Up at 3:30 - 4 a..m. Get out of the nice cozy bed, slip out of the just perfect temperature sheets. Try not to awaken the wife. Go out into the bone-chilling northeast wind. Fine sleet pellets going down the back of the neck; darn hood won't stay put in the wind. Almost slip on the clear ice (remembering last year when you did fall, hurt the back really badly. Lost a week's work. No work - no money).
Or awaken at an ungodly hour, not really rested - much too humid. Sheets stick to you from never ending sweating. Still tired, almost lethargic and wondering why do I stay here? 365 days a year. Why did Dad leave me this thankless, unappreciated job? I guess I have to admit dairy farming is in my blood.
Am I a dairy farmer ? No. It's just seems to me that the dairy farmer or small family operated farmers get screwed every which way possible. And most people don't really notice until something major happens. Imagine working for a humongous company and going to a board meeting and say: "It cost me a dollar (one lousy buck) to produce my product and all I can get for it is a price fixed by some politically appointed non-farmer, is a dollar ten. Yet you guys can and are selling it for $2.43."
The prices may be incorrect (probably are) but the news of the dairy farmer is not. I have known dairy farmers and around here every farm is family run. Good people, raised good kids. I remember when milk came in glass quarts; cream separating in the winter months and people complaining when the milk wasn't at the doorstep in snowy winters. They'd say that the farm wasn't that far away and so what if the farmer risks his life to be on time? Of course the consumer likes low prices but isn't it time to acknowledge the fact that the small, family operated farm parallels the fate of the dinosaurs? I wonder where the millions or billions from the government (state and/or federal) really go. Most likely to the large conglomerates that have powerful lobbies with perhaps a small trickle going to the little guy!
Still want this job? Low pay, maybe average pay in a "good" year. Maybe you're the dairy farmer seriously considering the offer from the guy who wants a new development where your farm is. You think that now you could afford to send you kids to the college they want to attend and not the one that you can barely afford. Of course the consumer would blame you because the farmer next door didn't sell his farm and those nasty odors, the crowing rooster, the pig ponds, and whatever else they could blow out of proportion. Fear not, sooner or later the supervisors will pass an ordinance regulating them and smile that macadam now replaces farm land. Drink up, drink a glass of $4 milk and smirk that you showed them who's boss !
There was a song many years ago that said "take this job and shove it."
Still want it?
Joseph P. Kubert