Steve Hershey grew up on his family farm, milking cows three times a day. It’s a job that didn’t pay after milk prices bottomed out.
“You don’t have control over it, you have absolutely no control over it,” Hershey said.
He sold his fifth-generation farm to his niece and said he doesn’t miss the stress. He can also understand why there’s been a rise in suicides among dairy farmers.
“It does not surprise me in the slightest,” Hershey said. “I have a strong support system around me, but there were days when it was just hopeless.”
Hershey said it’s important to know where to turn for help when taking care of the farms can be overwhelming.
“Obviously my wife and my kids are there,” Hershey said. “And my church structure.”
He also said talking to other dairy farmers helps, and that there is life after milking cows.
“There’s a lot of stuff I don’t miss, and you don’t realize what stress and pressure is in dairy farming,” Hershey said. “There is a future after dairy farming, and you’re not alone, there’s a lot of people that are having the same struggle.”
Those suffering from suicidal thoughts can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
By: Meredith Jorgensen
Source: WGAL News 8