Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Sustainable Living and Land use › Draft Animals and Land-Use in the Future › The future of the dairy cow??
- August 18, 2010 at 1:10 am #61147
@Ixy 20322 wrote:
believe me, I’ve had the idea – beach rides, milk round etc…but the government says no 🙁 too much of a disease risk; we have really strict movement regs – standstill periods, passports and reporting your every move.
Ick. I didn’t notice where you were. I heard all the awful things that happened to sheep farmers over there a bit back when the government was overdoing an attempt to curb the spread of disease.
Things are moving in that direction here. In some states ear tags are required, and tracking of animals as they change hands. I think though that you’re still free to take your cattle off your property, they still appear at county and state fairs at least.August 18, 2010 at 2:46 am #61035
@dlskidmore 20007 wrote:
Thanks for the input. I’m likely to end up going that route, at least in the beginning. I’ll do some experiments with stockpiled forage, but I’m not counting on them.
@Carl Russell 20003 wrote:
I’m just working my way through this thread, and realize you have moved beyond this, but just want ed to say that as we are building a whole farm system here based in large part on grass-fed livestock, we still buy in a lot of hay for feed. We feed hay at least 5 months, but see it as importing nutrients, as we keep our out 365, except for freezing rain events. Hay chaff, seed, and manure from rotating the feeding areas around our open areas is part of our soil building activities.
Almost all the grazing “experts” regardless of location swear that buying in hay when needed is the only way to go. As Carl says, it’s essentially adding nutrients vs removing them from your land.August 18, 2010 at 2:59 am #61036
@dlskidmore 20320 wrote:
No reason why you can’t do that today. Many people are looking for “green” alternatives. Start with a trendy natural foods store, (preferably one that lists it’s products online so folks can shop from home) and put up ads that you’ll deliver groceries from that store within a certain radius.
- Lower Greenhouse Gasses
- Convenience of cutting out an errand a week.
- Benefits of the foods available at that store
As you develop a delivery route, note other businesses along it, and add them to your advertised services. If you build up enough clientele to do daily deliveries, you can add in fresh produce and dairy products from a local farmer. Most folks have yet to discover how much better really fresh produce is, but you can educate the consumer and get a premium over the Mexican out of season veggies.
You’ll unfortunately likely have to ship your animals and cart into a more densely populated area, but even that gas spent for one round trip a day is less than the multiple errand trips all your customers would be running without your service.
Or for a really crazy idea, how about the oxen ice cream truck! You’ll already be going the right speed for those crazy kids to be able to run and catch you after begging money off of Mom…
Sorry – I should have put this in my previous post but …..
Some commments here:
A) some folks think that bovines are actually major contributors to greenhouse gases in the form of methane (I think that’s a red herring myself).
B) a good example of draft animal useage is our friend Erik “good companion” Andrus using wagon & horse to haul baked goods. I thought about trying to provide something like that with dairy products – a small dairy in our area went back to trying home delivery (not w/ animal power though) ….
C) somewhere I read about folks that contracted with their town to do garbage pickup using their team and wagon. Hmmm. Lots of possibilities.August 18, 2010 at 10:06 am #61086
Oh you can go to shows and things, but you have to let them know the animal’s left your holding, then you have to tell them it’s got to the showground, then tell them it left the showground, and then tell them it got back to your holding. I don’t *think* there’s specifically any rule saying you couldn’t go for a wander, as I guess if you started on your holding and ended on your holding that would blow their mind, but there’s such hysteria over spread of disease (largely thanks to government mishandling of the diseases IMO) I think I’d face hostility from other farmers who’s land I passed, more than anything. I’d like to think we could stand by one another and collectively ignore the rules and get on with our lives, but it’d never happen, that’s why we’re in this situation in the first place – someone said to me recently that farmers wouldnt stick together if they were dropped in a vat of glue!August 18, 2010 at 11:47 am #61148
@Ixy 20345 wrote:
someone said to me recently that farmers wouldnt stick together if they were dropped in a vat of glue!
I think farmers are more cohesive here, but they are still way outnumbered by the city folk without a clue when it comes to enacting laws.August 18, 2010 at 3:16 pm #61087
@dlskidmore 20346 wrote:
I think farmers are more cohesive here, but they are still way outnumbered by the city folk without a clue when it comes to enacting laws.
I think most ‘city folk’ here would have no idea about the rules, and would just be delighted to see a ‘cow’ in such an incongruous situation, and get to touc and meet him – I’ve had people who were ‘cowphobic’ tell me that Angus cured them! lolAugust 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm #61149
@Ixy 20351 wrote:
I think most ‘city folk’ here would have no idea about the rules, and would just be delighted to see a ‘cow’ in such an incongruous situation, and get to touc and meet him – I’ve had people who were ‘cowphobic’ tell me that Angus cured them! lol
Well yes and no. They’re not going to vote against animal power, but for misguided health laws. The misguided health laws have unintended consequences of putting small farmers out of business and making some uses of animals illegal. If some politician says we need these rules to secure the food supply, the city folks are gonna keep voting for them.August 19, 2010 at 5:48 am #61037
@dlskidmore 20361 wrote:
Well yes and no. They’re not going to vote against animal power, but for misguided health laws. The misguided health laws have unintended consequences of putting small farmers out of business and making some uses of animals illegal. If some politician says we need these rules to secure the food supply, the city folks are gonna keep voting for them.
Great segue (is that how you spell “seg way”) into the S 510 Food Safety Bill posted over in the political part of this forum. Most of the big food borne illnesses come from the big processors, running at production level speeds. Unfortunately the clout of these corps twists the legislation into something that hurts the small guys and does nothing to solve the REAL problem. Just today it was 100,000’s of eggs w/ salmonella.August 19, 2010 at 8:36 am #61088
Over here I think it’s very much a within-industry thing, few people with no contact with farming are even aware of the restrictions – it’s certainly not used in election campaigns. But I think that by forcing animals to stay rigidly on their farms or at shows and markets, it’s totally removing them from public consciousness; people just don’t get contact with livestock (or any of their food actually) anymore – out of sight out of mind, and it does mean that we don’t get public support when fighting things, because they just don’t have a clue what’s going on.
I’m hoping things will change if we keep jumping up and down for public attention – I like giving people who would otherwise not get the chance an opportunity to get up close and personal with farm animals, I like meeting the customers and answering questions all day long – more than anything I want them to care about and know about what they are putting in their mouths every day!
There’s also a lot of interest on TV – ‘country’ programmes are all over the place, and there was a week long series in spring about lambing which was hugely popular and I think has gone some way to updating ‘outsiders’ knowledge of the sheep industry, and I believe they are going to do another next year.December 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm #61096ScytherParticipant
I’m coming late to this party, but thought I’d put in my 2 cents. Dairying and dairy animals are dear to me. What it’s become is distressing to me. What was once was one of the most stable and dependable farming activities has over the past 30 years become a system that for me, in it’s current common commercial form, a disgrace to good farming and animal husbandry. Not all farms, some try to do things properly, but the system is setup to make it difficult to succeed. Selling milk as a commodity product has run it’s course and is now a poor economic choice. Making dairying a part of a farm enterprise, not the total one, is the key I think. Also selling retail. Bottle, make cheese and butter and market it yourself. These things will keep herd size small and marketing local. It will make opportunities for many to be in the dairy business. It would/could make these high quality dairy products less available in urban areas at this time. This would create a demand that in many places could not be met because of current regulations regarding dairying or because of a lack of land available for small farms to operate close to larger cities. This would cause people in those areas to support laws and regulations that would create an atmosphere where small farms with dairying as a part of the operation could operate. I think the idea should not be to just confront regulators, but to influence the populace to push from the other direction. If officials are elected by people who really want agriculture and food reform the regulators appointed will be those with that idea in mind. People will only take notice and vote in that direction when they can’t get what they want, and come to see that they need these good food products produced in the way that only the small system can provide. Well that is my take on it in a fairly short way. I’m not holding my breath over this happening. It will take bigger minds than what I have to figure out how to set such a thing in motion. It’s got to change from the bottom up though. Both on the farm and from the rest of the population. A kind of revolution. It’s an easy word to use but a difficult one to really live or make happen. Until then, keep your head down and your chin up[is that even possible?] and be good farmers and dairymen[ sorry, but dairyperson just sounds to strange]. Good luck and have a good winter.January 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm #61050bivolParticipant
@OldKat 19999 wrote:
From bivol’s post above;
This is correct, as far as it goes. I have no idea what happens in your part of the world, bivol. I can tell you for sure that a politician bending to the wishes of business is a problem in the USA.
Unfortunately they are not the only special interest group looking to wield political influence. Add in unions, ethnic minority “representatives”, various other special interest groups such as environmentalists (hard core fanatics, not your garden variety type that really only want to see clean air & unpolluted water etc), pro-hunting groups, anti-hunting groups, animal “welfare” groups, etc, etc. There are many, many more, but you get the picture.
All have their place in the political process and that is all well and good. However, we are never going to please 100% of the public because we all have such differing views, wants, agendas. Currently nearly 1/2 of the people in the United States pay NO federal taxes, yet they still have a say in how our taxes are spent. If that number surpasses 50%, how long before the remaining (shrinking) percentage of tax payers says “To heck with this, I’m not going to support a system where I pay all of the taxes and somebody else gets all of the benefits”? The modern political process leaves a lot to be desired, no doubt.
hi OldKat, sorry for the late reply!
well, in my country we have the so-called multy-party system, so a consensus is practically impossible.
imagine this: subversive agents X three stooges, X tribally organized crime complete with vassals, and masochistic, logic-amputated masses, and you’ll start getting the picture of political life here.
at least your politicians bent partly to the will to your own bussiness-people, here our politicians bend to foreign bussiness people.
against bending to bussiness, i guess a grass-roots political system, and alocation of decision-making further down the political structure could help. i think.
as for any public initiative, that doesn’t exist in my country.
people are so in he colonial mindset, and historically powerless against the state, that any public initiative is doomed from the start, and we as the nation are sheep, and will never rebel. how pathetic!
for the looting of state industrial sector in the 90-is those political scum should without and any egzegeration get the bullet for high treason, cause they conciously destroyed the national industry.
but, instead there being re-elected! this same party has been ruling for 16 of 20 years here. but that has more to do with intelligence of people (or the lack of it) than with the party itself.
as for lots of people not paying the taxes and still deciding about allocation of funds, i can understand fully!
mom and dad are private enterpreneurs, and they’re litteraly being sacked by the state!
they pay 60% or more to the state, but that’s not the worst part! the worst part is that people of the croatian minority in Bosnia have croatian state citizenship and routinely vote and fill the parliament with that same above mentioned party that ripped us off!
try to imagine this: and croatian state pours funds in Bosnia to the croatian majority, financing schools, hospitals, monasteries, electricity, whatnot, and those bosnian croats pay no taxes to Croatia, but they still, via voting, tailor our destines by continuilly tipping the scales for that same guys who destroyed our industry in the first place!
and then they complain that people here can’t stand them! go figure!!February 14, 2011 at 1:48 am #61094pennstatepittParticipant
Just a couple thoughts from an inexperienced ag-philosopher 😉 (Just starting with grazing, only just got out of college so acknowledge inexperience)
I’ve had a couple of lively discussions with the farmer (“conventional”) that I work for, I claim that modern dairy farmers are not in the food creating business anymore, that they are in the same business as Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo, i.e. turning corn into something that people want. While it seems counterintuitive to think that farmers are not food providers it is a sad truth, dairy, beef, pork, and chicken farmers are in the corn processing business. I think this is very important for a couple reasons:
1) feeding a cow 1 calorie of corn will return less than 1 calorie of human food resulting in a loss of energy to the human population-not insignificant in a world full of starvation
2) Pertaining to the environmental debate- proponents of big ag and confined feeding operations like to go on ad nauseum about how they are more sustainable because they produce more milk (meat, eggs…) per carbon equivalent. However, I think we need to look at a new metric (perhaps not new but I haven’t seen it used anywhere) of food produced per carbon equivalent. The more food produced per carbon equivalent the better (assuming that carbon emmissions is the best metric of environmental sustainablility which it probably isn’t but that’s for another time). Some of the heavy feeding operations may even come in with a negative result because this metric takes into account the human digestible food fed to the livestock (i.e. grains) and some of that energy will be lost to the animals maintenance energy. An all forage dairy will always have a positive result because humans can’t utilize forage. Also, a healthy soil will metabolize the methane produced by the cows on it (see Jim Gerrish’s last to articles in the “Stockman”February 21, 2011 at 11:19 am #61121jacParticipant
Just heard yesterday that a neighbour of ours across the other side of the valley is giving up. 100 cow herds are deemed too small and the big milk buyer has said he will stop lifting his milk because he still has tie stalls !!! A more laid back herd of cows you would be hard pressed to find. These are among the last of the old fashioned kind of Ayrshire cows. Dont know how to turn the tide…
JohnFebruary 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm #61038
I think you point out another area where the small farm local food movement needs help. Infrastructure! Your neighbor wouldn’t have to go out of business if there was someone who had the small milk hauling/processing niche covered. See the same thing with slaughter facilities in our area. Eventually, you’re not worth their time and effort. Banks pulled that one a few years ago – managing your pitiful savings account wasn’t worth it to them ….. hmmm what happened to those banks again?:eek:
I sure wish there were some entrepreneurial types who would take on those roles. It seems there are the consumers willing to buy and those who want to produce but the “stuff in between” that builds a community is missing. Unfortunately, that only leaves direct-marketing which is fine but I would like to see more options and viable small communities – not the mass exodus of commuters to jobs many miles off (my spouse included there).February 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm #61122jacParticipant
Think you hit the nail on the head there Geoff.. infrastructure.. The editorial in SFJ fall 2010 said exactly that.. Over here we had an example of modern infrastructure failing a traditional system that had worked for years. Youngs brewery in London has/had been brewing beer at the Ram brewery since around 1640 I think. They delivered beer to the pubs within a 5 mile radius of the brewery with Shire horses untill 2 years ago. They used the back streets and caused very little disruption and they delivered the beer very cost effectively… then the men in suits decided to cash in on the brewerys prime site in the centre of London and built a shiny new brewery/factory in an industrial estate out of town and of course the horses couldnt work any more , what with the motorways and traffic plus it was a lot more than 5 miles from the base… so the horses went.. another example of get big or get out. how to get the infrastructure back to suit smaller enterprise is going to be tough …
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