Dairy farmers all across the United States have been committing suicide at an alarming rate because their respective industry can no longer support them in the same way that it has for generations. For the fourth year in a row, diminishing milk prices has brought about dark times for this major farming sector.
Sadly, these doomsday conditions have forced many of those associated with the trade to take drastic measures. Some have sold their family farms just to dig themselves out of debt. Others, feeling as though there is nowhere left to turn, have opted to take their own lives.
In northeastern states, like Massachusetts, the self-inflicted trapdoor out of the poor house is the most devilish. Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative consisting of around 1,000 members, buried three of its own over the past few years, according to a report from NPR.
This year is no exception.
The risk of dairy farmer suicides has become so severe in recent months that the co-op actually included a list of suicide prevention contacts with its 2018 milk price predictions. The overall message is the situation for dairy farmers is not about to improve anytime soon.
“Farm families are incredibly resilient, but some members may want to take advantage of helpful programs where they can talk with experts about work and financial stress, depression and anxiety, grief counseling, substance abuse and family relationship issues,” the letter from Agri-Mark reads.
It is sad to watch a classic industry drive hard working Americans into early graves. Not only that, but it is completely unnecessary. There is a wealth of opportunity opening up in the cannabis industry that could provide this farming sector with a second chance for survival.
Some of the latest statistics from New Frontier shows the business of growing and selling marijuana is on the path to becoming a $24 billion industry by 2025. A significant portion of these earnings will be generated through the sale of edible marijuana products.
This edibles sector is expected to rake in billions. Last year, California alone sold more than $180 million of cannabis-infused edibles and beverages – roughly 10 percent of the state’s overall cannabis sales. In other legal marijuana states, cannabis-infused treats are so popular that they are responsible for generating up to 60 percent of dispensary profits.
In short, edible marijuana products are big business. And it’s a sector that will only continue to grow.
But before these products can be stocked on the shelves of dispensaries in legal states all across the nation, cannabis companies must first buy the essential supplies to manufacture them. Butter, milk and even cheese are all necessary components in the creation of most cannabis-infused candies and baked goods. Considering that dairy farmers are the foundation of these essential commodities, it only make sense that downtrodden dairy farmers may want to consider dealing with pot moguls involved in edible highs.
For dairy farmers operating in the nearly 40 states that have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use, there is also an opportunity for them to market cannabis-infused dairy products of their own. Cannabis milk and butter are popular these days because of their versatility in everyday use. These cooking basics, which are favorites among customers who do not like to or cannot smoke marijuana, can be used to whip up a variety of THC-infused foods within the confines of personal kitchen spaces.
There are even restaurants operating in legal states that require these kinds of products to produce cannabis–infused meals. The market potential is endless.
Although there are some relief efforts out there designed to help dairy famers through tough times, these programs often serve as little help. If they were stronger, the folks connected to this all-important farming sector would not be considering suicide as an option. But farming, as a whole, is notorious for high suicide rates. Farmers are responsible for more suicides than any other occupation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate is twice as high as military veterans.
Suicide is not the proper response to sad economic times. But creativity is. It has been said that dairy famers feed America. Perhaps it is time they help it get high?