Opinion: Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to farms, Winthrop resident says
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 8:43 am

In response to “Decline of the Small Dairy” which appeared on the front page of the Nov. 21-27 issue of North Country This Week: I have a few suggestions for you to think about for further articles you may wish to share with the public.

It seems the number of cows these large “institutional agricultural facility's” - not farms as many still wish to call them, is the number which many people look at. However the other numbers and issues that we all should be looking at are:

1. According to the EPA, a 2,000-cow dairy generates more than 240,000 pounds of manure daily or nearly 90 million pounds a year. The USDA estimates that the manure from 2000 milking cows produces as much nitrogen as sewage from a community of 50,000 to 100,000 people. All being dumped on small amounts local lands with an enormous probability of ground water contamination.

2. Simple humanitarian decency toward other living things on this earth - Cows’ natural life expectancy is 20 years or more, but the average dairy cow lives just 3 to 4 years, exhausted by constant lactation and frequent disease. This all in the pursuit of profit.

3. The dairy industry appears to be in violation of the very simple rule of business supply and demand. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture milk production in 2009 was at 189 million pounds now in 2017 U.S. milk production is at 216 million pounds – and this along with the fact that U.S. cheese reserves are at an all time high since 1994. Overproduction of any product for whatever reason, be it greed or debt will only conclude in low prices for that product or service.

4. Near a big cow farm residents are not comfortable even going outside on most summer days, they’re not comfortable inviting people to their homes and they’re not comfortable having their children play outside, there is that smell attached to it, it is impossible for the community to ignore. This can only lead to lower property values, as people simply will not buy in areas of this nature.

First and foremost farming and the lifestyle of farming is probably one of the most satisfying lifestyles any person could choose for themselves or their family.

However, to grow in this scale, attention and concern must be given to all things involved; the animals, environment, and people who live in the environment.

Less - may we never forget a quote by author Edna Ferber — “Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better … sunflowers aren’t better than violets.”

Gregory Caron