Joe Peebles, photographed on his dairy farm in Boaz, faced declining diary prices alongside other Missouri farmers in the 1990s. In 1992, decreasing dairy prices helped fuel a rash of family farm sales and closures as larger corporate farms replaced smaller operations and drove down prices. On April 6, 1992, a convention was held at the University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield to address the growing issue. Seven hundred people, primarily dairy farmers and advocates, were invited to help unify Missouri’s family-owned dairy industry and educated the public about the economic troubles they faced. Farmers advocated that small farms were the economic lifeblood of rural communities and without the steady income they brought in, rural communities could face degradation and diminishing populations. At its peak, the United States had over 4 million dairy farmers; by 1992 the number had dwindled to 130,000, in 2021, there were around 60,000.
Subject: Family farms; Dairy industry; Corporate farms
Contributing Institution: Springfield News-Leader
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