Dairy farmers mooch it up in Maine

Most freelance writers are born moochers.
With no corporate travel budget behind them and a flood-or-dust income stream in front of them, the art of mooching – traveling, dining, drinking and vacationing on other peoples’ tabs – quickly becomes a way of life.
Cabin crashing. Several years ago, my family set a vacation-mooching mark that would embarrass a professional hobo.
First, we spent three free days at a friend’s lakeside cabin in central Minnesota.
Then, we moved farther north for three more free days at the cabin of another friend’s father.
Next, we headed east for three swell days at a Wisconsin cabin courtesy of my brother-in-law’s father-in-law.
And, as the crowning mooch on our way back home, we stopped for a final night at the Lake Michigan house of my mother-in-law’s college roommate.
Sure, that last mooch was a stretch, but recall the moocher’s motto: “Take whatever whenever wherever.”
The total cost of the 10 nights and 30 or so meals was $50 for gas, $20 for bait and another long listen to my brother-in-law’s father-in-law’s Korean War wound story.
Milking it. That mooch, however, can’t hold a (free) candle to the grand – make that tens of grand – mooch going on July 25-30 for the 50 or so directors and handful of key hired hands at Dairy Farmers of America, the nation’s largest farmer-owned milk cooperative.
Despite the co-op’s fast-rising money woes (outlined here two months ago), its board and home office big boys will spend the week working on the co-op’s long-term strategic plan at the posh Samoset Resort Hotel on the Atlantic near Rockport, Maine.
For those 22,000 co-op members nationwide who, unlike their directors, will be home milking cows, baling hay and repairing silo unloaders, the Samoset is not your “average mooch.”
In fact, it’s not even your “above average mooch.”
No, the Samoset, according to its Web site, www.samosetresort.com, is a “shoot the moon mooch.”
“(C)radled between lush green hills and the blue waters of Penobscot Bay

About the Author

Alan Guebert was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1980, he served as a writer and editor at Professional Farmers of America, Successful Farming magazine and Farm Journal magazine. His syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File, began in June, 1993, and now appears weekly in more than 70 publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. He and spouse Catherine, a social worker, have two adult children. farmandfoodfile.com More Stories by Alan Guebert

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