The Herald reports a fourth-generation dairy in Snohomish, Washington is forced to sell its herd and equipment due to dwindling milk prices and higher feed costs.

The Bartelheimer Brother dairy of Snohomish will auction off tractors, equipment and 800 Holstein cows to make enough money to pay bank loans and rent the land for someone in the Bartelheimer family to farm. The farm has been in the family for 70 years.

“I'm hopeful that somebody will move in and farm the ground and that it doesn't get turned into another run-down place,” Jason Bartelheimer said.

Dairy operations in Snohomish County have depleted over the years. In 1960 there were 650 dairies in the county, now only 27 remain, however the average herd size in the county has increased from 34 cows to 304 cows per dairy over the same time period.

Bartelheimer said larger dairy operations have been able to survive as the price of milk falls, but family farms like his find it tougher to stay afloat. He hopes another farmer is interested in the land, either to rent the 500 tillable acres or to operate a dairy farm.

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