War in Dairyland

I always enjoy learning more about historical topics new to me. The era of the Great Depression was a turbulent time in US History that is often associated with urban poverty, ecological disaster, and social reform. I am fascinated with the milk strikes in the Midwest, particularly in Wisconsin. In 1933 farmers in Wisconsin tried to unify their efforts to manipulate milk prices. What resulted was the sort of militant action exercised by labor unions in big cities.

Two organizations were at the forefront of the agrarian unrest: the Wisconsin Co-operative
Milk Pool and Farmer’s Holiday Association. The Milk Pool called for strikes on three occasions in 1933, but were mostly failed  attempts. The Farmer’s Holiday Association was less militant than the Milk Pool, and it had been hesitant to back the latter. Striking farmers also met resistance from non-striking ones, which led to aggressive maneuvers to dump non-strikers’ milk before it reached dairies. The Wisconsin National Guard was also called out on a few occasions to qualm unrest.

There are a few good articles (1,2,3) out there that cover the broad topic of the milk strike, but I would like to explore the stories of how the movement touched the lives of the families in the farming communities. I am hoping to visit some historical societies and talk to some people who may provide some insight of the events that unfolded. I would very much like to hear any stories or information people might have on these subject. Maybe you had a family member involved with the movement, or one that was against the strike. I would like to hear from you!

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