Have you ever heard the phrase "politics is not a spectator sport"? Dairy farming isn't either. We're not talking about actually working on the farm or not - rather - standing up for what we as dairy farmers do on a daily basis. It would be easy enough to simply go about our daily chores just as we always have and turn the TV off when the news station lamblasts a hog farm half a world away for what they do. Mark Hardesty, D.V.M., author of the Cowside Practice column in our magazine put it best in his July 2009 column when he paraphrased a well-known poem by Rev. Martin Niemollers.
They came for the mink rancher, and I didn't object - for I had no mink
They came for the veal producers, and I didn't object - for I fed my calves grain
They came for the egg producers, and I didn't object - for I had no hens
They came for the swine farmers, and I didn't object - for I had no sows
They came for me, a dairy producer - and there was no one left to object
Last week, Erin Jones of Homer, N.Y. stood up for the dairy industry by starting a Facebook group called "I support dairy farmers." In just a week, the group grew to over 12,000 members. The group doesn't just consist of dairy industry advocates either; plenty of consumers have joined to show their support,too. Jones said she started the group after her sister became frustrated over an English essay she recently read which criticized dairy farmers.
Ironically, that same day was when ABC's Nightline aired an investigation of a New York dairy farm. Jones says that, "I was on Facebook and decided to see if there was a support group for dairy farmers and could not find one, so I decided to create one myself. I never expected for it to grow the way it has." Clearly her support caught on. Our question to you is what are you doing to stand up for dairy farming?