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Dirty Dairy

The industrial meat industry has been hogging the food-related news cycle lately. The COVID-19 outbreaks at meatpacking plants. The slaughterhouse shut-downs. The “depopulating” of farm animals. Meat shortages and rising meat prices. 

And then there’s the corresponding good news: Consumers buying more organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised meat products from local farmers and CSAs—even online sales of these products are surging.

So far, the industrial factory farm dairy industry hasn’t seen nearly as much news coverage. But under the mainstream media radar, two organizations recently shone a spotlight on dairy producers.

The Institute for Ag and Trade Policy (IATP) issued a report on the role of industrial dairy in global warming. The report, “Milking the Planet: How Big Dairy Is Heating Up the Planet and Hollowing Rural Communities,” calls for “redirecting public funds away from industrial agriculture, regulating the public health, environmental and social impacts of this extractive model of production and designing incentives to regenerate rural communities through agroecology.

The Cornucopia Institute also focused attention this week on the dairy industry, with the launch of a new dairy campaign that the organization says will “empower consumers and wholesale buyers to support hard-working farmers who are in danger of being washed off the land by a tidal wave of surplus organic milk, stemming from the rise of factory farms certified under the USDA organic label.”

The two reports are a good reminder of how consumers, by supporting local organic regenerative dairy farmers, can help influence the market—and ultimately, policy.

Read ‘Dirty Dairy’ Gets Its Due: Two Organizations Shine a Light on the Downsides of Industrial Dairy'