As you drive across the country side you may notice tons of silos on old farms. We call these the tombstones of the dairy industry. I love being in Lancaster County looking across an open field and seeing nothing but silos reaching towards the sky. The harsh reality is that if things don't change these silos will soon also become tombstones as well.
Its more then just prices driving us out of business, its the dreaded letter that your co-op will no longer be picking up your milk. This is the sad fate for so many farmers dear to me. This isn't like Toy-R-Us going out of business this is peoples complete livelihoods. These are the places they want to raise their children, a legacy passed on from generation to generation all lost. There are animals involved. You cant just wake up and not go to work the next day, we still have to go care for them knowing their fate.
So what happens to these cows when a farm is told to sell out? They go to a dispersal sale or to auction. Now some may go to slaughter but most end right back into production which seems silly because how does that help the "decreasing consumption"?
Meanwhile a board of directors making more money then we could ever fathom are sitting in their fancy offices in a complex paid for with our money. ( seriously they have a State-of-the-art fitness center featuring free weights, cardio equipment, group classes and an on-site trainer, along with full-service locker room, Regulation bocce ball, basketball court and walking trail surrounding the building. Laughable but sad)
Instead of ranting about a cooler company dropping sponsorship, start caring about where your food comes from. The easiest way to control a nation is with food. The dairy industry in never going to die, its in too much food (milk powder is in everything) and there is too much money to be made in it. What you are going to see is several mega farms across the United States producing milk for the entire nation. As a consumer which would you rather see a 10,000 herd dairy or 1000 100 head dairies? Its cheaper for a company like Dean (Walmart) to own their own dairies as you have seen with pork producers, chicken and other animal ag.
Now take note that this could happen to any agricultural commodity even vegetables. As a consumer you may ask what can I do? Call your politicians ask how they are supporting agriculture, call your groceries and ask them where there milk is coming from. Buy from local chains like Wa-Wa , Rutters, .....not Wal-mart.
Our cows are producing more on fewer farms but just on our road alone there used to be 10 dairies now we have 3. A farm (dairy or non dairy) used to be able to support a family of 5 with a stay at home wife and 2 hired men. Those times are long gone. For many of us we feel its not a matter of if we get a letter, its when. Don't let all of us just become another tombstone on your drive down a country road.