Long ago, when people traveled and wanted milk, they had to take their cows with them...
For thousands of years, cows have been providing people with food (milk and meat), clothing (leather), labor (plowing), and fuel and fertilizer (manure.) In the 1850's nearly all families in the US had a cow. If the family moved, so did the cow. In villages and cities, people might not be able to have their own cows because there wasn't any land to graze on, so centralized dairy farming developed. Up until the late 1800's, cows were milked by hand. Cows were brought into a barn, and tied up or held in place with stanchions (an upright bar or post). Cows were milked from the side, which was safer, cleaner, more comfortable. It kept the tail out of the milk pail and the farmer's face, and made it harder for the cow to kick the farmer.
Today. about 99% of all U.S. dairy farms are family-owned and operated. The majority (77%) have less than 100 cows.
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