Community Advantages of Family-Sized Dairies

Any policy proposal to promote family-sized dairies must address the question of “Why?” The review of academic literature presented here comes back with this answer: “For several reasons, family-sized dairies provide special benefits for rural communities.”

One of those reasons requires little explanation or research; dispersing animals over many farms in a broad area is safer than concentrating them all in one area. A senior dairy economist with CoBank put it this way: “The largest risk with a densely concentrated milk supply is disease or natural disaster. A disease outbreak or natural disaster could quickly impact a much larger share of dairy production when it is concentrated in fewer farms.”