Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Dairy farming is difficult

I was reminded of a long-ago dream of mine when I read the latest entry in “The Milk Man’s Wife”.

It’s a very sad story; the price squeeze is putting them under, and they’re going to have to give up farming.

Thirty years ago one of my fondest wishes was to have a small dairy farm; Cliff and I went so far as to draw up plans for the barn.  Since we never had extra money back then, and we were scared to go in debt that deeply, those plans were put on the back burner.

It was for the best, because in ensuing years we watched all the local dairies sell out, one by one.  There’s less demand for milk every year; most parents would rather fatten up their children on the empty calories in soda than to strengthen their bones with milk.

I’ve missed the dairy cows; that’s why I now have a Jersey that I milk about twice a week.  She’s a real pet, and if I didn’t milk her at all, I’d still keep her for her gentle nature, the dished face, and the big, brown eyes.

If I had managed to start my dairy, I’d have long ago gotten out of it.  On a dairy farm, there’s no sleeping late; no vacations; no holidays from milking.  You have to be out there milking those cows twice a day, in heat and cold, in rain and snow.  I lived on that routine for over twenty years, just with my little hobby herd.  But the time came when I wanted to be able to get away once in awhile; that’s when I grudgingly sold my last two cows.

I’m glad to have Bonnie, and I really have the best of both worlds.  Her calf has been able to take all her milk for six weeks now, so I’m free to leave for as long as I like, any time I like.

But “The Milk Man’s Wife” really hit home with me; her family’s dream is shattered.


Anonymous said...

Well I am happy to say our family help the diary farmeres as much as possible...we use about two gallons a week...and more if the grands have overnight company LOL...and I am sure the economy is not helping anyone's situation just now...right now the "tobacco" farmers are guessing their take will not be as good...but the same amount of tobacco will be sold...!!! hugs from Ora in KY

Lisa said...

I am so sad to hear about this dairy farm. Thanks for posting it because we have to beware of how many farms may not make it through these hard times and the impact this may have on our nation's food supply in the long run.
Lisa in Kentucky

Celeste said...

It is sad about the smaller diaries and farmers. I buy what I can from the farmers market and i go thru 2-4 gallons of milk a week. I really like milk.

Lindie said...

I can't drink milk but remember visiting my grandfather's dairy farm every summer as a child. Good times! My daughter's 6 children drink a lot of milk, a little juice and no soda!