Small dairy farms, with rolling pastures, red barns and cows grazing placidly on the slopes might seem sometimes to be in danger of extinction. This is mainly because their products compete on quality, not no price, and most modern day consumers are mainly interested in how much milk they can get for their buck.
Small dairies are part of the culture in most of the U.S. and well informed consumers that care about quality, animal wealfare, and their local economies are aware of the need to support a local milk supply and the whole food chain which goes behind it: grains and feeds from neighboring farms etc. The benefits of supporting healthy and happy neighborhood cows are well worth the extra cents their milk may cost compared to that of milk coming from mammoth "cow concentration camps" and industrial plants.
Lately, there has been renewed interest in Raw Milk all over the US. Raw milk was made illegal through much of the country in the days when cows frequently had tuberculosis, but nowadays, with modern science, that is not as much of a risk anymore. The result is that raw milk is coming back.
I'm a (very) small dairy farmer in Peru where opportunities for us are almost nil and in order to survive we have to give an added value to our milk or have a good connection in a processing plant close by. Only the big guys can afford refrigeration tanks, here in Peru, and us little guys can never agree on buying one.
A visiting farmer friend from the U.S. was astounded that we only have twelve cows, he simply couldn't understand how we make ends meet. Only by selling local do we (barely) manage.
Twice a day the "porongueros" (literally the milk-vat-carriers ), collect the milk in impeccable white buckets and take it to their clients at different points in a 30 km range. The clients are a very demanding lot, people from up in the Andes who now live in Lima, folks accustomed to fresh whole milk twice a day coming from the closest possible source.