April 21 2017 08:00 AM

    When do you step forward to help?

    Easter and Christmas are the two days when most churches are standing-room only. A person must arrive at church 30 minutes ahead of the start of mass to try to get a seat. On these special days, those that show up 5 minutes before the scheduled start of church will find themselves standing or in an overflow room.

    The regular attendees know that Easter and Christmas bring in lots of new faces — out-of-town families, the son that mom drags to church twice a year, and the soon-to-be-married types that need to make a few appearances before the big day. Attendees squeeze and scrunch to get two extra people in a pew so they don’t have to stand, knowing full well that they will leave early. They are there to claim they attended. Don’t get me wrong, I like to see the church full. The regulars welcome them, even if we know it is just twice a year and for a shorter duration.

    I have just described what some call the CEO Catholics — “Christmas and Easter Only.” Do we have CEO dairy producers? Those that are “Crisis and Excitement Only.” You know the type — they are there to complain when the situation is far past dire and all that remains are the tears. Where were they as the situation was manifesting into the trouble ahead?

    Or, when the good economic times arrive (not lately), they are all smiles and attend every dairy function to tout their goodwill. I am sure we all long for those days. But they are few and far between.

    But what about those other days between the peaks and valleys? What actions are people taking when things are not dreary or bliss? I hope they are planning for what could happen.

    There has been an outpouring of support for the Wisconsin dairy producers who abruptly lost their milk market. Those in agriculture and beyond supported them emotionally — because that is all any of us really could do. There was much conversation requesting that something be done, but no one really had a viable plan that would be effective in a matter of a few short weeks. Drinking another glass or milk or eating one more scoop of ice cream was not going to help them.

    But the support they felt had to be some consolation as they actively search for a new home for their milk. Rallying around fellow producers in their time of need is an innate response that those in production agriculture feel, whether it is helping farmers who were victims of wildfires or those that face the loss of a milk market.

    But don't let crisis be the only time that you emphatically speak up for your friend or neighbor. There are countless small crisis in our friends’ lives that don't get attention, but that does not mean that they are not worthy of your compassion and help.

    So, when the end of the month rolls around and decisions about where that milk will be sent are made, don't stop thinking about and speaking out for others who need a stronger voice. You would hope they would do it for you if the time ever came.


    Patti Hurtgen

    The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars, and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.

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