Saturday, December 12, 2009

We Got Milk

Today's Glasgow Daily Times has a great article by Gina Kinslow about the plight of our local milk producers and the idea of creating a local fluid milk processing facility right here. This idea is a perfect example of just what Sustainable Glasgow stands for and promotes!

The situation with one of Barren County's biggest industries is grim. Barren County is the largest dairy producing county in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, yet all of that milk is leaving the county to be processed over one hundred miles away. Someone, be it the processor, the wholesaler, or the grocery store, is making plenty of money on this product of our neighbors here in the county, but it sure is not the producers that are making money right now.

The idea of creating such a processing facility here is very exciting and something we should all get behind. This would be a sustainable facility that would produce jobs that are not likely to leave. The dairy farms which encircle Glasgow are often run by dedicated farm families that have lived here for generations. These farms provide a living for those families and often additional jobs for others. They purchase supplies from local vendors to support their operations and they use local veterinarians to support the health of their herd. All of these local businesses would be enhanced by the creation of a local processing facility, largely controlled by the local community, that would create an outstanding product and assure that more of the money spent on milk is returned to the farm family that produced the raw product. Of course, the facility itself would employ local folks as well. This is the very definition of a sustainable industry and is precisely what Sustainable Glasgow was created to promote.

Now it is time for us all to get behind this concept. We need to dig for incentives for an existing local industry to expand into this operation, or help create the facility from scratch. We need to promote this with the same vigor that we would expend on other industries who show an interest in locating in our community. In fact, we should pursue this idea with even greater determination because the profits it may make would stay in our community.

Yes, we've got milk, and the rest of the region should get a chance to purchase it from our facility!

2 comments:

CathySue said...

Small and large dairies are turning away from processing overhead and cost. Instead they are selling or distributing their milk directly to the consumer.

We've had many BIG dairies downsize and follow the share model, or other direct distribution models.

Only thing, these consumers are looking for milk from cows on pasture, not cows in confinement. There's less risk in milk from healthy cows. There's less cost in anti-biotic free cows as well.

I believe dairy farmers free themselves and their livestock, when they turn away from the "bigger is better" false promise, scale down, get to know their customer.

Raw milk done right is a blessing to the rural community.

Processors won't agree and are fighting raw dairies tooth and hoof. That's ok. Their paradigm is old and they know it.

Its the death rattle of an industry that went far astray from principles of promoting good farming (give the cows sunshine & managed pasture) and promoting fair pricing (give the farmer a price that he can live with).

Cow-herd-or farm shares work well. Visit www.farmtoconsumer.org. We have attorneys and training to help. We've helped over 100 farmers do do this, we can help you!

Suzanne said...

We enjoyed a great, all-inclusive Farmer's Market for the past several years, & each week we picked up a gallon of "Swiss Farms Raw Milk". More expensive, but worth Every cent, and better yet, the money went right to the farmer. He also made cheese curds, small lumps of fresh soft cheese with herbs or flavorings. The cows were well-kept, the farmer better paid, less transport & gas wasted; a Truly sustainable dairy. All we need is a brave dairyman to try it.. the old glass jugs are easy to work with & sterilize, carriers or cardboard end the breakage danger. I'd sure Love to have Raw Milk again every week!