Letter from Europe: Small is still beautiful for some family dairy farms

In Alpine areas, milking herds remain small and still offer a good living for farming families


The end of political control for on-farm milk production in Europe looms ahead with the so-called quota regulation planned to stop in 2015. The response of farmers from Sweden to Spain is already clear: “If there’s no control, let’s expand.”

This strategy for reducing production costs has already brought farm milk prices crashing down throughout the European Union (EU). But the accepted wisdom still seems to be: Expand for survival and, if you can’t grow, get out.

Better Farming - May 2009