Catching back up on the local news here, I came across this story about a dairy farmer in the area that recently committed suicide. It appears he shot approximately 50 out of the 100 cattle herd he had, all the “milkers” that needed to be milked twice a day or would suffer horrific agony.
A lot of the farmers commenting on this blog post seemed to think this was a wonderful thing for the man to have done, to save his herd from the pain of mastitis. I ‘m not a farmer, nor do I have any family members who are farmers, so I don’t know enough to comment on whether it is or not, but I will take their word for it. He didn’t touch the animals that didn’t need to be milked or have significant care. I think that means something.
Another comment on that blog wrote about the money problems of farmers, especially dairy farmers, and how the “little guys” are getting squeezed out by the large dairy conglomerates. Yet another commented:
I am heartbroken for this man and his family. It is absolutely true that you get up every single morning worrying about being able to get by, how you will pay for ever more expensive necessities with an ever shrinking milk check. It is tax time right now and I am sure plenty of farmers have a tax bill sitting on their desk like something radioactive, glowing in the back of their minds like a nightmare…waiting for them to figure out how to deal with a bill that will probably take more then two milk checks, which are already needed for grain bills and power bills and last year’s crop inputs. etc…
I had never heard of his farm, and it’s quite a bit south of us, as we are in the NW part of this region, but I immediately thought of the farm I get my milk from and gave a little prayer for the deceased farmer, his family, but also for the ones I get my food (and milk) from. I’m hoping the money they get from me is enough (with others, of course) to keep them going for the long haul.
I’m grateful for those who do the dirty work of growing my food, who don’t get much money in return, but slog away because they love it. I wish the man had been able to reach out to someone, anyone, to stop him from giving the pain he felt to the rest of his family for all their lives. I do think suicide is a selfish act, but that doesn’t stop me from having compassion for what this man must have felt to have chosen this outcome.
Someone else (who did not know the farmer) wrote:
The saddest part is that he may have thought that no one cared anymore. I did.
It’s true. I didn’t know him either, but I cared about the work he did.
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