Even Dairy Farming Has a 1 Percent
Here's a great article from Adam Davidson at the New York Times Magazine, on the difficulties the modern dairy farmer faces. It's become a more challenging game as the years progress, which is evident at Fulper Farms in New Jersey, where three generations of farmers need to find new ways to keep the farm in the black:
The Fulpers, like most people, are too busy with their day jobs to truly monitor the markets. But dairy farming has its own 1 percent: that tiny sliver of massive farms, with thousands of cows, that make the biggest profits and are better equipped to pay agriculture-futures experts to help them manage risk. They continue to invest and grow. Unable to keep up with the changes, many smaller farms have gone out of business in the past decade.
Robert Fulper says that he and his brother have done a good job keeping their farm alive and healthy during this chaotic time, just as their father transformed the tiny, Depression-era farm into a solid, modern business. Now “the next generation is going to have to figure some things out,” Robert says, looking at his daughter, Breanna. The good news is that she’s already trying. While at Cornell, Breanna used her family farm as a case study and developed a business plan to profit from their proximity to New York City and northeastern New Jersey. She began a summer camp in which kids spend a week caring for cows, learning about agriculture and running around a huge open space for $425 per week. Now the camp is almost as profitable as a year of milking cows.