Monday, March 31, 2008

Today's Must Read

Factory Farmed

From today's CTrib, a California dairyman looks to bring Cali-style milk farming to the Midwest. The words that give away the game:
Much of the feed for the cows he milks on his dad's land comes from the Midwest, and a good portion of the milk is shipped back to the Midwest. Bos said it doesn't take a business genius to figure out how to increase profits. "It's more expensive getting feed to California and hauling the milk back," he said. "It's more efficient to put the cows where the feed is."
Me, I prefer my milk from cow's that eat grass, on pasture.

Factory dairymen taut the economic benefits they bring, transforming a sagging part of the agricultural economy in Illinois.
He estimated the farm would create 40 jobs, paying about $10 per hour.

Now, I'm not against business and commerce and success. Farmers should be able to make money and best use their land (cf what's wrong with the current farm subsidies), but there's also good farming and bad farming. This is bad farming. Bad animal husbandry (I know I've toured a factory milk operation in Arizona), bad tasting milk (cows need grass), tremendous enviromental risks (google Smithfield). For forty jobs. Instead, try producing good milk that can demand a premium at the market, local milk.

Eat local encapsulates a lot of things for my family and me. We use local milk--I would say drink, but 95% of our milk purchases goes into morning coffee, so it's more like a condiment than a beverage--as part of our greater commitment to local. Local means supporting good farmers. Local means supporting sustainable agriculture. Local means finding products that tastes great. You can have it all. Here in the Chicago area we can chose from such dairy as Crystal Ball Farms or Oak Grove Organics or the most accessible, Farmer's All Natural Creamery from Kalona, Iowa. (Compare your milk here.) Be willing to pay the small premium for this kind of milk. It's worth it.

No comments: