A recent article in the International Business Times discusses how the global milk market has helped, and hurt, American dairy farmers.
The article points out that while milk-derived products like powder can be shipped internationally, liquid milk remains a largely regional industry: “Markets for fresh fluid milk are largely local or regional in the United States — and even in modest-sized countries — because moving it quickly by air is far too expensive, while transporting it very far on the ground risks spoilage.”
But when small dairy ecosystems begin to suffer because Big Dairy is elbowing them out, other parts of the regional economy feel the effects: local veterinarians have fewer cows to treat, equipment companies, feed companies and lumber mills that supply sawdust for bedding get fewer orders.
Together, these points make a strong economic for supporting local dairy farms. Not just to stimulate our local economies and not just so that we have access to fresh, responsibly sourced foods – but because if there’s one industry that should be easy to regionalize, it’s the dairy industry which is inherently regional already.
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