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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Change.

I miss my view of cows when I do my daily run to feed the farm cats.  The landscape seems poorer without them.

With the departure of his dairy herd, my farmer becomes another casualty in the war on small farmers.  When I first moved to the area, there were small dairy farms dotted over the county.  My neighbor farmer was one of the smallest, yet he was the last one to fold.  He hung on by his fingernails because it was all he knew - it had been his father's dairy farm and his grandfather's before him.  Now the barn is empty, except for a few heifers and calves, and his prize Hereford bull (I now know from whence cometh the term "beefcake" - wowza!)  The farm is being leveled out, cleaned and tidied to hasten its sale.

Another local dairy farm - no longer housing a milking herd - has adapted by raising calves up to heifers for the big dairies.  They started in 1853 as a very diverse farm - cattle, sheep, poultry, swine and maple syrup production.  Over the years they diversified even further, by putting in a cheese house, producing wool, chickens, ducks, calves, pigs, lambs, and lumber.  In the 1960s, new laws governing necessary equipment for dairy farms in New York State (aka the "Nanny" State) forced farmers to either phase out of milk production all together or to focus on milk exclusively.  Once diversity was gone, farmers lost control over their futures.  There are now no small dairy farms in our county. 

On a happier note, the farm cat, Gracie, is letting me pet her!  It has only taken four years!  Sheesh.  Her current 'partner', a lovely orange striped fellow, is very feral and will not get within 10 feet of me.  I hope that whomever buys the farm is a cat lover.  I have set up a Plan B, however, and will work with a rescue to catch Gracie and see if we can place her in a home, while her current partner will most likely be placed as a barn cat. 

Last weekend I started the process of deconstructing my garden.  I can tell you that planting it in the spring is a whole lot more fun.  The days are warm, but the nights have gotten down to the high 30s already!  Hang on, there, Ma Nature!  It's only September! 

23 comments:

  1. A sad post regarding the demise of the small farmer. It's happening all over the country and it will, eventually, be added to the cause of collapse of our society. Why can't people see this? Well, the answer is simple. The Powers That Be don't give one itty-bitty damn bit about the future as long as they're raking in as much money as they possibly can today.

    Bless you, Susan, for taking care of the stray farm cats for so long.

    Losing your dairy farmer friend, what does this mean for your cow and milk supply?

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    1. My cow and my milk supply are gone. The farmer never managed to dry Jasmine off - even after months of me nagging him - and I couldn't send her to Marianne's while she was still milking. It broke my heart. She is on another dairy farm, but there are no guarantees how long she will stay.

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    2. Well that & people won't pay what things actually cost. Supermarkets want cheap milk as a loss leader to get people in the door to shop. So things get made cheaper & cheaper destroying the land & livelihoods of small farmers so people can have cheap flavorless fat free white water & call it milk.

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  2. It is sad isn’t it ?

    Out west it is none the less the same. However it is greed (read Bullet Train) that has brought demise to multiple generations of dairy farmers. Under the guise of “eminent domain “.

    Gee isn’t it just peachy when the “elected” officials who should be working for you are working to sell you out?

    Glad you and the barn kitty have reached a reciprocal relationship.

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    1. Yes, it is very sad. Everything that makes this country special is being destroyed.

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  3. Another casualty of Big Business. The agri-giants' greed forces out family farms and ruins the land with mono-culture, GMOs, and petro-chemicals, and drains aquifers. And the Republicans with their 'small on government (so they say), big on business' model are opening up all the wild areas for logging and drilling and fishing. If everyone believed this planet is all we get, I think there would be a lot more suicide. Maybe that's why wineries are so popular out here.... Sorry to be so Pollyanna-ish (HA); it's not much more encouraging here on the homefront. :-/

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    1. It is really unbelievable. Greed will be the downfall of this planet.

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  4. That's really sad about the farm. The only good news is all the young farmers coming along.

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    1. The young farmers can't afford to run a 'family farm' any more than the old-timers could. They have to work for (sell out?) to the agri-giants and support their 'profits above all else' model, or work two or three off-farm jobs to try and keep their smaller farms afloat. My uncle runs the family's Century Farm in Kansas, and none of the younger generations can afford to take it over when he can no longer continue farming.

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    2. What I meant was there are successful newbie farmers going into the organic end, mostly, who seem to be able to make it. Just saw some in Oregon. Tough life though...

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  5. I am glad someone is looking out for those cats! Sorry about the farm. Sad sad times.

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    1. The farmer and I had a little talk when I found out he had barn cats AND was putting rat bait out! So the cats moved to the empty farmhouse, away from the poison.

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  6. hey...can you post a link when it hits the market? i would love to check it out! 30's at night...wowzers! it's hovering around 70 here at night. i need fall!!!

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    1. It was a short summer here. Fast and furious and now it's over. I have no idea what to put in my garden anymore. I'm very glad, however, NOT to have it 70 at night!

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  7. I grew up on a dairy farm. I really hate the mega farms insatiable land grab. It is happening in UK and Canada too. Almost always foreign companies at that. I could rant on for hours but I'll spare you. Hang on to your place as I hang on to mine, eventually our growing skills will be needed.

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    1. At least when things go clogs-up, we'll be prepared!

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  8. our society and culture is doing it's best to guarantee it's collapse by getting rid of the small and diverse farms. they are making food unavailable. I know that sounds silly when we have huge grocery stores filled with food...all trucked in from somewhere. pretty soon, unless you grow your own, that will be the only place to get food which is fine I guess unless you live in the country.

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  9. So sad about the farm. You see that happening more and more.Now they have Pot Farms popping up. Really sad!! This world is so screwed up!! It's good to know your helping the cats. Where has the farmer gone? take care!

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  10. It's really how society is going it seems...local, small artisan type of people and businesses, mom and pops types, are being eaten up by Walmart and such. It's such a shame. And you know I agree, spring gardening is much more fun that the clean up (which I'm totally procrastinating doing!)

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  11. Thank you for taking care of the cats. They so often are left behind to fend for themselves. :-(

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  12. A sad blog for your farmer. I'm sorry for him.
    I agree about garden deconstruction. And all I have to deconstruct are some pots. But overnights are still in the sixties.

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  13. I'm always amazed when I think back about how much farming has changed just in my lifetime. Our area used to be chock full of 40 and 80 acre family farms and now our "neighbors" are miles down the road and farms are 2000-3000 acres. On a side note but related to your post, only the amish in the area raised milk cows but now thanks to a creamery, we have lots of milk cows in the area and one huge organic dairy that rents quite a bit of organic farm ground from my father. They sell products over a wide range here in the area and seem to be getting bigger every year. Who knows, maybe my part of Iowa will be known for its dairy here in another decade.

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  14. It is indeed sad that the small farms and farmers are going by the wayside. My old family farm is now part of properties owned by a huge farming family/corporation three hours away. They're nice people but they don't live on the property, just travel over to do the work. They do stay in one of the houses on the property when they're there, though.

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