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Dairy farming is dying: After 40 years, I'm done

Scorpio

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#1
Dairy farming is dying: After 40 years, I'm done


Jim Goodman

10 hrs ago




Editor's note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.


After 40 years of dairy farming, I sold my herd of cows. The herd had been in my family since 1904; I know all 45 cows by name. I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to take over our farm — who would? Dairy farming is little more than hard work and possible economic suicide.
A grass-based organic dairy farm bought my cows. I couldn’t watch them go. In June, I milked them for the last time, left the barn and let the truckers load them. A cop-out on my part? Perhaps, but being able to remember them as I last saw them, in my barn, chewing their cuds and waiting for pasture, is all I have left.
My retirement was mostly voluntary. Premature, but there is some solace in having a choice. Unlike many dairy farmers, I didn’t retire bankrupt. But for my wife and me, having to sell our herd was a sign — of the economic death not just of rural America but also of a way of life. It is nothing short of heartbreaking to walk through our barn and know that those stalls will remain empty; knowing that our losses reflect the greater damage inflicted on entire regions is worse.
When I started farming in 1979, the milk from 45 cows could pay the bills, cover new machinery and buildings, and allow us to live a decent life and start a family. My father had farmed through the Great Depression, and his advice — “don’t borrow any more than you have to” — stuck with me and probably saved the farm many times over.
We survived the 1980s, when debt loads became impossible for many farmers and merely incredibly onerous for the lucky ones. Interest rates went up, export markets plummeted after a wheat embargo against the Soviet Union, oil prices soared, inflation skyrocketed, and land prices began to collapse. More than 250,000 farms died that decade, and more than 900 farmers committed suicide in the upper Midwest alone.
Farms felt the impact most directly, but there were few in rural communities who were untouched. All the businesses that depended on farm dollars watched as their incomes dried up and the tax base shrank. Farm foreclosures meant fewer families and fewer kids, so schools were forced to close. The Main Street cafes and coffee shops — where farmers talked prices, the weather and politics — shut down as well.
As devastating as the 1980s were for farmers, today’s crisis is worse. Ineffective government subsidies and insurance programs are worthless in the face of plummeting prices and oversupply (and tariffs certainly aren’t helping). The current glut of organic milk has caused a 30 percent decrease in the price I was paid for my milk over the past two years.
Related video: Jones: Farmers 'scared to death' by Trump's tariffs (provided by The Associated Press)



The new farm bill, signed by President Trump on Thursday, provides modest relief for larger dairy farmers (it expands some subsidies, and farmers will be able to pay lower premiums to participate in a federal program that offers compensation when milk prices drop below a certain level), but farmers don’t want subsidies; all we ever asked for were fair prices. So for many, this is little more than another PR stunt, and the loss of family farms will continue. This year, Wisconsin, where I live, had lost 382 dairy farms by August; last year, the number at the same point was 283. The despair is palpable; suicide is a fact of life, though many farm suicides are listed as accidents.

A farmer I knew for many years came home from town, folded his good clothes for the last time and killed himself. I saw no warning, though maybe others did.

When family farms go under, the people leave and the buildings are often abandoned, but the land remains, often sold to the nearest land baron. Hillsides and meadows that were once grasslands for pasturing cattle become acre upon acre of corn-soybean agriculture. Farming becomes a business where it used to be a way of life. With acreages so large, owners use pesticides and chemical fertilizers to ensure that the soil can hold an unsustainable rotation of plants upright, rather than caring for the soil as a living biotic community.

Those dairy farms that remain milk hundreds or thousands of cows, keeping them in huge barns and on concrete lots. The animals seldom, if ever, get the chance to set their feet on what little grass is there. Pigs are raised indoors for their entire lives, never feeling the sun or rain or what it’s like to roll in mud.

All the machinery has become bigger, noisier, and some days it runs around the clock. Manure from the mega-farms is hauled for miles in huge tanker trucks or pumped through irrigation lines onto crop fields. The smell, the flies and the airborne pathogens that go with it have effectively done away with much of the peaceful countryside I used to know.

What kind of determination does it take for someone young and hopeful to begin a life of farming in times like these? Getting credit as a small farmer is more difficult today. As prices continue to fall, increasing production and farm size is often the only way to survive. But there is just too much — too much milk, too much grain, too much livestock — thanks to tightening export markets and declining domestic demand for dairy products. The situation is great for the processors who buy from the farmers, but it will never give the farmers a fair price.

With fewer farms, there are fewer foreclosures than in the 1980s. But watching your neighbor’s farm and possessions being auctioned off is no more pleasant today than it was 30 years ago. Seeing a farm family look on as their life’s work is sold off piece by piece; the cattle run through a corral, parading for the highest bid; tools, household goods and toys piled as “boxes of junk” and sold for a few dollars while the kids hide in the haymow crying — auctions are still too painful for me.

As I end my career as a farmer, I feel fortunate it lasted as long as it did. Some choices made long ago did keep me ahead of the curve, at least for a while. I always told people that 45 cows were enough for me, and being able to give them names rather than numbers and appreciate each one’s unique nature was important. I remember Adel, who always found her way across the pasture for a good head scratch, and Lara, whose sandpaper tongue always found my face as I milked her.

Cows like these didn’t fit into the “get big or get out” theory of farming that took over during the 1980s, so over the years, we needed to get better ideas or get out. By switching to organic production and direct marketing, we managed to make a decent living. We also found that this method of farming required good environmental stewardship and direct involvement with our rural community. And, for almost 20 years, it worked.

But organic dairying has become a victim of its own success. It was profitable and thus fell victim to the “get big” model. Now, our business is dominated by large organic operations that are more factory than farm. It seems obvious that they simply cannot be following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s strict organic production standards (like pasturing cattle), rules that we smaller farmers see as common sense.

Although small organic farms pioneered the concept, organic certification has become something not meant for us — and a label that mega-farms co-opted and used to break us. When six dairy farms in Texas feed their thousands of cows a diet of organic grain and stored forage, with no discernible access to a blade of grass, they end up producing more milk than all 453 organic dairy farms in Wisconsin combined. Then they ship it north, undercutting our price. We can’t make ends meet and are forced out of the business. We played by the rules, but we no longer have a level playing field.

Despite this, I hung on, but I couldn’t continue milking cows indefinitely. Perhaps it’s for the best. A few years before we sold our herd, we had to install huge fans in our barn — the summers were getting too hot for the cows to be out during the heat of the day. Climate change would have made our future in farming that much harder. We could have adapted, I think, but we ran out of time.

They say a farmer gets 40 chances. For 40 years, each spring brings another shot at getting it right, at succeeding or failing or something in between. If that were ever true, it isn’t now. That’s why, after my 40 chances, I’m done.


https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/mar...-after-40-years-im-done/ar-BBRgtlO?li=BBnbfcN
 

<SLV>

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#2
Interesting perspective. I live in rural Wisconsin surrounded by family dairy farms. The old guys are dying off and the families are selling out. My house is built on acreage of my wife's family farm that has been in the family for over 140 years. They quit milking about 20 years ago.

As an engineer for the world's largest dairy equipment company I spend a lot of time on large commercial dairies (5,000-10,000 cows). One of our customers controls 30-some dairies with a combined milking herd of 185,000. It is owned by two brothers who grew up dairy farming and a friend who went to business school. They figured out how to run a dairy business. The cows are comfortable, healthy, and treated well. During a recent visit they told me that the 5,000 cow herd at that location was producing 500,000 pounds of milk per day in three milkings.

I have yet to meet a milker on a commercial dairy who isn't Mexican. Most commercial dairies have a trailer park village for them right on site. The current immigration crackdown is pushing a lot of business to robotic milking to eliminate employment hassles. $15/hundred weight is the breakeven for robot dairies. We have been floating around that point for a few years now.

Dairy farming isn't dying; the quaint family farm is dead. Less than 250 cows doesn't make money. The barns are pretty, and the notion is romantic, but this is capitalism. Nobody is going to GIVE you a higher milk price. It is supply and demand. Business is tough. The tough survive. Evolve or die.
 

BarnacleBob

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#3
My SiL had two chicken barns that he sold around 2012... the prices were no longer worth farming chickens. He got out with a small profit, but most chicken farmers with debt went bankrupt back then. Factory industrial farming is destroying mom & pop farming operations...
 

D-FENZ

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#4
The new farm bill, signed by President Trump on Thursday, provides modest relief for larger dairy farmers (it expands some subsidies, and farmers will be able to pay lower premiums to participate in a federal program that offers compensation when milk prices drop below a certain level), but farmers don’t want subsidies; all we ever asked for were fair prices.
They say they don't want subsidies but like good little socialists they'll always cash their checks. And it's not just dairy farmers either. When are they going to figure out that subsidies only increase the supply and depress prices further? Economics 101.

...the summers were getting too hot for the cows to be out during the heat of the day. Climate change would have made our future in farming that much harder...
Of course no socialist's article bemoaning the loss of the idyllic good old days would be complete without some reference to 'climate change', just another excuse for more subsidies as near as I can tell. Must be from Madison- or at least Dane County.
 

TAEZZAR

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#5
Does "ADM", Cargill or Bunge, ring a bell ?
Our food is now controlled by a few huge corps. & this is not good !
 

hoarder

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#6
As independent diary farming disappears, so will any hope of obtaining uncooked milk. If raw milk was legal, these independents might have a chance.
 

keef

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#7
Dairy farming isn't dying; the quaint family farm is dead.~SLV

So, life is all about business today? Money? Bottom line? That's our brilliant thesis today from a guy who claims to be 'christian'. Bullshit.

Why not just celebrate the death of a community/way of life for generations? Death of family/neighbors? Death of ur greedy fkin soul?

Celebrate it.
 

DodgebyDave

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#10
45 cows is a hobby/money pit
 

keef

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They should turn it into a B&B with homegrown meals.
Yeah, the hardy atmosphere of Mexicans living in trailer parks? Sounds heartwarming.​


That can replace our western tradition which was mainly handed down to us from Victorian England.​
 

Fatrat

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#13
My Grandfather had a farm but none of his college educated children wanted it, so the land so sold to the big corporation and the house torn down. Farming is damn hard work and few people want that.
 

hoarder

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#14
Dairy farming isn't dying; the quaint family farm is dead.~SLV

So, life is all about business today? Money? Bottom line? That's our brilliant thesis today from a guy who claims to be 'christian'. Bullshit.

Why not just celebrate the death of a community/way of life for generations? Death of family/neighbors? Death of ur greedy fkin soul?

Celebrate it.
MONSANTO.......celebrate it. With the death of the family farm is the death of healthy food.
 

pitw

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#15
MONSANTO.......celebrate it. With the death of the family farm is the death of healthy food.
They still haven't taken away our ability to grow our own food. It may not pay well but the end product is worth it to me.
 

<SLV>

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#16
Dairy farming isn't dying; the quaint family farm is dead.~SLV

So, life is all about business today? Money? Bottom line? That's our brilliant thesis today from a guy who claims to be 'christian'. Bullshit.

Why not just celebrate the death of a community/way of life for generations? Death of family/neighbors? Death of ur greedy fkin soul?

Celebrate it.
That's the game. I didn't make the rules.

Anyone complaining that commercial textile mills have put wool spinners weavers, cobblers and tailors out of business? How about how blacksmiths were obsoleted by the advent of the automobile? Do you feel sorry for Blockbuster's demise to Netflix? Or Sears/Kmart being bankrupted by Amazon? Etc., etc.
 

Alton

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#17
Dairy farming isn't dying; the quaint family farm is dead.~SLV

So, life is all about business today? Money? Bottom line? That's our brilliant thesis today from a guy who claims to be 'christian'. Bullshit.

Why not just celebrate the death of a community/way of life for generations? Death of family/neighbors? Death of ur greedy fkin soul?

Celebrate it.
Ouch! Kinda rough there keefer!

Economic reality check-- it really IS all about the bottom line these days. Competition, whether domestic or foreign and a broadly poor consumer base has, as in past tense, already driven prices down to a point where the quaint family farm just cannot eek out a living. Join the "new" organic market!?! It was done. Again prices dived to the floor. Got any more bright ideas? I personally can't think of oe person with so much money that they are willing to pay higher than market prices to support a quaint family farmer or a superb blacksmith or a genuine craftsman. Such patrons do exist but you soon become their bitch because a decent living is nice and it is hard to go back to poverty.

Suppose our intrepid dairy farmer moved on to growing hemp and/or marijuana in his now cow-less pastures? Of course competition is happening hard and fast here. Though you can grow hemp in the field to compete against today's "medical marijuana" the marijuana MUST be grown indoors to deter free pollination and to control intense, high energy consuming crops to match or beat your competitors crops and harvests. Then put your product out in a market where more and more competitors are entering the marijuana production game. Yeah, good luck with all that.

My youngest nephew has spent the last 5 years working in advanced hydroponics and indoor "greenhouse farms". Hell! Even the Amish are experimenting with greenhouse farms! The promise of year-round fresh LOCAL fruits and vegetables is quite enticing. It's all organic and newer, more expensive way of cashing on the still trendy organic movement. The money is only trickling in. Why? They are on the tail end of investors in and builders of corporate BIG organic producers. Yep! It's still that niggling, always present quest for the bottom line. Gotta have money to live any kind of a decent life in America today. In oder to be a successful producer you have to go BIG. You know, it's the little details like regulations, income taxes, inflation...excuse me, quantitative easing and all for a dollar that is really worth...what!?! 4 mils? You do remember mils, right? a 10th of a cent. No, thanks to the central bank and it's minion government we have American style capitalism which means if you are a producer you either go BIG or stay at home...maybe you can find a niche market for something, become an employee or get in the welfare line, get fat on crappy fake food and die an ignominious death of some baffling disease rooted in malnutrition that no doctor can recognize or treat since it's NOT in the BIG Pharma manual or pill supply. Of course, there's always suicide which the insurance you can't afford won't pay for anyway.

Too much complexity. Debt passing for money. Too many parties involved. Theft by the name of taxes. All ultimately suffer and lose. So not really so simple as producers and community and values beyond and greater than mere money.
 

hoarder

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#18
That's the game. I didn't make the rules.

Anyone complaining that commercial textile mills have put wool spinners weavers, cobblers and tailors out of business? How about how blacksmiths were obsoleted by the advent of the automobile? Do you feel sorry for Blockbuster's demise to Netflix? Or Sears/Kmart being bankrupted by Amazon? Etc., etc.
False analogies, SLV. We don't eat clothes or automobiles.
 

<SLV>

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#19
False analogies, SLV. We don't eat clothes or automobiles.
So food production is not business? It should be exempt from capitalism? Do you recommend socializing the food industry? Eliminating competition? Price fixing? Please tell me how it is different from any other consumer good.
 

hoarder

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#20
So food production is not business? It should be exempt from capitalism? Do you recommend socializing the food industry? Eliminating competition? Price fixing? Please tell me how it is different from any other consumer good.
You don't eat other consumer goods. If we have bankers issuing money out of thin air to create giant food conglomerates and keeping us in the dark about what we're eating, is Capitalism still great? It isn't about ideology, it's about survival.
 

Scorpio

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#21
If raw milk was legal
I grew up on milk straight from the bulk tank,
we would skim the cream on top and save,

and it was the best tasting milk you will ever have,

the modern stuff, cannot drink it and don't go near it

45 cows is a hobby/money pit
used to be a living and a way of life,
alas, those days have since gone

the US does a incredible job of not only feeding its own slaves, but slaves around the world
remarkable

but, it does come at a cost, and it is for all to decide if the price is too steep
 

coopersmith

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#22
The cost of good food is LABOR, and some misc for seed and some handfuls of fertilizer, a bit of knowhow no doubt. were eating out of the root cellar now (and all the canned faire), in spring ill be grubbing on some mustard greens. And shitting like a goose.

What did that cost?
 

Treasure Searcher

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#23
If you wish to farm and/or ranch, you need alot of capital. By the time you buy or rent land, machinery, buildings, etc. that you need to run the operation, it is really a large investment.

Years ago, where my dad grew up, the top dollar to rent farm land was $14.00 an acre . Now in that same countryside, farmers bid up a farmland sale to sell at $6,000 an acre.

The bogus monetary policy in this country has created all this inflation. Lets focus on that, rather than blaming the people milking cows.
 

gnome

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#24
Farm bankruptcies surpass Great Recession levels in upper Midwest



Photo by: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images
An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found that 84 farm operations in the upper Midwest filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy from June 2017 to June 2018.
Why it matters: The number of bankruptcies filed by these farm operations is double the total from 2014 and even surpassed the mark hit in 2010 at the peak of the Great Recession. Current price levels and trends suggest the number will continue to rise, according to the report.

Details: The report examines filings from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minneapolis, Montana and Wisconsin.

  • Most of the farm bankruptcies were filed in Wisconsin at 50 total. Minnesota had 20 and South Dakota had 12. Both Montana and North Dakota each had one bankruptcy.
The state of play: Agriculture commodity prices have flatlined over the last year — with prices freezing on soybeans, milk, corn and beef. Farmers have also been hampered by President Trump's retaliatory tariffs on China, which particularly dampened foreign demand for U.S. soybeans.

Yes, but: A mixed Congress may bring a bit of relief to farmers. The push to get a farm bill done before the next session of Congress begins in January may result in renewed negotiations that restore protections for farmers.

Go deeper:

https://www.axios.com/trump-trade-w...czZIKORY3Xan4ib_iHotVbX2FgzhZL3Npwyn1wpeyeMsw
 

Scorpio

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#25
not just the inflation, but the .gov regulation,
the .gov created a bogus system of distance from max production zone, in their socialistic attempt to move milk production closer to larger markets.

fluid milk was a primary component of the Wi economy, and central Wi was chosen as ground zero. With that, the handcuffs were thrown on Wi dairy farmers, as the prices received by those in say Cali or NC were higher than those received by Wi producers.

This did encourage and was actually the genesis of the destruction of the family farm.

and yes, this was complements of your communist president LBJ

then came even more .gov support and regulation, leading to the 'farming of .gov' by corporations, wherein it became equally as important to know how to access and control .gov prices and subsidies as it was to grow corn or milk a cow.

--------------

1.jpg


https://dairymarkets.org/pubPod/pubs/EB9505.pdf
 

brosil

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#27
Taking the long view, it's a cyclical thing. It starts with everyone being farmers ( ancient Greece, Rome, Early America. etc). Some folks are good farmers, some aren't. The bad ones go to town and become city people, the good ones acquire more land. That keeps up until there are just a few big landowners. Then something happens ( war, plague, revolt) and the big farms fragment. Everyone goes back to subsistence farming. Rinse and repeat.
 

hoarder

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#28
Taking the long view, it's a cyclical thing. It starts with everyone being farmers ( ancient Greece, Rome, Early America. etc). Some folks are good farmers, some aren't.
It's different now. It's not just about good farmers and bad farmers in terms of production. It's about how much they are willing to cheat with herbicides and GMO and how they get married to banks and government.
 

Mr Paradise

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#29
Except now 95% of Americans don’t have the knowledge to grow a radish.

Good luck waiting a generation for that know-how to come back to the rank & file if the big food guys ever fail. Hope you have a lot of MRE’s on hand for your neighbors.
 

Treasure Searcher

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#30
Some folks are good farmers, some aren't. The bad ones go to town and become city people, the good ones acquire more land.
Farm subsidies keep bad farmers in business. They can keep making the same mistakes and the taxpayer bails them out. Drop farm subsidies and you will see the good farmers continue and the bad farmers fold.
 

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#31
Having grown up on a dairy farm I can attest to the earlier comments about whole unpasteurized milk - - there's absolutely ZERO comparison to the taste and quality.

The ridiculous charade that it's "unhealthy" to drink raw milk is yet another example of the bullshit lies the wealthy elites spin.
 

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#32
The degree to which legal tender laws, central banking, taxation, subsidies, mandatory insurance, the FDA and class-action lawsuits have distorted all industries and the economy as a whole is hard to comprehend for most. The current state of the dairy industry is just one such example.

That's the game. I didn't make the rules.

Anyone complaining that commercial textile mills have put wool spinners weavers, cobblers and tailors out of business? How about how blacksmiths were obsoleted by the advent of the automobile? Do you feel sorry for Blockbuster's demise to Netflix? Or Sears/Kmart being bankrupted by Amazon? Etc., etc.
Creative destruction, I believe it's been called.

It's interesting to consider how many businesses have successfully adapted and survived for many generations. Beretta has been privately held for almost 500 years -no kidding. Another business started out making leather straps and accessories for horse-drawn carriages in the US, was almost put out of business by the advent of cars, then went into the transmission belt business and thrived. Today they make advanced coatings and materials for the aerospace industry.

On the other hand, Andrew Carnegie's father, a former weaver, never recovered and couldn't handle being replaced by machines, so much so that he became a hopeless alcoholic. This left the family desperately impoverished, which led them to seek new opportunities across the water. However, his Dad was just as useless in Allegheny as he was in Dunbar, which forced Andrew to take his first job at age 6, working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for $1.25 per week. Of course, he made quick progress. By age 18 he was a millionaire.

Had the State interfered to subsidize weavers or to keep little Andrew from having to work, might he have turned out much better?


You don't eat other consumer goods. If we have bankers issuing money out of thin air to create giant food conglomerates and keeping us in the dark about what we're eating, is Capitalism still great? It isn't about ideology, it's about survival.
If you had capitalism, you wouldn't have fake money backed by the State.
Legal tender laws and central banks are completely, 100% socialist.
Free-market capitalists were always proponents of a free market in currencies, which yields a natural gold standard, as prevailed for at least 7000 years. Socialists were, and still are, the most fervent proponents of paper money issued by the State.
Keynes vs. Hayek.

 

hoarder

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#34
If you had capitalism, you wouldn't have fake money backed by the State.
Legal tender laws and central banks are completely, 100% socialist.
It's all a matter of who has the power to define it. If GIMers were in charge of defining Capitalism, then no, Crony Capitalism would not qualify as true Capitalism. But mass media and academia do the defining of words in our world.
 

Area51

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#35
Dairy farming isn't dying; the quaint family farm is dead.~SLV

So, life is all about business today? Money? Bottom line? That's our brilliant thesis today from a guy who claims to be 'christian'. Bullshit.

Why not just celebrate the death of a community/way of life for generations? Death of family/neighbors? Death of ur greedy fkin soul?

Celebrate it.

That's exactly it. Many peasants are too dumb to see what's happening here.

A half century ago, the majority of homes around here had a barn and a garden. Almost all are gone now - - replaced with subdivisions and strip malls.

The small family farm was a perfect example of self sufficiency - - grow your own food, raise your own meat and eggs, then sell/barter whatever you had left over.

It also instilled work ethic, discipline, and self reliance in children. By the time I was in high school I was working a minimum of 40hrs a week. Summers were spent slinging bales of hay - - not hanging around a mall or playing video games or loitering on street corners.

Amazing how some can't realize WTF is going on here - - just scratch their heads wondering why there's such a heavy reliance on government/big business or why young people are so pussified and lazy.
 

Libertaurum

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#36
It's all a matter of who has the power to define it. If GIMers were in charge of defining Capitalism, then no, Crony Capitalism would not qualify as true Capitalism. But mass media and academia do the defining of words in our world.
Yet you also contribute to it by calling the current system "capitalism".
Getting the MSM to use the right words may be beyond our control. Using the right words ourselves is not.
When you have bankers issuing money out of thin air because the State allows it, the right expression would be "is socialism still great?".
 

Area51

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#37
Yet you also contribute to it by calling the current system "capitalism".
Getting the MSM to use the right words may be beyond our control. Using the right words ourselves is not.
When you have bankers issuing money out of thin air because the State allows it, the right expression would be "is socialism still great?".

The current economic system definitely isn't capitalism - - but it's also not socialism, because only a select few are benefiting from the printing press and government handouts.

In the 1970s CEOs were paid 20x to 30x the average worker salary. Now they're paid 200x to 300x more.

Anybody want to try and insider that's "socialism"?
 

hoarder

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#38
Yet you also contribute to it by calling the current system "capitalism".
Getting the MSM to use the right words may be beyond our control. Using the right words ourselves is not.
Not just MSM, academia refers to crony Capitalism as Capitalism too. Common usage is beyond my control as well. All I can do is recognize it.
 

Libertaurum

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#39
The current economic system definitely isn't capitalism - - but it's also not socialism, because only a select few are benefiting from the printing press and government handouts.

In the 1970s CEOs were paid 20x to 30x the average worker salary. Now they're paid 200x to 300x more.

Anybody want to try and insider that's "socialism"?
Socialism is the means, not the stated ends.
Cuba was socialist even while Castro lived like a King while most people starved. Venezuela is socialist even as the Maduro clan thrives while others starve.
You seem to believe it is socialism only if it yields the results you desire.
Any time you have government forcefully interfering in the economy you have socialism. That it purportedly does so "for the common good" is basically irrelevant, because the systematic violation of people's individual rights, like private property rights, is in fact to the detriment of all. Whether it achieves a 1:1, 10x, 20x or 100x ratio between the salaries of CEOs and average workers is irrelevant: the end does not justify the means. Neither the State nor any majority have any legitimate right to vote away the property of even the smallest minority, the individual.

Similarly, any time you have free markets and individual rights, including private property rights, you have capitalism. Whether it results in 10x, 20x or 100x would also be irrelevant. The means (people making their own decisions about their bodies, property and time, free from force, fraud or coercion) are legitimate.

Not just MSM, academia refers to crony Capitalism as Capitalism too. Common usage is beyond my control as well. All I can do is recognize it.
YOU refer to it as capitalism, so why point the finger at anyone else?
Each of us can, at most and on our best day ever, control only one person in the Universe: Our own self.
Common usage may be beyond your control. Your own usage is not.
 

Pyramid

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#40
Amish dairy farmers at risk of losing their living and way of life as their buyer drops their milk
Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Published 9:01 a.m. CT Dec. 21, 2018 | Updated 10:45 a.m. CT Dec. 21, 2018

A group of Amish dairy farmers have lost their milk buyer, putting their livelihood and way of life at risk, as a crisis deepens in America’s dairyland.

Farmers across the nation are headed into their fifth straight year of low milk prices in a marketplace flooded with their commodity. About 700 Wisconsin dairy farms have gone out of business this year, an unprecedented rate of nearly two farms a day.

Now, a dozen or so Amish farmers in southern Wisconsin have been dropped by their milk buyer, Wisconsin Cheese Group, of Monroe, putting them in the tough spot that’s driven other farms out of business.

In a Nov. 28 letter to the Amish farmers, Wisconsin Cheese Group said that, effective Jan. 1, it has entered into a marketing agreement with Rolling Hills Dairy Producers Cooperative to purchase a milk supply for its Monticello plant.

Rolling Hills supplies milk to many dairy operations throughout southern Wisconsin.

"Unfortunately, the Cooperative does not accept Grade B or Amish dairy farm milk into their milk supply,” the letter said.

“You will need to secure a new market on or before” Jan. 1, said the letter, obtained by Pete Hardin, publisher of The Milkweed newsletter in Brooklyn, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin has hundreds of Amish dairy farms, including Old Order Amish who milk their small dairy herds by hand.

The Amish affected by Wisconsin Cheese Group’s decision could not immediately be reached to answer questions, but some close to the situation say it could be a dozen or more farms.
About six of them have formed a business venture to sell their milk to a cheese plant in Darlington, Hardin said Thursday, yet the fate of the others remains unknown.

“It’s hard to pin down the numbers … but come January 1st we will know the outcome,” he said.

A white knight for the Amish farmers is possible.Walter Weber, cheese plant manager for Wisconsin Whey Protein, in Darlington, said Thursday the plant would take a load of the Amish milk to determine whether it meets the company's quality standards.


If it does, he said, the company would become the farmers' milk buyer, but he didn't know for how many farms.
"Hopefully it will be a long-term solution for them," he said.

By naming Amish, is it discrimination?
Wisconsin Cheese Group did not return a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel call asking about the letter sent to Amish farmers.

Elizabeth Rich, a Plymouth attorney and president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund Foundation, said the letter raises a religious discrimination issue.

"I think it’s a legal mistake to identify the group from which they will not pick up milk as being Amish,” Rich said.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion or national origin. One theory would be that the cooperative engages in interstate commerce and therefore cannot discriminate against a protected class of people, such as the Amish,” Rich said.

“I do not believe their actions are justifiable. … Discrimination against protected classes of people (race, religion, national origin) is simply not allowed,” she added.

Most milk is classified as “Grade A,” meaning it can be used as a beverage and for butter, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. Grade B milk, not held to the same quality standards, can be used only for manufactured dairy products such as cheese.
Rolling Hills operations manager Mica Ends said there are several reasons why the cooperative didn’t want Grade B or Amish milk.

The lesser-quality product could contaminate the cooperative’s Grade A supply, according to Ends.
“It’s just a risk thing. We don’t want to risk losing markets or causing problems for our patrons,” he said.
The cooperative previously had quality problems with Amish milk, Ends said, and some of its customers refuse to accept it.

Also, for religious reasons, the Amish are reluctant to allow their milk to be picked up on Sundays, creating a logistics issue for the cooperative.

Rich says she has concerns about using that as a reason to exclude the Amish.

“This policy is potentially problematic, as many Christian groups refuse to transact business on Sundays,” she said.

Much of the nation’s milk supply comes from large dairies with thousands of cows. By contrast, many Amish farms have about 20 cows, milked in the way it was done a century ago. They have a strong presence in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Of 40,000 dairy farms in the U.S., roughly 12,000 would be Amish, according to Hardin.
About 10 percent of Wisconsin’s dairy farmers, primarily Amish, still ship milk to plants in large metal cans — the way it was done by other farmers decades ago.

“These farms remind us of what life used to be like,” Hardin said.

'It has to turn around sooner or later'
South of Cashton, home to one of Wisconsin’s largest Amish communities, K&K Cheese still processes milk produced by farms the old-fashioned way.

The cheesemaker supports about 300 Amish farms, most of them in Vernon and Monroe counties.

Amish own the building where K&K operates, but the plant is run by Kevin and Kim Everhart, who aren’t members of the religious sect.

“The Amish contract with us to make the cheese,” Kevin Everhart said, and it’s sold to the general public.

In a U.S. marketplace where there’s too much cheese, as well as milk, Amish farms are struggling like everybody else, according to Everhart.

“It has to turn around sooner or later, I hope,” he said.
Even if the Amish felt discriminated against by Rolling Hills or Wisconsin Cheese Group, they’re not likely to take legal action.

For religious reasons, they generally won’t sue someone.

“If wronged by another party, the remedy is prayer and meditation — not aggressive action,” Rich said.
The Amish trace their roots to hundreds of years ago in Europe. They are known for living simply, wearing distinctive old-fashioned clothing and shunning modern technology.

Although answering the question “Who are the Amish?” may seem easy, it’s wrought with complications, according to Joshua Brown, an associate professor of German at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Some groups allow limited use of technology to earn a living. For example, they may use a portable generator to power a battery for an electric livestock fence, but they won't hook up to the electric grid.

“One Amish group does not always fellowship or intermarry with another Amish group. One group may have yellow buggies, while another may insist on black. In Wisconsin, most of the Amish are Old Order Amish, though there are some differences,” Brown wrote on his website.

“The Old Order Amish in Fennimore and Platteville are more progressive than the Amish in Cashton. The Amish in Loyal and Neillsville are some of the most conservative Amish in the world, rejecting even orange slow-moving-vehicle signs on their buggies,” Brown said.

Yet even as the Amish have found other ways to earn a living, they've held strong to their farming traditions.

“They want to farm. It’s very important to them,” said Erik Wesner, publisher of Amish America, a website about Amish communities, culture and beliefs.“They’re still carrying on the small-family-farm tradition. … They feel it’s a good place to raise a family,” Wesner said.

However the dairy crisis that’s engulfed farms of many sizes across the nation has left Amish farms vulnerable, since the farms are small, and for religious reasons can’t be modernized.

“In some areas, such as southeast Pennsylvania and Holmes County, Ohio, many young (Amish) men who’ve come of age cannot find a farming career because farmland is scarce and expensive. One wise gentleman of the Amish faith explained that the community’s faith suffers when young men find off-the-farm employment,” Hardin said.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/mone...-farmers-risk-losing-their-living/2378827002/