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I sympathize with the plight of many family farmers whose traditional livelihood is threatened by change.

Change is not easy to accept, especially when one's livelihood is involved. I know firsthand the emotional toll it can take on a person's sense of well-being and self-worth. In mid-career, technological change, market forces and elimination of redundant production capacity forced me out of the work I loved at a company I loved to work for. But, over time, I adapted and life went on.

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Critics of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's comment that "the big get bigger and the small go out" ignore economic reality. And no, family farms are not "a benefit to society" that warrants government subsidies.

Struggling small dairy operators would better serve themselves and society if they recognized and accepted that the paradigm for profitability has changed. They have the land, and they can still keep farming in some form. They may even find that a different form of farming, combined with "work in town," is a better way to make a living than the grind of 24/7/365 dairy farming.

It worked for my former dairy farming country cousins, and it can work for them.

Jim Bolitho, town of Middleton

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