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Robots take root on smaller dairy farms, upping production

In this Sept. 2, 2015, photo, a cow voluntarily gets milked by a robot at Lambert Farm in Graniteville, Vt. With trouble finding reliable labor and technology more readable available, some family dairy farms from the Northeast to the Midwest are turning to robots to milk cows to stay competitive. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

In this Sept. 2, 2015, photo, a cow voluntarily gets milked by a robot at Lambert Farm in Graniteville, Vt. With trouble finding reliable labor and technology more readable available, some family dairy farms from the Northeast to the Midwest are turning to robots to milk cows to stay competitive. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

GRANITEVILLE, Vt. (AP) — Robots have taken up residence in barns at some small- and medium-sized dairy farms across the country.

Automated milking systems provide reliable and more efficient labor. They also help the family farms remain viable and encourage more milk production.

Dairy operations here and abroad have used robotic milkers for over a decade. But with more manufacturers and dealerships emerging in the U.S., the number of farms in Iowa with the technology has doubled since 2013 and smaller farms in the Northeast are plugging in.

Jennifer and Jesse Lambert have two robots at their organic dairy farm in Vermont and are saving $60,000 a year that used to be for employees and their cows are producing more milk.

 

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