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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 Dairy.

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Here’s a quick quiz: What are the top three countries for milk production by volume?

If you took a second to account for population and recalled a Milk House column from eight years ago about this country’s efforts to revitalize its dairy industry, you might have been able to put India at No. 1.

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It’s often joked that the best attribute of a good farmer is a short memory. And, of course, there’s truth to such a statement, as the challenges inherent to the act of farming can be frequent and plenty – something gets out, something else breaks, something unexpectedly needs to be paid for.

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Last week (at the time of this writing), I gave an interview for an Irish farming website. They titled it “Can We Save the Family Farm?” Naturally, they meant in an Irish context.

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The last year-and-a-half, I’ve gotten into the habit of starting emails in the same way, which is usually something like: “How’s life treating you, considering the end of the world? Hope you and yours are safe.”

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My partner and I spent the first few months of the pandemic at my family’s farm in upstate New York. As far as places to wait out the apocalypse, it served us well.

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Like the other 60 million viewers who watched the Netflix series Narcos, I was both elated and a little conflicted when the program reached the re-enactment of Pablo Escobar’s death.

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