Reader: Oncken's column pulls no punches about dairy dilemma

Jim Countryman
Letter to the Editor

Just wanted to let you know that I am a regular reader of John Oncken's column in the Wisconsin State Farmer.  I thought that the latest "Dairying and the dilemma of change" (March 15) was particularly well thought out and written! 

This situation gets a lot of tearjerker reporting and omits the fact that it has been going on for the nearly 70 years that I have observed directly.

I grew up farming with horses and milking cows by hand. As a 17 yr old in 1951, I realized the farm would not continue to support my folks let alone make room for me. I left the farm and went on to other things.

At the time there were three creameries and likely several hundred small family farms in this large western UP county. Now there is one dairy farm left and no creameries. This was an emotional event for many of the families but no one else paid much attention to it.

I haven't yet figured out how an industry that increases its output almost day by day can expect the customer base to absorb it and pay levels that are profitable to all.

Tolfree Farms (where I now live) happened after I flunked retirement from another career. Today we now raise purebred Dexter cattle with an Igenity supported breeding program along with hay and small grains today on the very farm I grew up on!

Think spring and keep writing, John.

Jim Countryman