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What a sign of the times! New Zealand dairy farmers are reportedly switching over their crops to hemp due to the “ethical” challenges of the dairy industry. The Welch family of Rangitikei, New Zeland have been dairy farmers more than 90 years, spanning over three generations – but now they are looking into more sustainable ways to use their land.

Steuart Welch, the patriarch of the family, has been a dairy farmer all his life but learned about growing hemp from his son, Tom. In a recent interview with the New Zealand Herald, Steuart called the dairy milk industry “soulless” and Tom shared that “the mass industrialization of it … doesn’t always sit right.”

The suffering of cows inherent in the dairy industry is largely overlooked by most people. Since cows naturally produce milk and aren’t killed in the process of milking – unlike cows raised for meat – there is an enormous misconception that cows in the dairy industry live happy lives. However, in order for dairy cows to produce milk, they have to be impregnated and give birth to a calf, for whom this milk is intended. Sadly, because milk is considered a commodity meant for human consumption, babies born into the dairy industry are separated from their mothers mere moments after birth.

While the suffering of mother cows is heartbreaking, the experience for calves is no better. Only a small portion of female calves are raised to become dairy cows like their mothers, those that can’t be used by the dairy farmer are sold to become veal or raised as a beef cow. Male calves are considered “waste” to the dairy industry and are typically all sold for veal or beef. Considered little more than a “means to an end,” dairy calves are fated to short lives filled with misery.

While it’s currently not legal to grow the hemp plant in the United States, the regulations regarding hemp plantations in New Zealand have eased. Hemp does come from the same plant as marijuana it doesn’t contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and it is an excellent plant-based milk because it is naturally dairy, lactose, and soy-free.

The potential for hemp doesn’t stop with milk. It can also be used in textiles, personal hygiene products and for building material. The Welch family plans to harvest hemp oil, which can be used in smoothies, in dietary supplements, and in salad dressings. Not only is hemp a versatile nutritional powerful, it’s also eco-friendly because it requires little water and no pesticides to grow. Considering the fact that dairy farms use approximately 3.4 million gallons of water every single day, we need more farmers like the Welch’s to help transform the industry.

The switch by the Welch family comes on the heels of California dairy farmers switching to almond crops, with the Almond Board of California predicting almond production to increase BY ONE-THIRD from an estimated 2.25 billion pounds in 2017 to a staggering three billion pounds in 2021. As we continue to see with the Welch family, the future of food is increasingly becoming plant-based.

To learn more about the impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.

Image Source: Coleen Danger/Flickr

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39 comments on “Dairy Farmers in New Zealand Are Switching to Hemp Because Industrial Dairy Is ‘Soulless’”

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Rachel Brix
4 Months Ago

Tracellen Templin Kelly Paul Kelly


Reply
Marion Westoll
4 Months Ago

i do not buy this argument. yes dairy is soulless... but that does not mean we should not consume it. what it means is there are waaayyyy too many people on the planet to they had to mass produce it. sometimes this page is strange at best.


Reply
Pau Lina
4 Months Ago

Meg Puāwai


Reply
Meg Puāwai
17 Jan 2018

It's so good !!!!!

Pau Lina
17 Jan 2018

Incredibly amazing!! my ultimate dream~ thnx for doing what ur doing💚

Meg Puāwai
17 Jan 2018

I have a dream!! Are you in the hemp heals Aotearoa group I made ?

Pau Lina
17 Jan 2018

Yes u added me! but i’m across the globe!

Carla Margaret Baez
4 Months Ago

It's cheaper if you buy the seeds and make it yourself. I love it!


Reply
Cody Trevino
4 Months Ago

Gregg Peña Fructuoso Trey Canales


Reply
Angèle Bigey
4 Months Ago

Fanny Maurer


Reply
Consuela Housekeeping
4 Months Ago

Simon


Reply
Siddhesh Kalgaonkar
4 Months Ago

This is so fucking amazing


Reply
Robert Glenday
4 Months Ago

You may think junkies are messed up,, you're right,,now take a look at Dem what's perfect, and ""can handle drink""


Reply
Robert Glenday
4 Months Ago

Just think how many really fukt up folks there are in this world,some even have buttons to wipe us all out,


Reply


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