I was laying in bed when I received a text with the worst news any farmer can get....a barn burned. A little back story to what the dairy industry is facing in TN, Dean Foods is cutting contracts with many dairies which is forcing farmers to shut down their operations. The worst part of this was, he hadn't received a letter. He should be wrapping up the morning milking right now but instead he is cleaning up the mess and making sure his cows are safe at the neighboring dairy. He is a farmer and he will continue on with the cards he is dealt. I left for class today untouched and as I passed my Dad loaded with dairy cows; it sank in that this mans life had changed. This farmer is resilient, he may be going out of the dairy business but his plans still include doing whats ingrained in him, raising crops.
Update: I helped haul the following day. Tuesday I decided community was more important than class. There was a farmer in need and I was going to do anything I could to help whether that be milking, loading, or driving. We pulled up to the barns, where the parlor was still smoking, and a family stood with their cows ready to give them away to new homes. It was hard, for me to load the cows onto trailers knowing they wouldn't be back. It was so hard working alongside the farmers load the last load which I got the privilege to haul. Yes, it is a privilege. It is a tragedy what happened but it was so heart warming to see the community surround around this family in their time of need. It was uplifting to drop a load off and the farmer be so welcoming that it will now take him 5/6 hours to milk the herd but he would never think about turning down a friend in need. There is a lot of talk about what to do next. The cull cow market is in the tank and the farmers that opened their barns up can only feed extra cows for so long.
|We had a army of people and trailers helping get the cows to parlors to be milked|
|The last load|
|Farm #3 where we hauled the last load|