Swan Brother’s Dairy is fighting to stay open due to inflation, drought issues

CLAREMORE, Okla. — A beloved local dairy farm in Claremore is struggling to stay open.

Swan Brother’s Dairy said they’ve faced hurdle after hurdle, which has hit them hard financially.

The biggest hurdle was last year, when they had to stop selling their raw milk because of a listeria outbreak on their farm. Diane Williamson’s family owns the farm.

She told FOX23, “We were notified by the State Department of Agriculture tat someone in Missouri had gotten sick from [their milk].”

Williamson also said that during the pandemic, there was an increase in demand for local milk. They bought three cows from a different farm to keep up with the demand.

“As it turns out, those three cows happened to be listeria carriers,” she recalled. “It was really difficult to detect because they were asymptomatic, so they hadn’t shown any outside symptoms of being sick. You have to catch it in their milk at the time that they’re shedding to catch it.”

Raw milk is a huge source of income for this farm. In the last 13 months, they couldn’t sell raw milk for eight of those months.

“Which created a loss of five to seven thousand dollars a week,” she said.

This family also said they’ve also struggled with inflation. Gas and hay prices aren’t cheap right now. The summer heat has also made things difficult because the cows are producing less milk.

Last week, this family decided to ask the community for help, so they created a GoFundMe Page. The community stepped up. They donated money online and in-person, and customers bought more product.

“This is a family business and trying to stay in business, the community supporting us like this has really meant a lot to us,” Williamson said.