Field Notes: Booming dairy industry leaves small farms behind

Feb 14, 2014

Donnie Davidson decided to shut down his dairy in November after a roof on one of his barns collapsed from the winter’s snow. The roof would have cost $20,000 to rebuild. To keep the dairy going, he also would have had to hire help and upgrade a silo.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which we talk about important issues related to food production.

The U.S. dairy industry is changing. Dairy farmers are exporting more milk; they’re getting bigger and more efficient. But as I found out reporting this story, that has left some dairy families behind. In traditional milk producing states like Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois and Nebraska, meeting the growing global demand is tough going for smaller dairy farmers.