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Goodbye Bessie: Decline of small dairies in Cache Valley mirrors national trend

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The Herald Journal
Former Cache Valley dairy operator Jared Clawson stands at his farmyard in Hyrum. Clawson and his brother, Michael, closed their dairy six years ago to focus exclusively on raising crops.

Cache Valley has long been a big name in dairy and cheese production, so it was fitting that it would be the site of a Guinness World Record mac-and-cheese dish this summer — 4,742 pounds of the gooey stuff mixed in a vat at the Schreiber Foods plant in Logan.

But although cheese and dairy output here remain stronger than ever, changing economic conditions are leading to extinction of the small- to medium-sized dairies that made Cache County the state’s No. 1 dairy producing county and brought it world recognition for its Swiss cheese.

“We had to get big or we had to get out” is how third-generation dairy operator Jared Clawson describes his departure from the industry six years ago when he and his brother, Michael, decided to close their Hyrum facility, sell their 250 cows and expand the farming operation they’d always relied on to feed their herd.

Read the rest of the story on HJnews.com.

This story is made possible thanks to a community reporting partnership between The Herald Journal and Utah Public Radio.