This research was supported by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, through the Association of American Geographers' Global Change in Local Places project (NAGW-4932), and by a National Science Foundation grant for Infrastructure to Develop a Human-Environment Regional Observatory (hero) Network (1920-ksu-nsf-8052).
MILKING THE PLAINS: MOVEMENT OF LARGE DAIRY OPERATIONS INTO SOUTHWESTERN KANSAS*
Article first published online: 22 SEP 2010
© 2010 by the American Geographical Society of New York
Volume 100, Issue 4, pages 538–558, October 2010
How to Cite
HARRINGTON, L. M. B., LU, M. and KROMM, D. E. (2010), MILKING THE PLAINS: MOVEMENT OF LARGE DAIRY OPERATIONS INTO SOUTHWESTERN KANSAS. Geographical Review, 100: 538–558. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2010.00057.x
- Issue published online: 22 SEP 2010
- Article first published online: 22 SEP 2010
- geographical restructuring;
- Great Plains;
- High Plains;
Western Kansas has an historical identification with cattle, with a focus on cattle ranching and more specifically since the 1950s, beef-cattle feedlots. Since the mid-1990s large dairy operations have moved into southwestern Kansas. Today more than twenty large dairies house more than 70,000 milk cows. These operate as confined feeding operations similar to beef-cattle feedlots. Regional advantages for the dairy industry include affordable land with wide-open space, local residents' cattle- and dairy-friendly attitudes, and other factors. Regional promoters have actively recruited dairies, and a dairy-business support system has emerged. The prospects for continued expansion of dairies in southwestern Kansas are unclear; despite the locational advantages and the possibility that the industry may continue to relocate here, as did the cattle-feeding industry several decades ago, further moves into the area may depend on continued resources availability and additional infrastructure development.