Ever Dream of Becoming a Dairy Farmer?

 

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There are many among us who have dreamed of the good country life: living on a farm with cows, rising early to milk, and enjoying the fresh air of the countryside.

 

Not only does the lifestyle feel ideal, but it’s also a fairly attractive business. The United States is the second largest world producer of milk. While domestic milk consumption isn’t growing, global demand is booming. Export to China alone grew to $706 million last year, up from $137 million in 2009.”

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Don’t Have a Cow, Man?

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“Don’t have a cow” was popularized, and is perhaps only used, by Bart Simpson.

It is described in urbandictionary.com as a statement intended to “dismiss[] the other person’s feelings as overreactive…and or to minimize an activity as something not so bad.”

I wonder if Bart were to sit in Ms. Krabapple’s class and actually learn about cows, meat and milk in the US, whether the meaning of the phrase would change.  

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Cows and Trees in the Latin American Tropics

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“The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It is also the leading cause of deforestation in the Latin American tropics. For instance, in the Brazilian Amazon, raising cattle has caused “80 percent of rainforest loss,” a size currently comparable to a plot of land larger than France.

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Silent Deforestation in the Tropics

Why Log Truck Drivers

Rise Earlier Than

Students of Zen

In the high seat,

 before-dawn dark,

Polish hubs gleam

And the shiny diesel stack

Warms and flutters

Up the Tyler Road grade

To the logging on Poorman Creek.

Thirty miles of dust.

There is no more life.

   Gary Snyder

   

Senior year of high school, I flipped through my social studies textbook and saw a photograph of protesters marching against deforestation. I don’t remember what land they wanted to protect, but I remember seeing a hippy-looking lady holding a sign that read:

who will speak for the forest?

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Agricultural Pests and Ecological Uncertainty

House sparrows coevolved with our domestic crops. They abandoned their migration patterns and made their home along our farms, silos and waste. As their population soared, so did their reputation as pests and people reacted accordingly.

Beginning as early as the eighteenth century, formal attempts by  European governments emerged to wipe out the sparrow. In parts of Russia, citizens received tax breaks for the number of sparrow heads they sent in to the government. US cookbooks made sure to include sparrows in recipes.

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From Farm to Sky to Poetry

The crops we grow and how we grow them have substantial and often unnoticed influence on our world. While most people can acknowledge how our crops may contribute to water pollution and global warming, many don’t recognize its influence on our arts and culture.  

King Solomon, Catallus, Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams, writing over a span of more than two thousand years, in different corners of the world, use the same brown, white and black little bird, the sparrow, to reflect on their poetic realities.

Catallus writes that his lover allowed the sparrow to “perch on her bosom,” in ancient Rome.   

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Building Agrilationships with Social Media

More farmers and environmental-enthusiasts are using social media to develop meaningful connections virtually and face-to-face.

For instance, a new trend has picked up in the farming world to share farm “selfies,” a.k.a “felfies.” Explained in a recent Guardian post, “pouting at a camera isn’t the preserve of trendy young urbanites,” rather it’s the trend of all kinds of people with lifestyles that make it hard to maintain an active communal life; and farm life can be isolating.

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Sharing Food, Sharing Language

Most of us read the news that compels us, watch what pleases us on TV, and ignore the things that don’t. Technologies like Google, Facebook, and Hulu have enabled us, with just a click of a button, to construct personalized worlds that satisfy our little microgenres of curiosity.  

 

A gift of course, but one that brings some trouble. Frank Bruni points out in a New York Times op/ed that as we deepen our investment in our little microgenres, we lose out on a deepened shared culture.  There is no single TV show we all watch or book we all read. With less shared culture we lose some of our shared language. With less shared language we lose some of our “connective tissue,” and many of us feel fragmented from each other because of it.  

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Ever Dream of Becoming a Dairy Farmer?

There are many among us who have dreamed of the good country life: living on a farm with cows, rising early to milk, and enjoying the fresh air of the countryside.

Not only does the lifestyle feel ideal, but it’s also a fairly attractive business. The United States is the second largest world producer of milk. While domestic milk consumption isn’t growing, global demand is booming. Export to China alone grew to $706 million last year, up from $137 million in 2009.”

Continue reading “Ever Dream of Becoming a Dairy Farmer?”