The Political Economy of Milk
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Vermonters have been told for decades that their dairy farms are in trouble, but most have no idea why the situation is dire, how the farmers got to this point or what can and should be done to fix it.
The farm problem is traced back to the days of Calvin Coolidge, taking the reader through the administrations of Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, whose secretary of agriculture Earl Butz famously advised farmers in 1972 to “get big or get out.” Why did the government encourage consolidation? Why does the government, even though it tries perennially, have no incentive to help farmers? The picture that emerges isn’t pretty: government has not treated our farmers as partners but as a troublesome constituency to be exploited, manipulated and relocated.
Through exploration and analysis, this book details the causes behind, and ultimately offers a solution to, the farm problem as it affects Vermont Family Dairy Farms.