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InFocus: Number of small dairies is declining

Published on 28 June 2012

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Cindy Steel grew up on a smalldairy farm. Now a professionalphotographer, she wanted to capturefor her future children the dairyinglifestyle her dad, Steve Bradshaw ofRupert, Idaho, gave her – one shesays wasn’t always fun but was alwaysfulfilling.

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“I can’t see my dad’s small dairysurviving in the next generations asthe larger dairies take over. While Ican definitely understand this becausebeing a small dairyman is hard work,a part of me is also very sad. A way oflife so pure and simple is slowly dyingoff,” Steel wrote on her blog afterposting the dozens of photos from theshoot.

Since 1993, when the USDAstarted tracking the number ofdairies by their herd size category,dairies with fewer than 100 cowshave declined in number by nearly68 percent. Less than 44,300 of themremain today.

Click here or on the image to see the "In Focus" section from the July 1, 2012 issue, which shows a graph of over time of the number of U.S. dairies with less than 100 cows. PD

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