Yesterday, my news feed was inundated with stories of major milk producers in trouble – Dairy Pure, Organic farms butter, Friendly’s Ice Cream, Dean’s Foods to name a few. Some of the largest dairy businesses, claiming losses, maybe going away from the dairy cow business. The fault, they claim is America’s love affair with the non-milk “milks” – Soy, Nut,Pea Protein, Hemp, Rice, etc
Happy Cows in California are getting pink slips!
While some may be happy to see the end of the era – cows’ milk consumption as an industry. It won’t go away entirely – the almighty cheese industry needs it. Non Dairy cheese is getting better, but it just isn’t there yet.
My question is – What are we replacing the Dairy Cow with?
They say one average dairy milking cow will drink on average 30-50 gallons of water per day and when they are stressed out – that number doubles. ( https://www.dairyherd.com/article/drinking-water-dairy-cattle-part-1 )
So, we may be saving some water with a reduction of the Dairy Cow workforce.
What about the alternatives – Are they really better?
Rice Milk will actually use many times more water than the average Dairy Cow – https://www.iflscience.com/environment/rice-and-wheat-production-use-more-water-than-all-other-crops-put-together/
Rice and Soy also produce a lot of greenhouse gasses, as does the dairy cow.
A story in 2012 from NPR shows that rice farmers used 3 times as much water as the city of Austin – and the article shows some other startling facts about our most critical resource – https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/04/16/rice-farmers-used-more-than-three-times-as-much-water-as-austin-last-year/
There are lots of questions to follow up on here – I doubt the dairy cow will go away completely, but we are seeing some serious upheavals in the industry now. 40%+ of people are choosing alternatives to dairy and bringing competition to the market – a better cow, if you will.