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House by Johanna Ullrich

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Dairy farming was once widespread in Upstate New York, with small communities depending on each other for support. Now, as more small family farms fold every year, those that have survived have needed to find new ways to stay alive. With milk prices at an all-time low, some farmers are turning to alternative methods of farming, such as going organic to qualify for higher prices. Many more farmers are selling out to large corporation farms or to developers, leaving the farmers who are left to stand alone or face the same decision.

Pressures felt by family farmers do not stop with the adults; the entire family is acutely aware of the importance of maintaining the balance between the independence of a small farm and making ends meet. Farm children end up fighting their parents' fight in school and among their friends because there are fewer and fewer children who understand the complete family effort required to keep a farm alive.

The old farmhouses epitomize the tensions constantly present on small family farms today. Once prevalent, old farmhouses are slowly becoming more run-down and sparse on the landscape, while a few survive as beautifully renovated estate houses, no longer connected to any semblance of farming activity. The old farmhouses still attached to small family farms are rapidly being replaced by trailers and other modern homes because the small-time farming families that have owned them for hundreds of years rarely found the time or the money for repairs. Sometimes these houses are seen merely as inconveniences. But occasionally they are loved for what they truly are and for holding the collective history of the families they've sheltered.