GIS and the dairy industry: examining the roles of government regulation and dairy cooperatives in the shipment of fluid milk
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This thesis deals with the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the transport of raw fluid milk from its origin on the farm to the processing plant. Current applications of GIS in transportation planning are discussed. Spatial, physical, administrative and legal constraints affecting the shipment of fluid milk are outlined, especially the roles of government legislation and dairy cooperatives. GIS is used to evaluate milk hauling efficiencies on both local and regional scales. The case study focuses on Rockingham and Augusta counties in northwestern Virginia and the surrounding hinterland. On the local scale GIS network functions are used to determine optima] routes for milk trucks between dairy farms in these counties and the processing plant in Mt. Crawford, Virginia. Comparisons are made between the results achieved by GIS and the results obtained through traditional methods of route planning. A regional scale case study uses GIS allocation functions to evaluate the effect of government regulations (Federal and State Order Markets) on the efficiency of hauling fluid milk from farms in the study area to plants outside the region. Results indicate that government regulations and cooperative decisions shape the morphology of fluid milk shipment and that GIS is a useful tool for regional milk marketing. Finally, a mail survey assesses the present use of automated systems and GIS among dairy cooperatives, and the possibility of future implementation of such systems in the dairy industry.
- Masters Theses