by Marion Nestle
Jun 2 2023

Weekend reading: the loss of small dairy farms

I’m just getting to this report from Food and Water Watch: The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies: Dirty Dairy Racket

Food & Water Watch took a look at what’s happening to the U.S. dairy industry.  Its conclusions are not surprising if you have been following these trends.

  • Big dairies have driven out small.  Only about 30 percent of all U.S. milk is produced on family-scale farms.
  • Dairy is not profitable.  “Thanks to the gutting of federal supply management policy,” overproduction and increased production costs gave caysed milk prices to plummet.
  • Consolidation doesn’t help.  Three dairy coops control 83 percent of milk sales: DFA (Dairy Farmers of America), Land O’ Lakes, and California Dairies, Inc.).

Here’s one comparison: Dairy association CEP salaries as compared to dairy farmer income.

The next Farm Bill could help fix some of this by:

  • Restoring supply management
  • Stopping proliferation of factory dairy farms
  • Reforming the farm safety net
  • Setting fair prices