Know Your Milk #2: Why Local Milk Matters
Our Case for Sustainable and Ethical Milk Sourcing
The commercial dairy industry is just plain messed up! We like to refer to it as the dairy-lict industry. ? How does it make any sense to have milk from cows in Pennsylvania shipped off to a processing facility in Ohio and end up in a grocery store in Wisconsin while milk from cows in Wisconsin might end up in a grocery store in Pennsylvania?
Spoiler alert! It doesn’t make sense. Well, I guess it does if you’re the middle man making all the rules and raking in the big bucks.
Yup, there’s a lot wrong in the dairy-lict industry. As lifelong dairy farmers we’ve definitely had a front-seat view of these problems. We’ve lived the struggle of the farmer to survive and thrive in an industry that is bent on prioritizing the big guy over the little guy, mass production over quality production, and efficiency over accountability.
But why spend energy on complaining when you can do something about it!?
That’s why we started The Reedsville Creamery, where we pump milk directly from the milking parlor into the creamery, process it and sell it directly to consumers or local grocery stores, cutting out the greedy middle man and the inefficient logistics that plague the dairy industry.
We’re passionate about the value of local milk. Here’s 4 reasons why you should be passionate about it too. ?
4 Reasons Why Local Milk Matters
Local Milk Prioritizes the Farmer
Since 2003 the dairy industry has lost over half of its dairy farmers in the United States (source). That doesn’t mean milk production has gone down. It just means that milk production has moved to the big mass-production farms with questionable farming ethics. It has become more and more difficult for the small hometown dairy farmer to survive in an industry that has catered toward the big guys.
Local milk fixes this issue. Because we are able to cut out the middle guy and all the transportation, we are able to pay the farmer (my dad) an average of 35%-40% higher for his milk than he can get by selling his milk to the big milk companies. This makes dairy farming much more sustainable.
And in case you wonder why that should matter to you. Well, for one, local farmers are a critical part of the framework for healthy community. The presence of local farmers ensures that the farmland doesn’t get bought up by investors and turned into housing developments. Local farmers help keep the money that is generated by the land anchored to the local area. This makes for a much healthier local economy and a more sustainable community.
We’re convinced that when the small local farmers are thriving the rest of the community will be thriving also.
Local Milk Provides Local Accountability
Accountability is a good thing…even in food production. When local people purchase milk from a local farmer there is an inherent greater pressure on that farmer to produce good quality milk, treat his farm and his animals well, etc… Community reputation becomes tied to business success and that is the way communities should be. As a local milk supplier, we realize that you could show up on the farm at anytime and we welcome that level of accountability and relationship.
Local Milk is Sustainable and Stable
The unstable and vulnerable nature of the dairy industry was highlighted in graphic ways during the early stages of COVID-19. Due to the supply chain getting frazzled, farmers all across America were forced to dump their milk. Millions of gallons of milk were being dumped onto fields and into swamps while grocery store shelves were running empty.
As a local creamery, we didn’t have that problem. Local milk sales thrived during the pandemic and highlighted again the stability and sustainability of local supply chains. When you support local farmers and local supply chains you are contributing to a more stable and sustainable economy.
Local Milk Just Tastes Better
Local tastes better! Sure, maybe it’s just psychological, but why does that matter. ? There’s something about local milk that we’re convinced tastes better.
Maybe it’s the freshness.
Maybe it’s the connection to an actual farm.
Maybe it’s the quality control of a small business.
Whatever the case. Local tastes good. Do you agree?