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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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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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I recently signed up for LinkedIn, which automatically sends a connection request to all the LinkedIn members in your email account. As a result, I got responses from a handful of people I hadn’t talked to in years.

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I was living in Ireland in 2009 when the latest world dairy crisis hit. Farmers there – many of them small – suddenly had to figure out how to find extra income to remain solvent. I would be swept up in the same spirit of necessary venture capitalism.

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If there’s one thing found on a farm regardless of all else, it’s barn cats. They roam everywhere, living detached lives in dusty rafters and bedded stalls. The barn cat is a strong animal because he has to be.

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It would be inaccurate to not mention the first thing I noticed about him: He was wearing purple pants. I marked this down as yet another difference.

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I find it especially annoying when someone tells me to consider myself lucky and then names a far-away country they know little about. (While I hope, growing up, I had sufficient empathy for the children of Mozambique, I was able to realize that whether or not I finished my vegetables was disconnected from their fate).

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