Saturday, August 22, 2009

Family-run dairy farms in dire straits

Mellow Monk supports family-based agriculture by importing green tea only from 100% family-owned and -operated artisan tea farms, so it doesn't exactly make our day to read stories like this:

After six generations on the same 400 acres of rolling pastures, lush fields, and forested hillsides tucked up close to the Canadian border in Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom, the Borlands were no longer a farm family. . . . A fit, vigorous 62-year-old, Borland could have kept working. . . . But the dismal prices that dairy farmers are receiving for their milk forced the Borlands to sell. . . . Prices paid to farmers per hundredweight (about 12 gallons) have fallen from nearly $20 a year ago to less than $11 in June. . . . Meanwhile, the price you and I pay for milk in the grocery store has stayed about the same. Someone is clearly pocketing the difference. Perhaps that explains why profits at Dean Foods—the nation’s largest processor and shipper of dairy products, with more than 50 regional brands—have skyrocketed.

It's always the little guy that takes the worst hit in times like these, isn't it.

—Mellow Monk

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