Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Dale Miller

Second Advisor

Philip Graves

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Motter


Despite vast research on American dairy policies prior to 2014, few analyses have been published on the new dairy programs within the Agricultural Act of 2014. This study analyzes possible effects of the dairy provisions within the newest Farm Bill on the modern dairy industry as well as possible effects of older policies on the U.S. dairy industry. The objective of this project is to assess how new dairy legislation has altered trends within levels of food waste of fluid milk, excess supply or surplus within the dairy industry, the modern landscape of dairy farming, and farming decisions made by dairy producers in response to federal policies. This study is part of a growing body of research on federal dairy policy and how it influences the dairy sector of U.S. agriculture. It has been found that when less government support is in place there are lower amounts of fluid milk food waste as well as lower surplus levels of manufactured dairy products. In addition, new dairy policy is associated with higher surplus levels of dairy, increases in the proportion of large farms in the U.S., and higher responses from dairy farmers.