with Jim’s Cows
Cornucopia’s Take: I’m proud to call Jim Goodman a valued friend. We met 25 years ago, when I worked as a lobbyist for the Farmers Union and Jim was an activist with Family Farm Defenders. He’s a good man. Intellectually powerful, as you can tell by his writing, with a big heart. Jim has not given up fighting for farmers and is currently president of the National Family Farm Coalition.
Ironically, the post I created the other day, concerning the farmer in Wisconsin who attempted to take his own life, used an image of Jim’s pristine and sweet-smelling barn–when it was still populated by the cows he loved.
Dairy farming is dying. After 40 years, I’m done.
The Washington Post
by Jim Goodman
After 40 years of dairy farming, I sold my herd of cows. The herd had been in my family since 1904; I know all 45 cows by name. I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to take over our farm — who would? Dairy farming is little more than hard work and possible economic suicide.
A grass-based organic dairy farm bought my cows. I couldn’t watch them go. In June, I milked them for the last time, left the barn and let the truckers load them. A cop-out on my part? Perhaps, but being able to remember them as I last saw them, in my barn, chewing their cuds and waiting for pasture, is all I have left.
My retirement was mostly voluntary. Premature, but there is some solace in having a choice. Unlike many dairy farmers, I didn’t retire bankrupt. But for my wife and me, having to sell our herd was a sign — of the economic death not just of rural America but also of a way of life. It is nothing short of heartbreaking to walk through our barn and know that those stalls will remain empty; knowing that our losses reflect the greater damage inflicted on entire regions is worse. Read Full Article »