Thank a dairyman. Now. Today.


Blessed are those producing our food. Their resilience is unequaled; their patience, admirable. To me, they are a blessed mystery.

Last year was arguably the worst year ever in our dairy industry. Some dairy farmers lost their lifelong savings — no big bailout for them.

Yet, milk is still being produced, plentiful and wholesome.

Laboring through long days among his animals, one is told that he may not be caring enough for them. Thus a state board is born. Apparently, this might not be good enough, yet, so another animal welfare issue will be voted on by people who are sound asleep while the cattle rancher helps one of his cows deliver her calf in the middle of the night.

More woes

The last time I checked, cattle always produced manure. Yet to some, it seems to be a new discovery that cows, pigs and chickens produce manure — just as we and all living animals do. Soon a new breed of eco-fanatic is born, prone to blame all the ills of the world on livestock production.

It doesn’t matter that this country now produces nearly twice as much milk as what it produced in 1950 with only 40 percent as many cows. It doesn’t matter that there used to be well over 50 million buffaloes roaming our prairies. It doesn’t matter the care and diligence toward the environment shown on a daily basis by those who grow our food.

Cows produce manure and they belch. It has to be bad, or so they like to postulate.

Postulating what we want has many advantages; “they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil,” once said a somewhat famous person named Bertrand Russell.

Hard to fathom

So, I don’t understand how you keep doing what you are doing; that in spite of apparently being shot from all directions, of being accused to be among the worse polluters, of being branded as animal torturers, of getting dismal prices for your product you still get up early in the morning and do what you do best: taking care of your animals and helping feed a nation.

I don’t understand, but I, for one, am very thankful.

(The author is an Extension dairy specialist at Ohio State University.)


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Normand St-Pierre is an Extension dairy specialist at Ohio State University. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.



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