“The Farmer’s Pride” for March 15 features a heartbreaking story by Carilynn Coombs about the “termination” by Dean Foods of its “milk procurement contract” with her family — along with more than a hundred other dairy farmers in Kentucky.
In that issue several articles deal with this subject, all pointing to calamity for families whose lives as farmers and whose farms are at stake. For its mistreatment of its until-now faithful suppliers, Dean Foods passes the responsibility to Walmart, which has built its own milk-bottling plant and, as usual, is competing against everybody.
The problem is a surplus of milk. Sharon Burton’s editorial, also in “The Farmer’s Pride” of March 15, and on the same subject, contains a penetrating insight: “I’m not talking about dairy farmers…I’m talking about rural America.” She is right. The story of Dean Foods’ cancelled contracts is a representative piece of the story of rural America since the 1950s, when Eisenhower’s Secretary of Agriculture told farmers to “get big or get out.”
Read all of "Dairy Farmers Need Solutions" by Wendell Berry at Edible Louisville.