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The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics
Vol. 22, 2015, Pages: 233-255

Amish Dedication to Farming and Adoption of Organic Dairy Systems

Caroline Brock, Bradford Barham

Rural Sociology, University of Missouri, Gentry Hall #230, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA.


Amish dairy producers have a solid and growing presence on the farm landscape, and account for over 1/8 of all U.S. dairy farms (Cross 2007). In recent decades, many Amish who have a desire to farm as a way to maintain religious and family values have emigrated from eastern urbanizing rural areas to states, such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri, where non-Amish smaller-scale family farmers are leaving farming (Hostetler 1993; Cross 2004, 2007). Amish farmers are estimated to account for about 10 % of the more than 12,000 dairy farms in Wisconsin, ‘America’s Dairyland’ (Cross 2007), and they frequently use barns that would otherwise be abandoned or torn down (Cross 2004). In fact, Wisconsin now has the second largest concentration of Amish church settlements in the U.S. (Luthy 2003). There are similar dense pockets of Amish dairy farms in other states that historically have had large numbers of small dairy herds (e.g. Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Kentucky) (Cross 2007).


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