26-year-old Mark comes from a long line of farmers. He grew up on his family’s dairy farm “Trailside Dairy” in Pine Island and says he planned to take over the family business one day.
“As I kept working with the family, I realized this is what I wanted to do and I don’t really want to do anything else,” he said.
But now, with increased financial pressures in the industry, Mark is rethinking his future.
“It’s one of those dreams that seem kind of gloomy,” he said.
His mother Penny Berg said the farming business has always had its ups and downs, but lately, it’s been staying down.
“Probably within the last year or so that it’s really started to make a difference on us anyway. It’s depleted the savings. We’ve always been good about putting money into savings so we always had something to fall back on,” she said.
Her husband Thomas Berg said the impact reaches far beyond the financials.
“If you can’t make a living on what you are doing and what you are producing, then it strains your togetherness with everybody. It makes your feeling of worth be less,” said Thomas Berg.
At one point, Mark said all six of his family members worked on the farm.
“It has been extremely stressful on the family in general and if we had it our way we would all work here. But there’s just not enough to sustain that many people,” said Mark.
Now, they are looking to sell some of their 200 cows, to reduce costs after this year’s feed shortage.
That’s what sparked the initial argument between Mark and his father that prompted Mark to post a video on Facebook
“We were debating which cows to sell. That’s not easy because a lot of people don’t realize that we work with these cows 365 days a year. They are our family,” he said.
His family hopes this video sparks change.
“He’s had umpteen farmers get back to him saying thank you for doing this because I could not have. Now the story is out and people actually know now how we are all feeling,” said Penny.
“My hope is at this point the dairy community sees some help. Because they need it right now,” said Mark.