ADAMS, N.Y. – “Right now, it’s survival.” That is how third generation dairy farmer, Greg Porter, describes the current state of the struggling dairy industry.
Porter owns Porterdale Farms in Adams. The family farm was founded in 1938, but with milk prices dropping since 2009, making ends meet has been a struggle. Other factors, like milk alternatives, are hurting the industry as well, Porter said.
The idea that these are replacements for dairy milk is a misconception, Porter argued.
“People don’t understand the difference in nutrition of dairy milk and almond juice,” Porter said.
Alternatives such as rice or almond milk have the name “milk” in them, but do not have nearly as much protein, or potassium as dairy milk. But that’s not stopping consumers. The Plant Based Food Association says the sale of nut and plant milks grew by 9%, while the sale of dairy milk continues to shrink.
The cost of production has been exceeding the sale of milk, which is a growing issue. Porterdale Farms milks more than two-thousand cows per day, but they still struggle to stat afloat.
Despite the recent struggles, Porter believes in the American farmer. He shared a quote from William Jennings Bryan, an attorney in the late 1800’s.
“Burn down our cities, and leave the farms alone. The cities will pop up again, as if by magic. But take away our farms, and the grass will grow in every street of the cities.”