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21 August 2009

Dairy Farmers In Trouble

Interesting series of reports on NPR yesterday about the problems facing dairy farmers these days. Many family farms are going under as raw milk prices have dropped substantially in the last few years. Of course, all this raw milk is sold to be processed (pasteurized) and by the time it makes it to the shelf of the grocery story, the price hasn't dropped at all as the middle man so to speak is making all the profit. Apparently two huge corporations are involved: DFA (Dairy Farmers of America) and Dean Foods. DFA buys something like one-third of the nation's raw milk and Dean distributes it as I understand it in my overly-simplified manner. These huge corporations are doing great, and as I've stated consumers have seen no dramatic drop in milk prices at the retail level, while the smaller family farms are going down the tubes. I wonder if selling their own raw milk on a small scale (like the farm I purchase milk from, Birchwood Dairy farm - see earlier blog on Raw Milk) is an option for some of them? Do they even know of the demand for raw milk products? Think about how your support of small family farms flies in the face of this modern American collectivization type movement where more and more huge corporations are distributing the nation's food and all the problems inherent in that system; why is it that extreme corporate capitalism always reminds me more of a Communist system than anything resembling a so-called free market? I know it wouldn't work for everyone, but the solution of going small and local would save some farmers and provide a better product for the consumer, made with more TLC and attention to quality because their name is right on that product and less antibiotics/hormones so the cows and people whom consume the product would be so much better off, not to mention the environment (without the need for shipping foods hundreds of miles and all the use of fuel that entails). Everyone wins, except DFA and Dean Foods. If you know any dairy farmers who are in trouble, let them know of the huge demand for raw milk - might be an option for some.

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