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Ryan Dennis

Ryan Dennis is the son of a New York dairy farmer and a literary writer whose early essays were originally published in Progressive Dairyman.

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For the last three years, the word “Brexit” has dominated international headlines. Most Americans know that it deals with the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU) but, beyond that, the details get hazy.

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Four burned-out vehicles. Three men hospitalized. Bats and axe handles lying in the mud. A dead dog.

The aftermath looked apocalyptic at Anthony McGann’s farm in rural Ireland. Or the stuff of old westerns.

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India, a country in which 70 percent of people are involved in agriculture one way or another, has experienced an epidemic of farmer suicides in recent decades. The phenomenon is attributed to the difficulties of the occupation, which can range from monsoon failure to crop problems to money-lending vultures.

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Recently, I went back home and walked through the barn. The freestalls have held beef cattle in them since my parents quit dairy farming several years ago.

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It’s the worst part of being a foreigner in Ireland: immigration registration.

The office opens at 7:30 a.m. Because there are only two officials who work the Galway office, to be seen that day – most of us have requested the day off of work or arranged babysitters – one has to stand outside the office doors at 5:30 in the morning in a country that is always cold and raining.

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I don’t know what put the idea in my head, but I assume it was one of my father’s stories about making maple syrup as a teenager. Or maybe it was simply that it allowed him to buy a nice car in his teens.

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