, and the effects on rural communities.
"If you put all your eggs in one basket, be sure to keep your eye on the basket."