Abbey Oldham

Lawmakers say a bill proposing to narrow the definition of milk will help Kentucky’s struggling dairy industry.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Matt Castlendefines milk as “lacteal secretion” from hooved mammals including cows, horses, goats and reindeer. It bans labeling products as milk that do not meet the new definition. Castlen said the bill will help both the industry and consumers.


Nicole Erwin

LaRue County, Kentucky, dairy farmer Gary Rock sits in his milking parlor, overlooking what is left of his 95 cow operation.

“Three hundred years of history is something that a lot of people in our country cannot even talk about,” Rock said.

That’s how long the farm has been in his family. While the land has turned out tobacco, soybeans and other crops over the years, since 1980 dairy has nourished the family in and out of tragedy.

“In 2013, we had an F2 tornado that totally destroyed all the facilities here except the one we are sitting in, which is the milk parlor itself,” Rock said. If that had been lost, he said, he would not have rebuilt.