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Comment Archives: stories: Food + Drink: Agriculture

Re: “Selling the Herd: A Milk Price Crisis Is Devastating Vermont's Dairy Farms

Well Susan I have no connection with the dairy industry . Unlike yourself , I have no personal bias being a Quebecer who loves and has lived in Vermont . You clearly don't know anything about the politics of this province . Although the rural population is low and getting lower , they retain their political power . These rural ridings usually hold the balance of power in elections . Therefore crossing the farm lobby , specifically the dairy farmers is political suicide . They have harmed Quebec with their out sized clout .
As for the US , perhaps the corporate agribusiness lobby here does have more influence then the dairy farmers . I do believe that any farmer who continues to solely reply on milk for income will suffer . As well detailed in this article , many have been proactive and diversified into various value added products . Perhaps they figure a pity party is not very productive .

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rich ard on 04/13/2018 at 10:09 PM

Re: “Selling the Herd: A Milk Price Crisis Is Devastating Vermont's Dairy Farms

Dairy prices are low for two primary reasons: the greed of Big Ag and the great downturn in the consumption of dairy products in this country. There has been a steady decline in consumption since the 1970s and it's accelerating now with the vast numbers of plant-based milk coming to the market. They are healthier than cows' milk, having no saturated fat, and none of the downsides (can you say pus?) that are allowed in the current dairy model. The pus is a byproduct of the large increase in production in a cow's body that is supposed to make enough milk for one or two young that is now forced to produce 10 or 100 times that amount to meet the production needs of the farmers. They get mastitis at a much higher rate because of the overuse of their udders. They wear out in four to five years because of this overproduction, although their natural lifespan should be 15-25 years.

So, yeah, dairy is in trouble. And like a cancer, it is the growing operations, the mega-dairies, that will survive for a while before the total crash. This cancer will kill the industry, as it is killing the family farm and the poor cows who are forcefully impregnated every year and kept in a perpetual state of either pregnancy or trying to get them pregnant, taking their babies away within 24-48 hours so that humans can consume the milk made to turn baby calves into 700+ pound giants in one year. Go figure.

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Barbara Alsop on 04/13/2018 at 5:12 PM

Re: “Selling the Herd: A Milk Price Crisis Is Devastating Vermont's Dairy Farms

Balderdash Rich... what ag corp do you work for? I'm sure you won't say. The corrupt rural agribusiness lobby?? hahaha that would be most amusing if it were not so pathetic. as if the corrupt corporate agribusiness lobby here in the US isn''t magnitudes more powerful,? Yes, that huge lobby representing small rural farmers in Canada is no doubt giving huge sums to politicians, just like AgriMark and Dean Foods? That is flat out laughable!!
The proof is in the pudding and seeing the number of smaller family farms still viable in Quebec. I was amazed when there last summer at the number of smaller but well kept and viable operations in comparison to what I see everyday in VT. Yes it does raise the price of milk a bit, that's a choice they have made to keep family farms viable, and most reasonable people would think that is a worthwhile trade-off. As Upton Sinclair said "It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

7 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Susan C. Anderson on 04/12/2018 at 7:35 PM

Re: “Selling the Herd: A Milk Price Crisis Is Devastating Vermont's Dairy Farms

Annie Proulx saw this coming and wrote about it in her incredibly bleak but genius novel Postcards. If you haven't read it you should as a Vermonter--it's your story

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Elizabeth Tuttle Dumas on 04/12/2018 at 3:56 PM

Re: “Selling the Herd: A Milk Price Crisis Is Devastating Vermont's Dairy Farms

Susan deliberately leaves out three consequences of Quebec's dairy supply management system .

1) Consumers pay more for all dairy products in Canada .That may be OK with her but it hurts the poor.
2) Canada is always at a disadvantage in international trade agreements because of its desire to maintain supply management for several agricultural products . Other more promising economic segments are abandoned in order to placate the powerful rural agribusiness political lobby .
3) Because of this system , dairy quotas (permits) are ridiculously valuable trading for incredible amounts . Young farmers have no chance of entering the business . This system creates a strong incentive for LARGE dairies to swallow small ones .

I hope people underside the downside of the Canadian system . It is however a huge windfall for existing dairy farms and the politicians who support this corrupt system
I'm sure my comment will get negative votes . The truth will often harm sacred cows . ( Get it ?)

8 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Rich ard on 04/12/2018 at 1:28 PM

Re: “Selling the Herd: A Milk Price Crisis Is Devastating Vermont's Dairy Farms

All you have to do is drive an hour or 2 North into Quebec and motor around to see the answer. Production control there has worked incredibly well, and the result is highly evident in the large number of reasonably scaled dairies that are still viable and even prospering. Canada has made the decision that it's important to preserve family-sized farms, unlike in the US, where corporate ag entities control our legislators and agenda with their lobbiests, money and influence, yet one more example of how money controls politics in this so-called "Democracy" which in reality is a "Corporatocracy". He who has the most gold makes the rules, and the little guy be damned, as always.

15 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Susan C. Anderson on 04/12/2018 at 10:41 AM

Re: “Vermont Hemp Farmers Find Fertile Ground in CBD Crop

How do you get your CBD plant seeds?

Posted by Dane Deceptichronic Kross on 01/19/2018 at 5:35 PM

Re: “Vermont Hemp Farmers Find Fertile Ground in CBD Crop

So if your crop is higher the .3 its says they call the law. Can the law then arrest you for growing marijuana even tho your trying for CBD?

Posted by djwires on 09/19/2017 at 1:13 PM

Re: “Vermont Hemp Farmers Find Fertile Ground in CBD Crop

That will be great! Now if us Vermonters who have to pay ridiculous high prices to get CBD from out of state, hopefully won't have to pay such a high price for it..

Posted by kenatwood52 on 09/19/2017 at 11:09 AM

Re: “Vermont Hemp Farmers Find Fertile Ground in CBD Crop

Yea, CBD and hemp on our farms instead of cows. That is a wonderful idea! Win/win!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by leaterhune on 09/18/2017 at 7:42 PM

Re: “Vermont Hemp Farmers Find Fertile Ground in CBD Crop

I wonder if you could press hemp for oil to use in cars.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jozef Eller on 09/13/2017 at 8:01 PM

Re: “Vermont Hemp Farmers Find Fertile Ground in CBD Crop

Great article, Terri! We are working to save our family farm and with the help, support and guidance of the Vermont Hemp Company, it looks like we may make it by growing industrial hemp.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by cyntheahausman on 09/13/2017 at 1:33 PM

Re: “Vermont Hemp Farmers Find Fertile Ground in CBD Crop

Thank you, Terri!

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by JT Bedard on 09/13/2017 at 10:45 AM

Re: “Fear on the Farm: Trump's Immigration Crackdown Threatens Vermont's Dairy Industry

If you voted for Trump as a Vermont dairy farmer, you truly deserve to lose everything. I'm so exhausted by this, "Oh, I didn't think it was going to affect ME! I thought it would affect everyone ELSE!" mentality. It is self-serving, misguided, and completely inane. The first actions that Trump took were to specifically remove the focus of immigration enforcement away from violent criminals and onto, essentially, all illegals. That means all of your workers are at risk, and if you voted from Trump, you brought it upon yourself. You get precisely nobody's sympathy.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Kendra Jowers on 04/14/2017 at 1:18 PM

Re: “Unlikely Allies Seek to Make Vermont's Milk the Cream of the Industry

What about hooking this in to crowd-funding and carbon offsets markets that already exist? If people understood how powerful this can be, for sequestering carbon in soil and for lake cleanup, as well as the health benefits of pastured dairy products and the tourism value of cows on pasture, not just on the side of Cabot trucks, I think they would want to be part of it. Maybe we could even create a Champlain brand that people could buy with that virtuous feeling of helping their lake and planet. These are different times, post-election, with millions of people looking for ways to make a difference, and I know many who would like to be part of this movement. If we lead, waving dollar bills, big dairy will follow, just the way cows follow a pail of grain.
P.S. I LOVED Steve Judge's Vermont Family Farms milk, and miss it.

Posted by Jessie Haas on 03/03/2017 at 8:41 AM

Re: “Fear on the Farm: Trump's Immigration Crackdown Threatens Vermont's Dairy Industry

I eagerly look forward to reporter Heintz's follow-up report in, say, six months? Prediction: no, none, nil, zero, illegal immigrant dairy employees currently working in Vermont will have been deported by immigration agents (ICE) EXCEPT for those illegal immigrant dairy employees who are convicted of crimes OTHER THAN illegally entering the U.S., e.g., drunk driving, domestic assault, theft, sex crimes, etc. The so-called "new Trump immigration order" is NOT new; it is simply enforcement of U.S. Immigration law as enacted long ago by Congress. This story by Heintz is yet another example of sloppy, needlessly-alarmist reporting, i.e., "fake" news. The TRUE and accurate story is that President Obama, by Executive Order, blocked the ICE agents from enforcing the nation's immigration laws as enacted by Congress. Trump has now undone Obama's possibly unconstitutional action and reinstituted the immigration laws enacted by Congress. Fact: there are not enough ICE agents and/or detention centers and/or immigration judges to "go after" illegal immigrants whose only crime is illegal entry. Bottom line: Vermont's illegal immigrant farm workers will not be deported. Period. That's reality. If Mr. Heintz had done his job diligently and honestly, he would have reported that. I'll wager you'll get no follow-up report from him in 6 months; it would expose Heintz for what he really is: a propagandist.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by wahrheit on 02/26/2017 at 1:13 AM

Re: “Fear on the Farm: Trump's Immigration Crackdown Threatens Vermont's Dairy Industry

People don't realize that it's not that easy for mexican immigrants to come here legally. For one, 90% of asians and Canadians get approved for green cards while 66% of latins get approved. It's discrimination. And if a foreign person wants to come here legally by getting a job in the U.S., a U.S. employer has to sponser them, and show that they could not find a U.S. citizen to work for them already. The immigrant also has to meet other requirements, but you get the idea.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by StandUp on 02/25/2017 at 9:50 AM

Re: “Fear on the Farm: Trump's Immigration Crackdown Threatens Vermont's Dairy Industry

People don't realize it's not that easy for Mexican immigrants to come here legally. For one, 90% of asians and Canadians get approved for green cards, while 66% of latins get approved. It's discrimination. And if a foreign person wants to come here legally by working in the U.S., a U.S. employer needs to sponsor them, and that employer needs to show that they couldn't hire a U.S. citizen first. they also need to meet other requirements.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by StandUp on 02/25/2017 at 9:45 AM

Re: “Unlikely Allies Seek to Make Vermont's Milk the Cream of the Industry

These guys are a little late to the game on this. I started a farmer owned milk company and a brand of fluid milk called Vermont Family Farms back in the 1990s. The State of Vermont and the coops did everything they could to put us out of business because we dared to stand up to the dairy establishment and market a premium, BST free milk produced exclusively by sustainable Vermont dairy farms. Our farmer owners had tough standards for milk quality and land and animal care and they were paid substantially more for their milk. Annual sales of our milk had surpassed $1,000,000 dollars by 2000 when the farmer owners decided to sell the brand of milk which was eventually purchased and driven into the ground by HP Hood.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Steven A Judge on 02/23/2017 at 2:54 PM

Re: “Unlikely Allies Seek to Make Vermont's Milk the Cream of the Industry

The comments Secretary Allbee states as causing a need for change are no different than they have been for decades. His points could have been made more than once in each of the last four decades. Both conventional and organic dairy farmers have their struggles and yet both survive. There are fewer farms as counted by the government but the land being farmed, number of cows milked, etc have changed little if any. Most farms are consolidated. Instead of each family member buying their own farm they are joining together. This has made a huge difference in management styles and vacation opportunities. Having many owner/operators on a single farm can be a struggle but it does allow each to focus on their strengths instead of having to be a jack of all trades. Some owners are better at human resources, some crops and some might be more mechanically inclined. There is not a lack of young people looking to dairy as their future with passion and enthusiasm, my son being one of them.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Margaret Huessy Laggis on 02/23/2017 at 9:33 AM

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