Monday, October 7, 2013

This Is Not a Factory Farm

Somebody sent this video to The Farmer (on a post about potty training of all things!)

Mississippi Milk from Barefoot Workshops on Vimeo.

Is this factory farming? Is it a factory farm? He works, like us cows, at a business facility manufacturing a product, milk, for sale to consumers. Could you not describe Ford Motor Company the same way?

He and his family are obviously an awesome example of the American entrepreneurial spirit. Man sees a need and creates a business to fill that need. How could anyone have anything but well wishes and support for this man and his family?

Is it a model for the entire dairy industry? Should "factory farms" be outlawed as a commenter suggested in a previous report and farms only of 8-12 cows be allowed? No, obviously that is a terrible idea. This dairy is well serving a niche market, but how could farm operations of this size meet demand for milk and all other dairy products? As I have said before, there is room for all sizes in the market.

As a cow, I still ask what is factory farming? At what size then does a farm incur "factory" status? The farm I'm on is ten times bigger than the one in the video. Ten times! Do I then reside on a factory farm? Is fifty okay, but fifty-one cows too many? Is five hundred cows okay, but five hundred and one too many?

Is factory farming defined by meanness to animals? The commenter was aghast at violence against animals and rightfully so. Is it only big farms that are mean to the animals on them? Could you not have five animals and still be cruel to them? One bad apple can spoil the lot, so why then are all farms punished for the sins of the few? Ask a mother, like me and my calves, which offspring she has the most love for. She would respond that she loves them all no matter how many calves, or babies, she has. How so are farmers like this toward their animals. They all have value.

Are there bad farms? Yes, unfortunately there are and there are also bad people, but I hope the entire human race is not condemned for the actions of the few. Factory farm is a generic term tossed around that is all about emotion just as in the Chipotle video I wrote about it. People should not allow emotions to be the basis of all of their opinions when the actual facts of the matter tell a completely different story. Read about CAFO: "The Auschwitz of Livestock?" by Holly Spangler to find out how the facts outweighed an emotional appeal to sway one group of moms.

Agent 101, reporting from the Udder Side.


  1. I don't see why all the fuss is on the "factory" label and its headcount. "Productive" versus "Non-Productive" would make more sense for the dairy industry: Stressed cows do not produce as much milk. Right ladies?

    It's always been my assumption that the "factory" farms are more the feed lots where the fattening up takes place. Am I wrong about that? I always assumed the dairy cows had a much richer life. Then again, I read a lot of 19th century British novels that are filled with cows frolicking in fields. That might have clouded my thinking.

  2. I like your approach to production! The "factory farms" are usually applied to any farm that has many (but how many is too many?) animals at one location.

    As far as dairy farms go, some farms are like mine where we get go out everyday and spend the majority of our time frolicking. :) Others are kept inside during times of bad weather and let out when the seasons are nice. Some operations keep us in climate controlled environments. They often have sand filled places for us to lay in, and even sometimes waterbeds to keep us comfortable!

    Now if we could make cable television and high speed internet mandatory on all these farms......

    -Agent 101