Nebraska is working hard to make good on their state slogan, “Good Life. Great Opportunity.”
This state began promoted tree planting in 1872, with the first designation of Arbor Day. Still based in Nebraska, the Arbor Foundation thrives and planting trees is celebrated worldwide.
They also know their cattlemen are great at raising beef, and are once again adding the “The Beef State” slogan to some of their license plates.
Nebraska is working to expand its agriculture base once again to ensure their economy flourishes. Representatives of the Grow Nebraska Dairy coalition are actively wooing dairy processors to their state. Existing dairy farms in Nebraska would expand, and new producers would be have incentive to ‘set up shop’ there as well.
The state of Pennsylvania has used this model for expanding their dairy industry. Prior to the 1910, the western Pennsylvania town of Grove City, no mention of the dairy industry is made in their historical timeline.
That changed when the Department of Agriculture chose Grove City as the location for an experimental creamery. Initially this experiment didn’t appeal to the farmers, however, it did appeal to progressive businessmen who realized that a creamery would bring a better price for milk.
These bankers and storeowners knew dairy farms are always in need feed and supplies, and farm families do business in town, their families eat, go to area schools and attend the churches.
When the creamery opened on May 3, 1915 it became a source of newly created wealth for the area.
Community spirit was also revitalized. Farmers wanted profitable dairy cows, and a Grove City Cow-Testing Association was organized. Two cooperative bull associations were organized, the Jersey and Holstein-Friesian. The Guernsey Breeders’ Association also had it start there.
Area youth organized into The Boys’ and Girls’ Purebred Dairy Cattle Club. Their goal was to observe which heifer calves became the cows with the highest economical production.
The Grove City Federal and State Accredited Dairy Cattle Show and Sales Association organized in 1918. The town only had a population around 4,500, but over 1,500 people attended the picnic and dairy cattle show in 1918. The USDA closed the creamery in 1935, but the dairy industry remains strong.
I think the Grow Nebraska Dairy coalition is on the right track with their plan. From my farm here in Iowa, there are three facilities that will purchase milk within thirty miles. That certainly helps the 100+ licensed dairies in the immediate northwest Iowa area, and the dairies across the state line in Minnesota and South Dakota.
More dairy farms will change things. Some will be new to the area, while other families will have homesteaded the land. Together these families will bring their talents, their gifts and enthusiasm for the good life agriculture can be.
Rural communities might thrive again with more people to frequent small-town businesses. There will also be more people to worship in the churches that were built by predecessors with the same hopes and dreams.