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KBIA's ongoing coverage of the midwest's worst drought in half a century.

Should dairy farmers cut cow tails?

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

To dock or not to dock? That is the question.

Well, that’s the question some Midwest dairy farmers are debating now that the National Milk Producers Federation has taken a stand against the widespread practice of cutting off cow tails -- or tail docking. It started decades ago as a method to stop the spread of disease because the tails often becomes slimed with manure. Recent studies suggest the practice isn't necessarily effective, but many dairy farmers still employ the technique to avoid a face full of slimy cow tail.

Reporter Abbie Fentress Swanson visits Business Beat in the studio to talk about her report and an alternative method of avoiding a cow tail to the face.

However, for many dairy farmers, the drought has been a bigger issue than docking. Swanson has also put together a map connecting the stories of farmers and livestock producers to each other and to the public. You can check it out here.

Kristofor left KBIA in fall of 2021