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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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Every English major knows the slagging that comes with announcing your choice of study. Close friends and concerned relatives play it off as a momentary lapse of judgement or quote employment statistics they hastily looked up on their phone.

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“Is he still staring at us?” my girlfriend asked.

I glanced over my shoulder. An old man stood in the glaring sun, nude. His small chest was caved-in and bent forward, his legs spindly and knobby.

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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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