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LaRue County, Kentucky, dairy agriculturalist Gary Rock sits in his bribery parlor, overlooking what is larboard of his 95 cow operation.

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“Three hundred years of history is article that a lot of bodies in our country cannot alike allocution about,” Rock said.

That’s how connected the acreage has been in his family. While the acreage has angry out tobacco, soybeans and added crops over the years, back 1980 dairy has nourished the ancestors in and out of tragedy.

“In 2013, we had an F2 tornado that absolutely destroyed all the accessories actuality except the one we are sitting in, which is the milk parlor itself,” Rock said. If that had been lost, he said, he would not accept rebuilt.

Despite blow his legs, Rock manages the centuries-old ancestors farm.

“I told myself, I’m not activity to force this to happen. If a brick bank occurs, I’m activity to end it.”  

Instead, things confused advanced with advice from his community.

“Before the tornado, we had a bathe barn. It was low, it was not well-ventilated. After the tornado, we put in a backpack barn which alone 90 percent of the bloom problems I had with cattle.”

Rock said the changes concluded up allowance his operation significantly. But aural weeks of the farm’s acknowledgment to assembly addition tragedy hit. Rock absent his legs in a tractor accident. Still, the dairy provided, and this time with added than an income.

“It enabled me to acquisition activity afresh in a profession that I already knew,” he said. “So, that was a active force for me.”

Now, the acreage looks to acclimate its greatest storm yet: a adverse bead in revenue.

“To accord you an illustration, the aforementioned acreage on the aforementioned cardinal of beasts is affairs a $170,000 beneath of artefact in value,” Rock explained. “So, try to appreciate accepting to cut your pay calibration in bisected and see what you’ve got to do to survive.”

This isn’t a Rock ancestors problem, this is a dairy industry problem. Prices accept plummeted in a bazaar abounding with accumulation from adopted producers and above operations binding out baby farmers. The crisis has dairy farmers rethinking the U.S. bazaar arrangement and attractive to added countries as models for a solution.   

In the Ohio Valley the furnishings accept appear swiftly. In February, added than a hundred producers above Kentucky, Ohio and bristles added states abstruse that Dean Foods, a above buyer, would abolish contracts. Addition processor, Prairie Farms, will abutting its aqueous milk processing bulb in west Kentucky in June.

“It looks to me that this will be the aftermost month-and-a-half of bribery that I’ll do,” Rock said. “This is the brick bank I never faced.”

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Milking 2012 – Dairy Farming in Canada – YouTube, Canadian Dairy Farms
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The National Ancestors Acreage Coalition says the boilerplate amount of milk is about 30 percent beneath the amount of production. Things are so bad that dairy producers that do accept affairs address that co-ops are adhering suicide blockage advice with their checks.  

Farm Aid Communication Administrator Jennifer Fahy said the boxy times admonish her of the 1980 acreage crisis, back as abounding as 2,100 farms would abutting in a week.

Rock’s assemblage is amid the baby farms awkward by the dairy crisis.

“We are audition from farmers who are actuality referred by organizations that are usually referrals for us,” she said. “Over the years back the acreage crisis the arrangement of abutment for farmers has been aloof chipped away.”

Fahy explained that they’ve apparent net acreage assets booty a 50 percent bead and dairy is accepting hit the hardest.

“Sometimes the best-case book is allowance a agriculturalist to cross declaring defalcation and accepting out afore it’s alike worse, unfortunately,” Fahy said.

The U.S. accessible bazaar arrangement is blame milk assembly to above farms. In 1987 bisected of all dairy beasts were on farms with 80 or beneath cows, agnate in admeasurement to Gary Rock’s operation. By 2012, that mean assemblage admeasurement was 900 cows.

International barter issues are accumulative problems for the baby farms left. International Dairy Foods Association President Michael Dykes blames Canada for actionable barter laws.

Dykes claimed that some of Canada’s articles are actuality “dumped” at arbitrary prices due to Canada’s arrangement of amount controls, accepted as “Class 7,” implemented aftermost year.

Dykes said this all stems from an added address in butter. Instead of importing to accommodated their added adulate needs, Canada aloft the milk quotas that Canadian farmers can produce.

“They added it about 6 percent, admitting the U.S. is accretion at about one-and-a-half percent per year,” he said.

As Canada upped its allocation for domestically-produced milk to accomplish added butter, it was larboard with an balance accumulation of added products, such as brush milk powders, for which there was lower demand.  

“Now you accept the Canadians advancing in, they are affairs brush milk powders on the arena in Mexico at three-cents-a-pound cheaper than we can from the U.S. to Mexico,” Dykes said.

Dykes said the Canadian activity lowers prices on milk capacity like brush milk powders and encourages barter of calm Canadian dairy in abode of articles they ability acceptation from the U.S.

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“So we are in a bearings area we accept added milk appropriate now than we accept address and that additionally says barter becomes acutely important,” Dykes said.  

He wants Canada to accessible its bazaar to added U.S. dairy. He’d like to see NAFTA adjourned or for the U.S. to acknowledge the Trans Pacific Partnership. That acceding accustomed a baby allotment of U.S. imports into Canada afore President Trump absitively to end it.

In April, 68 associates of Congress beatific a letter to U.S. Barter Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer apropos NAFTA negotiations. The associates of Congress apprenticed an end to Canada’s appraisement affairs and dairy tariffs, which appoint a assignment of about 300 percent.

But the appearance from Canada is different. Dairy Farms of Ontario CEO Graham Lloyd said Canada’s appraisement schemes are targeted at the calm market.

“The abhorrence or apropos that the U.S. assume to accept with Class 7 is that we are activity to be aggressive in the apple market,” Lloyd said. “But what needs to be accepted is we absolutely don’t affair milk assembly for consign purposes.”

Beyond aloof arresting the Canadian system, Lloyd recommends that the U.S. should accord it a try.

“From a Canadian angle there is additionally a lot of accord for U.S. farmers,” he said. Lloyd said Canadian farmers already had the aforementioned struggles U.S. dairy farmers face now, afore the country confused to its quota-based system.

“Farmers didn’t apperceive area their markets were, they were accepting absolute deals with processors,” he said. “Milk was accepting dumped, there were no assembly controls and farmers were activity broke because they had no authoritativeness of any market.”

Lloyd said that was all anchored by a accumulation administration system based on three tiers: assembly control, pricing, and acceptation control. Now, prices are connected and abiding acceptance processors greater predictability, admitting at lower margins.

“That allows for greater planning for them and that’s area you can advance college returns,” Lloyd said.

A tornado absolved alone this bribery parlor on Rock’s farm.

The abstraction has address amid some acreage advocates in the U.S. who altercate that battling the Canadians holds added affiance that blaming them.

“Dismantling a arrangement that is alive in Canada so that they are added accessible to absorb up our balance artefact … would not fix what is amiss here,” said Patty Lovera, activity administrator for the left-leaning advancement accumulation Food & Water Watch, which has formed to assure abate farms.

Food & Water Watch warns that the baby to midsize operations are actuality “squeezed out by the alliance of automated mega-dairies that now boss milk production.”

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Milk from the Arctic – Dairy Farming in Canada – YouTube, Canadian Dairy Farms
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Lovera cautioned adjoin a “race to the bottom” aftereffect if the U.S. artlessly insists that Canada annihilate its own amount and assembly controls.

“It would booty added farmers who are accomplishing able-bodied bottomward to area farmers are here,” she said. “Which is what we get a lot of in our barter negotiations.”  

In April,  the aforementioned ages that some assembly were advancement a “get tough” access to barter talks with Canada, a accumulation of baby acreage advocates beatific a letter of their own to Congressional leaders and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. In it, the National Ancestors Acreage Coalition, forth with added than 50 ancestors farm, activity and customer organizations apprenticed actual activity on the dairy crisis by adopting a arrangement like Canada’s.

The groups said the best changes could appear by implementing proposals appropriate in the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2011, alien by Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey.

Wisconsin amoebic dairy agriculturalist Jim Goodman active the National Ancestors Acreage Coalition. He said a accumulation administration arrangement has formed for Canada for added than 50 years and it will assignment in the U.S.

“Because the government doesn’t run it,” Goodman said. “They don’t accept to be afraid about accouterment subsidies for producers back prices get low because of all we’re supplied because that doesn’t happen.”

University of Wisconsin Administrator of Dairy Activity Analysis Mark Stephenson argues that there are lots of farmers who account from the accepted U.S. dairy system.

“We’ve had a cardinal of bodies that, I think, would say the industry has done actual well,” he said. “The affirmation of that is that we’re bearing added milk than anytime before. We’re affairs it at actual reasonable prices to consumers both domestically and abroad.”

Those who tend to say the industry is accomplishing able-bodied about accept abundant above farms. At one time, Stephenson said, the U.S. had 6 actor dairy farms. Today, there are beneath than 40,000.

“We’ve had a lot of altercation about how big should farms be, what appropriate do they accept to become a assertive size,” Stephenson said.

“I’ve additionally heard a cardinal of times that ‘bigger is better,’ and I don’t accept that at all,” he said. “What I anticipate we see is that bigger is better. And if you are a bigger cow administrator and a bigger bodies administrator and a bigger banking manager, again you accept bigger banking outcomes.”

According to the USDA amount is a active force abaft structural change. The better farms acquire essentially college net allotment and they accept able incentives to expand.

Gary Rock attractive out on his LaRue County, KY, dairy farm.

National Ancestors Acreage Coalition advocates altercate that Congress has a assignment to assure ancestors farms, and they point to law that states the “clear Congressional abutment for the connected actuality of ancestors farmers, including dairy operations.”

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Feeling Good – Dairy Farming in Canada – 2017 – YouTube, Canadian Dairy Farms
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Back in LaRue County, Gary Rock said he brand Canada’s arrangement but he doesn’t apperceive if the blow of America would feel the same.

“You accept to apprehend that our choices are actual abbreviate at this point,” he said, abacus that the aftereffect would accept furnishings far above farms like his. “What baby dairymen are facing, it’s what we already knew as rural America,” Rock said, “trying to survive in an industry that is always cogent you, you accept to become above to survive.”

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