Letter to the Editor: Don’t Ruin the Dairy Industry

Peninsula Pulse Editor Jim Lundstrom claims that the dairy industry has hijacked the word “milk.” In Mr. Lundstrom’s commentary he quotes that “people are pervasively and systematically told to drink this substance at school.” “This substance?”  I ask is Mr. Lundstrom equating the act of drinking milk with “substance abuse?”

“The Dangers of Dairy Milk – It Does The Body Wrong” appears in a large, above the fold, graphic appearing on page 19.

First of all Mr. Lundstrom the FDA Standard of Identity for “milk”, CFR 131.110, is the “lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows” (

Mr. Lundstrom based his entire commentary on information from one Susan Levin, a mouthpiece for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit of 12,000 doctor members. Ms. Levin is not a doctor and a quick Google search finds that as of 2016, the number of actively licensed physicians in the United States and the District of Columbia was 953,695. The PCRM membership makes up just 1.26 percent of the total number of doctors in America. That’s a rounding error and one might think not statistically relevant to any medical finding let alone condemnation of the entire dairy industry.  

Why do I care what Mr. Lundstrom writes about milk? Please read on.

“The suicide rate for farmers is more than double that of veterans” declared The Guardian in a story published on Dec. 6, 2017., in a story dated Feb 21, 2018, reported that one Dr. Mike Rosmann is a psychologist and a leading expert in agricultural behavioral health. The plight of the farmer is near and dear to his heart, simply because he is one. Dr. Rosmann points to his Agrarian Imperative theory, the strong urge that farmers feel to produce and supply the essentials for human life.

It’s a basic human instinct, but when factors interrupt a farmer’s natural instincts (like economic pressure), and they can’t fulfill this instinctual purpose, they fall into despair. The same drive that fuels your motivation and success is the same that intensifies perceived shortcomings and the emotions that come along with them.

Rosmann wrote that the agrarian imperative theory “is a plausible explanation of the motivations of farmers to be agricultural producers and to sometimes end their lives”.

And then there is this from a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story published on April 13, 2018, “Entire communities are falling apart as small farms go under,” said John Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders, a Madison based advocacy group.

Grain mills, car dealerships and hardware stores suffer. The local tax base erodes. Churches and schools struggle or close.

“The multiplier effect on the rural economy is huge. It’s why you are seeing all these boarded-up small towns,” Peck said.

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Mr. Lundstrom, what if your words were the last thing a local dairy farmer read in his or her life?


Curt Campbell

Egg Harbor, Wis.

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