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The udder truth

When someone gives you the blog post title “udder truth” it can only lead to a heartfelt and honest, middle finger to the year that was.

When 2018 began I was hopeful of a dairy turn around. I was optimistic {and I’m rarely optimistic about anything} I was really anticipating that the price of milk would increase and I was wrong, with milk prices at $14.64/cwt with a $2.46 ppd swinging to $15.77/cwt and a $2.42 ppd {there was a $13.97/cwt with a $2.87 ppd in there too}.

*For my non-farming friends CWT means for every 100 pounds of milk, and PPD is a deduction per 100 pounds of milk to find a market for our product. Don’t worry about breaking this into gallons, btw it’s 8.3 in 100 pounds, and trying to decipher what we get paid per gallon – there’s a lot of other deductions that come out of that cwt, like hauling and promotions, membership dues, etc. AND then we still have to feed the animals, pay the electric, buy the supplies, pay the hired labor, and if we are robbing Peter to pay Paul we slide a bit over to the miscellaneous expense category to buy a freaking bottle of wine or 5th of whiskey because ain’t nobody got patience for this shit

Milk is supply and demand, but milk is also something I provide and have no control over what I’m paid…hence the continued realization that I AM. A. STUPID WOMAN. to every day go out and every night know I’ll do it again.

Unfortunately this year we lost a lot of farms. Farms of all sizes moved their cows out barn doors and hung up their milker’s. Farmers received suicide prevention pamphlets with their milk checks, some farmers didn’t even receive milk checks because their mortgage came out first. We’ve lost many people in our industry, and many who are still here are sad, stressed, and angry. This year we had moments where milk would increase a bit, or we had the opportunity to buy into a milk insurance program that didn’t suck, but then weather set us back. The summer was dry when we needed moisture and fields flooded when it was to late… without feed for our cows and without money to purchase more, the stress increases.

Farm families are looking ahead; do they have the money to plant crops come spring? do they have the ability to farm another year like this one was? is there a different direction they can diversify into?

Right now THIS farmer is looking back in reflection and forward in a positive light, with my rose colored glasses. The udder truth is I can’t be optimistic about the dairy industry right now, because I can no longer operate my business on the guise that next month will be better. Some people say get use to $17.00/cwt milk, but I DIDN’T even see that in Michigan this year so how can I get use to it! Some people say get ready to start hauling your own product, but that’s unrealistic as a small farm and then continues the painful realization that our own industry is so against each other. Some people say just ONE more year, hold on till 2020, to which I roll my eyes and mumble an inappropriate word.

The udder truth is I’m going into next year prepared for my husband and business partner to find a job off the farm, and it terrifies me. The truth is that from 2018 I learned how to walk blindly but I can’t continue down that dark path, I need a plan and a whole lotta prayer.

I chased down a dream this year and instead of celebrating from the hard work, I learned that rejection only hurts as much as you allow it. I’m not emotionally stronger than before, I’m just numb to the things I cannot control — an area of my life that still requires growth.


The BEST part of 2018 was utilizing this platform to meet the most wonderful and inspiring people. Without it I wouldn’t have them to lean on nor would I have had the opportunity to share a drink with them.

The udder truth, as I teeter from 2018 into 2019 is I’ll continue to be here, both virtually and in my shit boots, terrified of the unknown and positive that HE will guide me in the right direction.

 

Xo, from my family to yours — happy Moo Year

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