Lauren Vickers

Dairy Farming


Create a documentary that explores a subculture.


One day I was convinced to go to the Virginia State Fair. While I was walking around, I stumbled upon a presentation about Dairy Farming. I sat in awe for 30 minutes and knew I had found my subculture.

It's kind of fitting because as a kid, I used to call myself a cow-a-tarian because I wouldn't eat beef. I've really come full circle.

Key Learnings

  • Small Farms Are Hurting at the Hands of Mega-Farms. Robots and other technology innovations put a barrier between small farms and big corporations. Many small farms across the country have closed their doors because the cost of keeping the cows and milking outweighs what they receive for their milk - which is pennies to the gallon. 
  • Farmers Aren't in it for the Money. They've always known farming. It's in the family. Despite the low return - they keep doing it because "it's what they've always done" and they love it. They wouldn't know what else to do with their unique set of skills.
  • Farmers Play Doctor, Biologist, Health Inspector, Cupid and More. They are responsible for everything that goes into producing the milk. Not just the milking itself. Sometimes that requires a daily shot of antibiotics for cows that are stiff. They know every little detail about the cow and her anatomy. They put a lot of work into making sure our milk is safe to drink. And they are responsible for the artificial insemination - no matter how many tries it takes.
  • They HATE Almond Milk or Anything Else That Claims to Be Milk. This was consistent with every dairy farmer I talked to - not just the few that are interviewed in the documentary. They would like everyone to know that "it's not milk it's oil." And its claims to be milk hurt their business.
  • Farmers Don't Think Cows are as Cute as I Do. They really are the main actors in this documentary. But while I was giggling the whole time through the shoot at some of the cows' antics - they paid no attention to it.