MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he sees small dairy farms as both American and Wisconsin traditions, while refusing to directly criticize comments made by President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary suggesting they may need to get bigger to survive.

Johnson told reporters Thursday that small dairy farms are a tradition “we want to do everything we can to preserve.” He says larger dairy farms could provide resources that would help smaller operations.

Earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said at the World Dairy Expo in Madison that “In America, the big get bigger and the small go out.”

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday said he resented the remarks, which he says amounted to lambasting dairy farms and putting a “pox” on small farming in the state.