Proud to Dairy

Annaliese Wegner wrote an excellent guest blog entitled "There is more than one way to dairy farm" for the October edition of Progressive Dairyman. I agree with her sentiments exactly! Before we sold our herd, we were a third generation, 35 cow, pasture based, tie stall dairy, but we never derided other dairy farmers or the way they chose to run their farms. Now-a-days there are so many different ways to farm - large or small scale farms, high tech or low tech methods and equipment, tie stall, parlor or robotic milking facilities, conventional, all natural, or organic practices, pasture-based or TMR rations, large or small work forces consisting of family, local hired hands, or immigrant labor, etc. But we still make it a point to tell consumers when they ask that all farmers care about the health and welfare of their cows and that they all want to produce a healthful, quality product. The only difference is in the way they choose to run their farms, based on personal preference and the money, work force and facilities available to each. There is no difference in the healthfulness or quality of the milk produced. But now-a-days, it seems like it is farmer against farmer, as everyone strives to claw out a niche in a very uncertain dairy market. This only creates hard feelings among dairy farmers and confusion among the consumers, making the dairy market even more uncertain. Dairy farmers need to band together, not split apart, in order to promote dairy farming and dairy products to consumers and to strengthen the dairy industry. Let's hope that Annaliese's message is heard and acted upon by all dairy farmers so that together they can create a much stronger dairy economy! 

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