“Is it a soggy sentimentality for farmers to want their cows to be happy? Shouldn’t a businessman just worry about the bottom line?” asks Nicholas D. Kristof in an op-ed column for the New York Times. Kristof writes of his childhood on a sheep and cherry farm and features Bob Bansen, a dairy farmer who names all 230 of his milking cows.
Kristof believes Bansen is an exception to the norm, and when he asked him about whether it’s more important to make money or have happy cows, Bansen answered, “For productivity, it’s important to have happy cows. If a cow is at her maximum health and her maximum contentedness, she’s profitable. I don’t even really manage my farm so much from a fiscal standpoint as from a cow standpoint, because I know that, if I take care of those cows, the bottom line will take care of itself.”
Whether or not you name each one of your brood cows, I still think Bansen’s comments are shared by the majority of livestock owners. If you take care of your animals, they will take care of you -- it’s as simple as that.
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Although Kristof shared a negative viewpoint of agriculture -- mostly criticizing the poultry industry -- he ends on a positive note, “All is not lost. Family farms can still thrive, while caring for animals and producing safe and healthy food. I loved growing up on a sheep and cherry farm, even if that did mean getting up at 3 a.m. in the winter to check for newborn lambs, and I hope medium-size family farms remain a pillar of rural America. As Bansen’s dairy shows, food need not come at the cost of animal or human health and welfare. We need not wince when we contemplate where our food comes from.”
Read the entire column here.
What do you think about this op-ed piece? While many consumers think food comes from “factory farms,” 98% of farms are family owned and operated, and this is a statistic we need to make viral -- sharing it on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
By the way, take a minute to check out the photo gallery: Celebrating The “Workhorses” Of The Ranch.
Submit your own photo by Sept. 18 for a chance to win a $100 Farm Boy gift certificate. Check out contest details here.