The more things change…


“Tho they may never expect to become farmers, urban youth will soon be in positions where their word may count strongly for the welfare of agriculture. Having them in your community offers a good chance to make lasting friendships for yourself and all farm people.”

Inviting non-farm people to visit farms and farm communities is an important way to help folks understand where food comes from and issues facing food security in this country.

Most secure food supply

As a farming community, we have to understand that few people have to know about where their food comes from because we have the most secure food supply in the world.

Interestingly, the opening quotation comes from the June 1944 issue of the Successful Farming magazine.

As the country was deeply involved in World War II, the editor was referring to the “Thousands of unskilled but willing high-school boys and girls (who) will soon pour out over the great food-producing sections to make their contributions to the war effort.”

He also warned that these kids were also in need of some basic animal and farm machinery training before they started working to prevent accidents.

Interestingly, milk production was down a little that year, and total production was estimated to be close to the previous year’s “…flow of 118 billion pounds, and thus make unnecessary any downward revisions in milk-marketing quotas.”

This statement contrasted with the final one concerning milk output: “Fitting together all the pieces of Government action to force a shift out of beef cattle and hogs into the production of milk leads one to believe that a high record volume of 129 billion pounds of milk may be produced next year.”

While milk pricing has been a unique exercise for the 30 years I have been involved with the dairy industry, the challenges obviously go back much further than that.

Changed little

Dairy farming appears to have changed little over the decades. Uncertainty in prices, production quotas, labor and feed supplies and prices.

What hasn’t changed is that good management, animal husbandry, willingness to change and attention to detail are critical factors for successful farms.

In 1944 editor Kirk Fox put it this way “…And while the alert and efficient will be rewarded, the slow and indifferent will find themselves separated from their brother farmers by a wider economic and social gap then ever.”


One thing that has changed, for which we can all be grateful, is the modernization of farm homes.

“With only about 20 percent of present homes having a central heating plant and running water, there are great opportunities for betterment.”


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