Terceira Island, in the Azores Archipelago of the North Atlantic. With a cool maritime climate, rich volcanic soil, and abundant rainfall, dairy farming dominates the island economy, which produces a third of Portugal’s milk, and half of its cheese. Most of the farms are small family-run dairies, with about 25 hectares and less than 50 cows.
EEC subsidies support small-scale agriculture and provide about 25% of the income for these small dairy farmers. Still, the dairies here are slowly consolidating as European farm children seek ways of life that don’t require twice-daily milking of cattle in outdoor milking parlors, rain or shine, every day of the year.
Azores milk gets about 15% less than on the mainland. The dairy farmers are subsidized by the government per cow and ton of milk produced. CAP (Common Agriculture Policy) has special arrangements for outer-most European regions (islands in the Caribbean and Atlantic).
- ©2022 George Steinmetz
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