A new research by Food and Water Watch has revealed that two decades of misguided US dairy policies aimed at boosting milk production and exports have harmed family-scale farms and the environment while benefiting agribusinesses and corporate lobbyists.

The research found that despite an almost 40% increase in milk production, the average US dairy was profitable only twice in the past 20 years.

The rising production costs and low milk prices have hurt farmers while benefiting exporters. US dairy exports rose eightfold in the last 20 years, leading to rapid consolidation across the industry and the loss of two-thirds of family-sized commercial dairies.

The increase in exports has also led to a rise in methane emissions from dairy manure. The report warns of a vicious circle in which low and volatile milk prices are forcing family-scale farmers to either expand their herds and factory farm, leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions, or sell to mega-dairies that do the same.

The dairy industry has spent $6.9 million to influence Washington in 2020, lobbying for corporate subsidies and other benefits.

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