What if dairy farmers across America said we’re not shipping any milk for the next 15 days? Would everyone be cool with that? If we all dumped our milk on the corn fields to be plowed under, on which farmer and where would the goonies converge; New York, Indiana, Colorado….? With social media would they dare, or would 60 minutes send Charlie Rose so we could talk about low milk prices, whole milk and milk products in a healthy diet and true animal practices, not those dictated by WalMart or McDonalds?
So many things to discuss! So who does have the power? Didn’t those farmers in France dump their oats on the steps of Parliament, and in many other European capitals things like this happened; did manure and milk get dumped! Why have people from Finland, Germany and Ireland that I have been fortunate enough to meet, all told me that people in America treat all farmers (milk,beef,veggies…) and food much differently and with no respect. Is it because we have the extra land and we can over produce? Maybe not having the World Wars fought here> Perhaps the question shouldbe who should have the power?
How do we keep all those fruits and veggies along with milk and meat affordable and abundant for all?
It may sound odd but this farmer thinnks we should dump the milk and take the power, which I feel will gain us the respect! Knowing we as farmers stand together to make change may again kindle that trust felt in every one on one contact I make.
I hope everyone reading respects my right to throw this idea out there because I am flabbergasted that for example, there are more discussions going on about tail docking than milk prices. The size of a farm should have no effect in my opinion; we all sell milk by the hundred wgt.Efficiency according to size id debatable, taxes and input costs differ by location. So let’s concentrate on the one constant!
Wanting to use this approach stems from many of personal issues which are more common to many than I first thought. All this was brought to the forefront when my wife befriended Jon Katz in a rehab class after they both had open heart surgery in 2014; and made quick friends with his wife, also after attending his open house in October of that year. They got us writing this Blog and Maria called me an artist. Ha Ha!
Our intentions were and still are, to downsize the dairy and use our Social Security , along with less stressful and labor intensive operation. We would like to travel some, maybe get back to Branson,Mo. or the great views in Montana or just visit our Amish friends in Pennsylvania. Left up to me we definitely have to go to the PBR Finals in Las Vegas.
Like many farms we carried debt, so we sold one larger parcel of land to my nephew Kendall and with the $ we paid off a large share of that debt. Knowing there would be taxes caused by the sale we put away what we thought would be enough to pay them and a bit more. Not knowing these taxes would be a few thousand more than we planned it was bye bye remainder only to realize that poor tax preparation years ago by my mother was helpful at the time but is affecting my Social Security and was the source of a major hiccup. But with help from financial advisers, this type of thing should not surprise us again in the future. This problem was of our own doing and we’ll survive.
Things like heart surgery, taxes and the like happen to everyone not just farmers. We were lucky in our case, we came out the other side of that dark tunnel; many won’t! Farmers have an alarming suicide rate; they work long hours in sometimes dangerous conditions. I chose this life, hard as it may be, but trade it? NEVER! Not for that big house on the hill with 3 1/2 bathrooms ( I’ve never needed more than one at a time and besides, who half goes (3 1/2!)? Or a penthouse suite.
My quest if for fair prices in Agriculture, where if you chose to make less, that is fine. You choose; economics doesn’t dictate!
Remember: If the going gets too easy, you may be going down hill!