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An article on Huffington Post posits that dairy farms could replace prisons as sources of employment in rural areas around the United States.
In New York, for example, 90% of state prisons are located in rural areas. “No one who can help it wants a prison in their backyard. Yet in economically depressed areas, the jobs they promise are the difference between unemployment and a paycheck, pension, and health insurance,” the author points out.
Activist Lauren Melodia sees agriculture as an alternative to prisons. In 2010, she founded Milk Not Jails, an organization that aims to both revitalize rural economies and end an economic dependence on prisons. Though it seems like a lofty goal, the dairy industry might have the potential to achieve it – a 2014 report by Cornell professor Todd Schmit shows that for every dollar made from agricultural products in the state, another $0.43 is generated in additional economic activity.
The key to this is removing the biggest obstacle facing dairy farmers today: a federal pricing structure that prevents farmers from getting paid what they need to stay in business.
According to the author, “Legalizing the sale of raw milk would be one simple way to make that happen. Because dairy farmers don’t need to pasteurize raw milk, they would be able to sell it without expensive processing fees.”
Read more of the author’s proposed solutions as well as the challenges of this issue on the Huffington Post.