There has been an alarming and concerning post circulating the internet. Agri-mark, the milk cooperative that owns Cabot Creamery, usually sends a letter about the current milk market with the milk check. This most recent letter included local resources for those considering suicide, along with the unfair and devastating projected milk prices for the next 12 months.
If you have ever talked to a farmer, even if just for a second, you would know how much they love this life. They eat, sleep, and breathe farming. They put in a countless number of hours. Most put in 40 hours by Tuesday. It’s not a job for them, it’s a way of life. I’ve seen first hand the stressors of a farm. I have witnessed how it affects individuals, families, and relationships. Plummeting milk prices just add on to the everyday stress of running a farm. Sit back and picture this, you put in a 100 hour work week and don't even break even, this is dairy farming.
The cows come first. They are the main focus, if they aren't healthy and happy, they are not producing the best milk they can. The cows gets taken care of before the farmer thinks about taking care of themselves. These cows mean more to the farmer than the consumers will ever know.
Farmers are being forced to sell their cows and move on. In 1950 there were 3.5 million dairy farms, 2012 58,000, and 2016 just over 48,000 remain. Those numbers are astounding. Of course milk prices are not solely to blame, but that is not a lot of farms to feed such a great amount of people.
Seeing farms expand and branch out to other avenues to make it is great. However, if they can’t find a way to do that, it leaves with them with ultimately one option. Sure they can try to go for as long as they can, but the insurmountable debt will always be over their heads. Selling the cows and farm is the only option for some of these farmers. I have unfortunately witnessed the dispersal of several family farms who could just not make it anymore. The heartbreak is devastating. When that is all you know and have worked for your entire life, for what? To maybe break even in the end? It’s not fair.
At this point, you may be saying to yourself, “How can I help? What can I do?” You can go to your local farm and purchase direct from your farmer. Farms like ours sell RAW MILK, direct from the cow to your fridge--that way 100% your money goes to your local farmer. If you can't/don't have raw milk available in your area, purchasing ANY dairy products at your local grocery store helps out! You can also help support your local farmer by joining a CSA (community supported agriculture), which you pledge your commitment by pre-purchasing products such as produce. Check out our unique hare options, here.
We, the local dairy farmer thanks you for your support!