Choosing the side of family farms
“We’re trying to save agriculture in West Virginia. We’re one of the last dairy farms here.”
Brookdale Farm has been in Donna Brooke-Alt’s family for generations. Much has changed in that time. Costs have risen. The local community and school both shrank. And what they get for milk has stagnated. In 2019, her family got roughly the same price that they got in 1978, with no adjustment for inflation.
“We sell everything at wholesale. We buy everything at retail.”
Donna’s family has watched farms like theirs shut down or bought out. They had to do something.
They started in 2001 with a corn maze. In 2004 they added greenhouses. Along the way they’ve added an animal barn, and giant playgrounds. After hearing from more than two dozen brides looking for a wedding venue…they opened one: the Stadell in 2014.
The place feels as much like a family-friendly rural amusement park as it does a functioning farm.
“We used the word agri-tainment before it became popular.”
Family farms aren’t playing on a level field.
But our state government can help: We can support agriculture and technical education in schools; stop rigging regulations in favor of Big Ag; increase farm to school and other programs to encourage state government to buy local; and more.
It doesn’t have to be this way right now. But those changes will only come when we have a government by and for farmers and consumers, not lobbyists.
See some of our plans to address these issues here: