Abstract for: Revisiting the 1976 Vermont dairy model, a historical retrospective: what can we learn?

In 1975, Budzik published a modeling study of the Vermont dairy industry, concluding that there were few policies that would arrest the slow decline of small scale dairy farming in the state. From a purely historical perspective, the study represents an interesting time capsule; it provides an overview of a struggling industry and, when compared to time series data, predicted dynamics were accurate. We have reconstructed the 6 sector model, originally built with Dynamo, as a Vensim model. In light of the current state of the dairy industry, coupled with a growing concern regarding agriculture’s ability to tackle socio-ecological challenges, we present a plan to expand the original model, including both environmental feedback effects of the dairy industry, as well as endogenous dynamics associated with rural community economics, as well as a renewed interest in local food systems, post-pandemic.