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The Boucher family at their booth at the Burlington farmers market.
The Boucher family at their booth at the Burlington farmers market.

Dairy farmers branch out

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Yesterday, we heard from sociologist Douglas Harper, who wrote a book about North Country dairy farmers called "Changing Works: Visions of a Lost Agriculture". The title refers to the rural practice of neighbors pooling their labor to get big projects done, like harvesting or barn-raising. Harper will speak tomorrow night at SUNY Potsdam. In the North Country and nationwide, "changing works" has mostly ceded to big tractors and computerized milk parlors as dairy farms have ballooned in size. But Dan Boucher of Highgate, Vermont hasn't given the practice up. Boucher represents a still small, but growing group: dairy farmers who are resisting the "get big or get out" trend. Instead, they're getting smaller, investing in new products, and relying less on the price of milk. David Sommerstein has this profile.

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David Sommerstein
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