Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Today's farming has changed

Check out this video about a beautiful, but giant dairy farm. It looks like some good things are happening down on the farm. I used to live not too far from this place, but never heard of it. If I'm ever back in the area, I'd like to visit. I can't help but wonder if this highly-mechanized method of farming really is the best way? I like the fact that the humongous herd is kept in a controlled environment to ensure protection for both the animals and the consumer. And kudos for opening the farm to the public for inspection and education purposes. That is the best part. A working farm is a marvelous education tool.

Maybe this wave-of-the-future-farming is a good thing, but I just can't help longing for the good ole days when farms were small, run by families, and passed down through generations. The motive was not profit, but that certainly did enter the equation. And it was that bottom line that profit or lack thereof is a major factor in the near-demise of the family farm.

It also bothers me to think of living animals as little more than manufacturers. I can't quite make that leap. Shouldn't cattle be free to wander, and graze in the grass, and be happy. Wouldn't the milk taste better if it came from happy cows? Or am I just an old fool who remembers the Bordens commercials that featured Elsie, the contented cow? The best beverage I ever tasted was milk produced in the morning and chilled until supper.

I refuse to apologize for my idealistic views, born in me while growing up at what I think was the best time of our country's history.

I'm just not convinced that "bigger is better." I detest what urban sprawl has done to the farming community. It has been my experience that growth of cities into suburbs and suburbs into rural areas has been abysmal for all involved. The loss of individuality, the stomping on people's property rights for growth's sake, and so many other ills have been absolutely the wrong way to go. So much more can be said, but I'll save that rant for another time.

One more thing that I really miss -- milk bottles. I wish we could readily and affordably buy milk in glass bottles. I'm sick of plastic. Yes, jars can break, but plastic affects the flavor of the product inside. Plastic lives forever in landfills, and who knows what the leaching of the chemicals into our food does to our health? Glass is recyclable. I don't ever remember seeing glass bottles strewn along roadways. I say, bring back glass.