Mega-dairy consolidation is driving thousands of small farmers out of business
For all the dairy lobby chatter about plant-based alternatives destroying the cow milk industry, a bigger reckoning is pitting mega-farms versus smaller, independent dairies. The Guardian headed to Minnesota to showcase these struggles, talking with smaller dairy farmers who have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy in recent years. While the piece entertains the notion that mega-dairies can achieve efficiencies of scale, leading to cheaper milk for consumers, its sympathy for small farmers is palpable. (The story’s subheading is: “A collapse in the number of dairy farmers in states such as Minnesota is destroying livelihoods and hollowing out rural life.”) Noting the state lost 1,100 dairies between 2012 and 2017, the story alternates between struggling small farmers’ personal anecdotes and raw descriptions of animal treatment at the state’s biggest dairy farm, Riverview LLP (without noting many of these practices are common, no matter the farm size). It’s a tidy piece, but that doesn’t take away from the hard truth that industry consolidation is pushing thousands of farmers out of the business. Read more in The Guardian.