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After the Cow: Dairy Processing in Chittenden County

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04/13/2005

Vermont began its transition to being a dairy state in the 1840s and has remained one ever since. However, dairying is a very labor-intensive type of farming, and as semi-self-sufficient farmers adjusted to the demands of dairy husbandry, an extensive infrastructure developed to support them. Eventually this infrastructure included the Vermont Department of Agriculture; cattle breeding associations; veterinarians; seed, feed, and grain merchants; cattle dealers; slaughterhouses; and agricultural equipment salesmen, none of which have received adequate historical attention. This research is an attempt to survey the development of another segment of that infrastructure, the Vermont dairy processing industry--cheese factories, butter factories, milk receiving stations, and creameries. During some years as many as 250 individual dairy processing plants of various types were in operation within the state. Many firms, however, were short lived. Over the years they often changed owners, names, locations, and/or product lines. In order to get a better perspective on the trends within the industry, dairy processing plants serving Chittenden County between 1866 and 1960 are highlighted. Research historian Jerry Fox presents.

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