Dairy is big business. And while the workers and small-scale dairy farmers are getting squeezed out, those at the top are reaping the benefits and getting even richer. Farmers originally organized cooperatives to build power and market share. But one of those cooperatives, Dairy Farmers of America, has gotten so big and powerful, there are questions about whose interests they are serving.
In this episode, we unpack the growing corporate consolidation in the dairy industry and rise of farmer cooperative Dairy Farmers of America. Claire Kelloway of Open Markets Institute breaks down what the push to“get big or get out” means for farmers, workers, and consumers--and some ways to challenge that growing corporate power.
Topics covered include:
Do you work on a farm participating in the “Fair Trade Dairy” program? We want to hear your perspective. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 631-9980.
Claire Kelloway’s reporting on cafeteria contractors and how that system is rigged in favor of big food companies: https://www.foodandpower.net/latest/2020/05/20/report-exposes-system-of-big-food-kickbacks-to-cafeteria-contractors-cutting-out-local-producers.
Article by Leah Douglas covering Dairy Farmers of America: https://thecounter.org/how-rural-america-got-milked/
Learn more about the potential of cooperatives as a tool for farmers to transform their livelihoods and build alternative economic structures from Andres Gonzales of Manduvira Cooperative in Season One of For a Better World: https://fairworldproject.org/podcast/season-1/episode-2/.
More of Claire Kelloway’s writing on Dairy Farmers of America: https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/09/14/milking-profits-the-dairy-monopolies-that-are-hurting-farmers/
Claire Kelloway and Open Markets Institute piece on how anti-monopoly and anti-trust rules can support worker organizing and a more democratic economy: https://lpeproject.org/blog/antimonopoly-is-about-democratizing-the-food-system-and-the-rest-of-the-economy/
Open Markets Institute report on “Redeeming the Democratic Promise of Agricultural Cooperatives” https://www.openmarketsinstitute.org/publications/redeeming-the-democratic-promise-of-agricultural-cooperatives