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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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While in college, someone gave me a computer game called “Civilization.” In the game, the player is leader of a major society that existed at some point in human history. You build up and improve your nation, battling other world powers doing the same.

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Full confession: I have to write the Christmas column for “The Milk House” in October. It is well before the Christmas decorations or snow on the ground, and I’m often in another country. I beat Wal-Mart, the radio and TV ads to the holidays by five or six weeks.

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The Vikings, besides being fierce raiders and conquerors, knew how to settle a land.

In addition to the livestock they brought – sheep, horses and cattle that have now evolved to unique breeds only found on the island – they are believed to have kidnapped the best-looking women they could find in Ireland and Scotland, taking them to the new land as brides.

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As dairy farmers, we’re at the beginning of the food-production system. It’s our raw product that gets packaged by the manufacturers and shipped to the retailers before ending up in the hands of the consumer.

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When the parts of the whole are added together, it’s not surprising that I grew up listening to country music. I lived in the most rural county in New York state, it dominated the local radio stations, and it seemed like the logical fit for someone on a farm.

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In the last several decades, climate change has gone from an abstract theory to something farmers all over the world now feel the effects of.The characteristics of production are changing in accordance to latitude, and in general, agriculture is getting harder as the weather becomes more volatile and swings between extremes.

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