dairy farmers

A great recent piece in the New York Times speaks to just a few of the ever-mounting challenges facing America’s dairy farms. As they are exposed to the inherent fluctuations in milk and feed markets, it’s become exceedingly challenging to predict profit margins with any reasonable amount of accuracy. That leaves many dairy farmers at best among the working poor, if not completely out of business. Fulper Farms, a New Jersey dairy farm examined in the piece, illustrates how value-added products and new business models are becoming more than nice to have. Making artisan cheese, for instance, isn’t just a way to build the farm’s brand; it could be the key to its very survival. And starting a...
Farm workers tired of being blamed for taking American jobs have countered with the tongue-in-cheek campaign titled "Take our Jobs." Organized by the United Farm Workers of America, the campaign calls the bluff of the many Americans who claim undocumented workers and immigrants are taking American jobs by asserting that most unemployed American citizens find farm work too labor intensive for the compensation received. The Associated Press reports three out of four farm workers were born abroad and more than half are illegal immigrants. The “Take our Jobs” initiative “spotlights the immigrant labor issue and underscores the need for reforms without which the domestic agricultural industry...
Plant experts are warning growers to take steps against late blight, the plant disease that can rapidly kill tomato and potato crops and potentially cost farmers millions of dollars in lost produce, pesticides and extra labor. Last year, the unusually early outbreak of the disease affected crops from Florida to New England and spread as far west as North Dakota.  The Associated Press reports that another outbreak is likely this year, and some gardens have already been affected in Florida and Louisiana.  Weather experts in Vermont predict a wet summer, which will provide favorable conditions for blight, which thrives in a cool, damp environment. Late blight is caused by a fungus-like...