Collapsing milk prices

Collapsing milk prices

Milk prices are at historic lows in Vermont and are staying there. Many Vermont dairy farms are shutting down. As many as 200 could close this year.

Some family friends run a diary farm in Vermont. We’ve known them for decades. The farm has 48 milking cows, with haying, lumbering, and sugaring. Mostly though, it’s the cows. Three brothers run it, no hired help. They rotate waking up at 4:30 am to milk the cows. There’s a plaque on the barn from the state of Vermont saying they’ve farmed their land for six generations. Their children, mostly grown, aren’t interested in dairying, and the brothers aren’t pushing it on them.

Now with this long, serious collapse in milk prices, dairy farms are closing down. Their dairy operation will probably be one of them, and sooner rather than later. They are hardworking, thrifty New Englanders, so I’ve no doubt they will survive, probably quite well too. But a way of life that has gone on for hundreds of years in Vermont is ending, and ending fast.

A sister who lives in semi-rural Connecticut tells me a nearby farm that has survived for 250 years, is closing.

Sad days for farmers in New England. And for farmers nationwide too,

One wonders why milk prices have collapsed, and why so many farms are closing. If it were just a few, it might be the farm. But it’s lots of farms. That means it’s a social and economic phenomena.