Daily Archives: June 7, 2009

Nine months — 500 posts, 92,999 hits

Yesterday was another milestone for the Bovine with 500 posts and nearly 93,000 hits over our first nine months. Thanks to all the many contributors, news sources and readers who’ve helped make the Bovine such a success. Let’s all raise a glass of raw milk together, in a toast to a bright future of food-choice freedom! 

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An ideal candidate to begin selling raw milk direct to consumers: He had built up debt converting to organic. And now demand is shrinking, prices are falling, and he’s caught in a financial crunch.

Further to the theme (from yesterday’s post below) of conversion to raw milk being a solution to the challenges facing the dairy industry, here’s an excellent example of a farmer for whom the current system is suddenly not working. One wonders how many other farmers are in a similar situation. But in this case, the fact that he’s converted to organic could be his saving grace. Because of course raw milk buyers would at least strongly prefer, or perhaps only want, milk from organically-fed cows. Here’s an excerpt from the NY Times story by Katie Zezima:

Were in big trouble, said Craig Russell, an organic dairy farmer in Brookfield, Vt., who owes $500,000, mostly from converting his farm to organic in 2006. Photo: Caleb Kenna for the NY Times.

"We're in big trouble," said Craig Russell, an organic dairy farmer in Brookfield, Vt., who owes $500,000, mostly from converting his farm to organic in 2006. Photo: Caleb Kenna for NY Times.

“RANDOLPH CENTER, Vt. — When Ken Preston went organic on his dairy farm here in 2005, he figured that doing so would guarantee him what had long been elusive: a stable, high price for the milk from his cows.

Sure enough, his income soared 20 percent, and he could finally afford a Chevy Silverado pickup to help out. The dairy conglomerate that distributed his milk wanted everything Mr. Preston could supply. Supermarket orders were skyrocketing.

But soon the price of organic feed shot up. Then the recession hit, and families looking to save on groceries found organic milk easy to do without. Ultimately the conglomerate, with a glut of product, said it would not renew his contract next month, leaving him with nowhere to sell his milk, a victim of trends that are crippling many organic dairy farmers from coast to coast. Continue reading

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