Columbia County dairy farmer commits suicide

Albany's CBS6 has the story.

LIVINGSTON -- State Police are investigating the suicide death of a dairy farmer who killed 51 head of his cattle before he shot himself.

Police responded to a 911 call Thursday afternoon and arrived at the Copake farm to find 59-year-old Dean Pierson dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a cow barn on his property.

It has been a brutal year for dairy, with plunging milk prices and rising costs creating a perfect storm for farmers. A possible bright spot on the horizon: the Justice Department is beginning to crack down on Dean Foods, the country's most powerful milk processor, under anti-monopoly laws.

A local worth following on dairy issues: John Bunting, a Delhi-area dairy farmer who writes for the Milkweed and also keeps a very well-informed and erudite blog on dairy economics. (Warning: Milk pricing analysis is not for the math-phobic.)

Update: The CBS6 story spelled the farmer's name "Pearson," but most news outlets are now reporting "Pierson"--sorry for the original misspelling, it looks like it was a typo in the story I linked to. The story's gone national. Here's the Register-Star on it--and here's the AP story in the Washington Post.