From The Business Journal:

Heartbreaking stories of despairing dairymen weigh heavily on the minds of fellow dairy farmers struggling across the nation.

In 2008 a Corcoran dairyman’s suicide left seven young children without their father. In 2009, Western Farm Press said four dairymen committed suicide in Tulare County. Last year a New York dairy farmer shot 51 of his milk cows, then took his own life.

Such tragedies among the salt-of-the-earth agriculture community shed a glaring light on the hardships facing milk producers. They continue to see high feed prices fueled by ethanol subsidies and fluctuating consumer prices put a squeeze on their finances.

At the same time, wary banks have held off on lending to dairies that desperately need a capital infusion yet face a risky and uncertain future.

Bankruptcies have shredded California’s dairyland, with 99 producers closing their doors in 2008 and 109 the following year. 2010, something of a recovery year for the industry, still saw 37 dairy bankruptcies.

For more, see: Struggling dairies dig out from ‘huge hole’