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Dairy farming

From Academic Kids

Dairy farming is a class of agricultural enterprise, raising female cattle for long-term production of milk, which may be either processed on-site or transported to a dairy for processing and eventual retail sale. Most dairy farms sell the male calves borne by their cows, sometimes for veal production, rather than raising non-milk-producing stock. Many dairy farms also grow their own feed, typically including corn, alfalfa, and hay.

In many farms, cows are given growth hormones (known as "BST" or "rBGH") to increase milk production. It is also common to include antibiotics in the animals' feed, to reduce the transmission of infection arising from the close quarters in which dairy cattle are typically housed. Both of these practices are controversial and prohibited under organic farming codes of conduct.

Most milk-consuming countries have a local dairy farming industry, and most producing countries maintain significant subsidies and trade barriers to protect domestic producers from foreign competition. In large countries, dairy farming tends to be geographically clustered in regions with abundant natural water supplies (milk is mostly water) and relatively inexpensive land (even under the most generous subsidy regimes, dairy farms have poor return on capital).

In the United States, dairy farming is an important industry in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, but the largest state in dairy production is California. In Europe, Denmark, northern France (particularly Normandy), and Switzerland are particularly known as centers of dairy production.

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