What are the problems today for dairy farmers?

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  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Their product is cruel and extremely bad for the environment. The use of large ruminants for meat and dairy is the most unsustainable way to produce these products since they are (I think) the largest domestic animals commonly used for these purposes. This is bad because they have much higher energy requirements than smaller animals, meaning they need more food, more space, more water and they create more waste. It takes an average of 1000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk ( http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/productg... ). Most significantly, ruminants release around than 6.8 million tonnes of methane every year fas part of their digestive processes. Methane more than 20 times more potent than CO2 when it comes to climate forcing.

    LELIEVELD et al. (1998). Changing concentration, lifetime and climate forcing of atmospheric methane. Tellus B Volume 50, Issue 2, pages 128–150.

    Shindell et al., (2005). An emissions-based view of climate forcing by methane and tropospheric ozone. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32 L04803

    Moss et al., (2000). Methane production by ruminants: its contribution to global warming. Ann. Zootech. 49, 231-253.

    Another significant problem is the effect on waterways. Many farmers are finally taking responsibility for this and fencing off streams to prevent cattle from grazing on streambanks but most of them don't care. The problem here is that cattle are attracted to streams during warm weather, they trample the plants on the banks and pollute the water with faeces and urea and can denude banks of vegetation. Their influence is so extreme it can cause most of the pants on the banks to die off and this reduces shading over the stream, which has flow on effects to the entire stream ecosystem. So farmers have a big problem in maintaining fences to prevent their cattle from accessing their streams if they want to be responsible producers.

    Belsky, A.J.; Matzke, A., Uselman,S. (1999). Survey of livestock influences on stream and riparian ecosystems in the western United States. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 54: 419-431.

    Davis, S.; Golladay, S.W.; Vellidis, G. and Pringle, C.M (2003). Macroinvertebrate biomonitoring in intermittent coastal plain streams impacted by animal agriculture. Journal of Environmental Quality 32:1036-1043.

    Kauffman, J. B.; Krueger, W.C. and Vavra, M. (1983). Impacts of cattle on streambanks in north-eastern Oregon. Journal of range management 36: 683-685.

    Kauffman, J. B. And Krueger, W.C (1984). Livestock impacts on riparian ecosystems and streamside management implications. Journal of Range Management 37:430-438.

    Muenz, T. K.; Golladay, S. W.; Vellidis, G., and Smith, L.L. (2006). Stream Buffer Effectiveness in an Agriculturally Influenced Area, Southwestern Georgia: Responses of Water Quality, Macroinvertebrates, and Amphibians. J. Environ. Qual. 35:1924–1938.

    So their product is unsustainable, even the United Nations Environment Program is recommending that we reduce the amount of global dairy (and meat) production.

    "Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which hosts the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, said: "Decoupling growth from environmental degradation is the number one challenge facing governments in a world of rising numbers of people, rising incomes, rising consumption demands and the persistent challenge of poverty alleviation-thus setting priorities would seem prudent and sensible in order to fast track a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy."

    "The Panel have reviewed all the available science and conclude that two broad areas are currently having a disproportionately high impact on people and the planet's life support systems-these are energy in the form of fossil fuels and agriculture, especially the raising of livestock for meat and dairy products," he said"

    http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default...

    So dairy farmers don't have to worry too much about vegan propoganda when the science is so clearly against them. Hence dairy industries in developed countries are funding biased research to try and trick people into thinking their product can be managed sustainably. But there is no chance this will happen without significantly reducing the number of cattle on the ground which means reducing the amount of dairy consumed by humans.

    Source(s): vegan biologist
  • exsft
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    The same as it has always been: producing enough milk to meet the demand and dealing with people who don't know a damn thing about the dairy industry but have the gall to criticize it because that's what a 30 minute video on the Internet or a single propaganda site told them to do.

    As with any industry, dairy farmers have to keep up with the times and some of them are finding it hard to comply with the newer and stricter regulations whether they actually make sense or not, whether they are actually good in the long term or not. It is ironic that in this day and age of rapid modernization, old "traditional" practices are fast becoming the preferred way than the efficient (but often heartless) modern methods. I must admit, I am one of those who feel that the food production industry, including dairy needs to reexamine the overall situation before again deciding to move "forward".

    @Spidey - the impact of vegans on the dairy industry is so obvious that I am surprised you did not see it. Vegans, especially vegan activists have been protesting the industry for years. Numerous websites and videos has in fact been put up for the sole purpose of disparaging dairy products as a viable food source. On the consumption of dairy, sure vegans have no impact. But vegan movement/ activists are not targeting other vegans, they are targeting potential and current dairy consumers. Analogy- I do not use illegal drugs and by discouraging current and potential users not to indulge/use them, I am impacting the illegal drug industry more than if I just refuse to partake in their products.

    As for C.G's answer, I think I was being very clear when I said that "I am one of those who feel that the food production industry, including dairy needs to reexamine the overall situation before again deciding to move "forward"." However, this time I am not surprised that probably did not bother reading the answer as whole and in context, choosing instead to focus on a perceived point of contention in order to put forward your own biases. The usual suspects behaving as usual indeed.

    Source(s): Organic and non organic farmer.
  • 9 years ago

    Vegans and animal rights activist like to exploit the farmers and make it out like they do not care about their animals. This has caused many farmers to go out out of business.

    Small organic farmers are having trouble competing with the much larger dairy farms.

    As always, but in many ways more so today their is a concern over diseases such as mastitis. These problems can wipe out a entire herd and shut the farm down. They are caused by not following proper sanitation and biosecurity.

    Many people are suffering from inbreeding problems. Holsteins are the leading dairy cow breed an they are constantly being bred for higher and higher milk yields. Breeding only for production rates and not for health and diseases resistance is causes in the cows to be shorter lived and have many more health problems than the traditional small farm breeds do. A handful of bulls who's daughters and mothers produced the most milk are bred with most of the dairy cows by artificial insemination. This results in inbreeding problems because of lack of diversity in the cows today.

    I would advise you to ask this question under the agriculture section. Here, you are only going to get answers from vegans who think they know everything about the dairy industry because they watch their silly factory farming videos.

  • 9 years ago

    The usual suspects, instead of answering the question, use their answers as another chance to have an ill-informed and ill-considered rant against vegans. Thanks for confirming my opinion of you, guys.

    The truth is that dairy farmers probably never even think about vegans, because they have virtually no impact on them. If you used your brains, you'd know why that is. What percentage of the population of any given area is made up of vegans? Probably less than 1%, even in the US, Canada, Britain, Europe, Australia and NZ (much much less in other parts of the world). There are a lot more lactose-intolerant people in these countries than there are vegans. And dairy farmers wouldn't even be losing sleep over those either. The vast majority of people (in the aforementioned countries) consume dairy products. Guaranteed income and guaranteed livelihood for dairy farmers.

    A genuine problem for dairy farmers in Australia (which is sure to be echoed in other parts of the world) is the price paid to dairy farmers for their milk by major supermarket chains. One chain has recently dramatically lowered the price of its own brand of milk. How do you think they can do that? Are they going to lower their own profit margin? Or are they just going to pay dairy farmers less? Correct! The second option. And because the farmers have to sell the milk, they have to accept less money for it.

    Another problem is competing with cheaper imports from overseas.

    Yet another is the effects of climate change (which, as GC points out, they are ironically a major contributer to) - in the form of droughts, floods and other weather-related natural disasters.

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  • Daisy
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Oh, I don't think dairymen lie awake worrying about veg*ns. In fact, I had to laugh at the idea.

    They have much bigger problems with the price of dairy cows, cattle feed, milk prices, their health care costs, and paying for their kid's college.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    The main problem for dairy farmers is vegan propaganda videos. These videos show the worst of the worst and depict dairy farmers and farms in a bad way. And then gullible vegan extremists believe these videos are what really goes on at farms without ever having set foot on a farm. I have worked on a dairy and been to Many more. Dairy farms are not whats depicted in those videos. There are videos of police abusing prisoners, does that mean all police abuse prisoners? Of course not. There are videos of parents abusing their children, does that mean all parents abuse children? Of course not.

    Source(s): 1st hand experience, common sense
  • 9 years ago

    They force cows to continually produce calves so we can steal their milk.

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