Even though I grew up in Missouri, my first introduction to agriculture did not occur until my college days in Northfield, Minnesota, in the early 1980s. Depending on which way the wind blew, my college (Carleton) was filled either with the toasted grain aroma from the Malt-o-Meal factory or the smell of the surrounding dairy farms. Sadly, the dairy farms began to lose out in more than just the scent in the air. I remember clearly my sophomore year when a big stoic man stood up at church and, with tears in his eyes, told us that the last of his dairy cows were sold in an attempt to pay off farm creditors. Thus began my awareness of corporate farming, agricultural and trade policy and their devastating impact on families and communities.
The situation for dairy farmers across the United States has not improved since then. According to the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), fewer than 60,000 dairy farmers remain in the United States, and they face tremendous challenges. In response, the NFFC and Farm Aid hosted an emergency rally in Iowa yesterday, calling for urgent changes to address the dairy crisis. You can read the NFFC’s statement by clicking here. Grassroots International and the NFFC continue to work together for food sovereignty.