Plain Farmers and Sustainability

Analysis of survey data from my research on antibiotic use in the dairy industry has suggested that Amish and Mennonite dairy producers may have distinctly different milk quality levels, attitudes towards mastitis and antibiotic use, and self-reported antibiotic use than other dairy producers. Additionally, preliminary analysis has suggested that Amish and Mennonite dairy producers are much less likely to employ non-family labor and have different long-term farm goals than their peers, all factors that have been shown to influence milk quality and antibiotic use.

To further understand these differences, I am working with my colleague Caroline Brock to conduct several short face-to-face interviews with Plain dairy farmers and the veterinarians and extension staff who work with them. Additionally, we are conducting content analysis of several Plain newsletters to understand the role that religious and cultural identity plays in shaping this significant environmental behavior.