The delights of dairy

The North Dakota family farm on which I grew up didn’t include dairy cows. Thank goodness. Beef cows and small grains, which we did have, held some appeal. Dairy cows had none, at least to me. We had neighbors with milk cows, and I saw how hard they worked and the 24-7 commitment that dairy required.

But the dairy industry holds considerable appeal to me as an journalist. Dairy includes so many of the issues and topics — economics, lifestyle and technology, among other things — that make agriculture in general interesting to me.

One of the stories I’m working on this week involves South Dakota’s expanding dairy industries and efforts in Minnesota and North Dakota to revitalize their dairy industries. Dairy officials are optimistic that technology, including robotic milkers, will make dairy more attractive to small and mid-sized operators.

I’m not smart enough to predict dairy’s future in the Upper Midwest. But I’m pretty sure that it will be an interesting one.

You can read the story in the Aug. 25 print version of Agweek.

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