21 April 2018


Waiting For Spring



Snow and cold are persisting here. I've been dealing with an annoying cough for two weeks.  but it is waning. Not much new to report. 

If you watched my Clear Dawn Onion Experiment video on YouTube four weeks ago, here's what the onions look like today...



The little peat pots were not providing the growing plants with enough root space, so I filled some toilet paper tubes with potting soil (mixed with a little alfalfa meal) and set the peat pots into the top. They fit just right, and the onion plants perked right up.

It's supposed to warm up next week. I hope to get the onions planted soon. And there is much more to do.... once it warms up!








14 April 2018


Planet Jr. Factory
In 1955



The short video above provides a rare look into the old S.L. Allen factory in Philadelphia, which I mentioned (and showed a photo of) in Yesterday's Blog Post. It shows not only Flexible Flyer sleds being made, but Planet Jr. planters, and walk-behind tractors too. The company even made snow skis.

The film provides a historical glimpse into a bygone era. America was once a country full of people who made things and, for the most part, made things to last (planned obsolescence was surely not something that S.L. Allen believed in). 

I think that hands-on work-making-things is the next best thing to hands-on-work-growing-things. 

But now, most Americans don't grow or make much of anything with their hands. They sit at cubicles and "work" on keyboards. Or they push buttons on machines and watch the machines do the work that humans once had more of a hand in doing.

The bottom line is that we all do what we have to do to provide for ourselves and our families in the techno-culture we live in. But there is surely a richness and satisfaction in life that comes with hand-work, and creativity outside of the modern paradigm.

If we can't find this satisfaction in our daily livelihood, we can at least pursue it at home, on our own time. 

But the culture we live in seeks to dominate and consume our spare time with an endless stream of entertainment, amusements, and techno-gadgetry. Such things are a cheap substitute for actually doing something constructive and creative.

I hope I'm wrong, but I sense that many of the younger generation today are missing out on this important aspect of life.

Probably every older generation going back to the earliest days of the industrial revolution have thought and said the same thing of the younger generation.




13 April 2018


The Planet Jr. Museum...
And A Planet Jr. Book In The Works

S.L. Allen and his wife, Sarah, in 1901
(photo link)

I've written about Samuel Leeds Allen in the past. He's the man who started the Planet Jr. company. This Essay In Particular is one I like because I shared some of the "Precepts of Samuel L. Allen," and they are very good precepts.

I admire Samuel L. Allen for his character, his inventiveness and for building a company that was known for treating its workers very well. 


Allen's unusual Planet Jr. name and logo was the inspiration for my equally unusual Planet Whizbang name and logo, which came about after I invented a wheel hoe design back in May of 2009. I Tell The Story Of The Logo Here. And you can learn all about my Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoe Here.

Since I first wrote about Planet Jr. and S.L. Allen back in 2009, interest in his company and the Planet Jr. line of tools has grown considerably. Planet Jr. wheel hoes, seeders, and ephemera can fetch big prices on Ebay.


The old Planet Jr. catalogs, in particular, are sought-after collectibles. I myself sell PDF downloads of the 1898 Catalog and the 1941 Catalog.




Last year, someone named S. L. Allen, IV purchased a PDF copy of one of my catalogs. I couldn't believe my eyes. S.L. Allen purchased a copy of a Planet Jr. catalog from me? I had to write this person.


It turns out that Mr. Allen is a direct descendent of the S.L. Allen of Planet Jr. fame. I told him that he has a great family heritage.


Then, a few weeks back, I wrote Mr. Allen with a question. I have long wondered if there is a Planet Jr. museum. I had heard that the Brandywine museum had a Planet Jr. display, but I couldn't see where that was the case online. If anyone would know of such a museum, surely it would be S.L. Allen the fourth! He replied as follows...

Sadly, I don't know of any one museum that has a very broad collection of great great grandfather's equipment.  There is a nice Flexible Flyer sled display in the Moorestown Library and I know of a very early Planet seeder in a different New Jersey museum but for the most part no one has dedicated a display of any large size to the bulk of the 99 years of the company.  The references you mention to the Brandywine museum I believe came from comments from my aunt Penny.  But while chasing down that lead I found that while there is still something called the Brandywine museum, it is not in the same state as the one originally referenced and it is an art museum, not one housing farm equipment. 

The state of NJ also had a collection that was run by one of the colleges in the midstate, but that museum closed some years back and they reportedly gave all of the equipment back to whomever leant it in the first place.
Thus, I'm sorry to say, there is no Planet Jr. museum. But there are a lot of serious collectors out there who are gathering old Planet Jr. tools. Perhaps one day it will happen.

In the meantime, I'm pleased to report that the great, great grandson of S.L. Allen is working on a book...

On a related note, I am personally trying to gather as much data as I can in the hopes of putting out a Planet Jr. book.  I hope for it to be similar to Joan Palacia's Flexible Flyer book, but I'm still collecting, scanning and collating at this point.  And while I personally own a fairly sizeable collection, I know of at least 4 people each of whom have collections that dwarf my own.  One fellow has close to 50 different Planet Jr tractors, another has several hundred seeders, etc.  It is my hope to work with them to help me with images for the book.  I suspect I'm over a year away from completing the research though-  I still need to scan several hundred more parts lists, manuals, ledgers and catalogs to have the base from which I begin the real work!
A lot of people are not aware that Planet Jr. made motorized, walk-behind tractors with all kinds of implements. Check Out This Link to learn about a guy who is farming with restored Planet Jr. walk-behind tractors. 



If you are interested in the history of Planet Jr. and the company that produced Planet Jr. tools, be sure to check out This Story about the old S.L Allen Factory in Philadelphia.




Fortunately, the remarkable home that S.L. Allen built in 1894 is in better shape than the factory. You can learn more about it At This Link.




Lacking a museum to visit, I'm really looking forward to Mr. Allen's Planet Jr. book. I'll be purchasing a copy, for sure. And I'll let you know all about it here when the time comes.



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04 April 2018


Speaking of Maple Syrup
And Communists



I'm sorry to see that the frog has been boiled in Quebec, Canada. 

Maple Syrup Rebellion tells the sad story of government tyranny over independent maple syrup producers. Translation... 

"You must join the collective, Comrade. You have no choice in this matter. After all, it is for your own good. If you do not play by our rules, we will destroy you." 


02 April 2018


Cousin Herbert
Outsmarted The Commies



I recently came across a February, 1992 copy of Yankee magazine that my mother had saved. On the front cover, as you can see above, she wrote "Keep this. Page 52. Herbert Philbrick." Page 52 and 53 of the article are pictured here...




My mother's maiden name was Philbrick. She told me that Herbert Philbrick was a relative. I think she knew the genealogical connection (some sort of cousin). Herbert Philbrick was famous for infiltrating organized Communist activities in the United States (as the article excerpt below explains).

People these days look back at the "Red Scare" of the late 1940s and 1950s and think of Senator Joe McCarthy's claims that Communists had infiltrated American politics, as well as other influential cultural institutions, like universities and the media. McCarthy's Senate investigation into Communist activities is most often portrayed as a witch hunt that ruined the careers of many innocent Americans.

A new word, McCarthyism, came into the dictionaries shortly thereafter: "The practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-Communist activity, in many instances unsupported by proof or based on slight, doubtful, or irrelevant evidence."

What gets lost in the recounting of American history is the fact that Communists were, in fact, well organized and actively working in American politics and culture during that time. Herbert Philbrick understood this because he was one of them. Here's how the article begins...
His name today sounds vaguely familiar, an echo from nearly half a century ago, a time when fear of Communism gripped America. From 1940 to 1949 Herbert A. Philbrick led three lives. In one of them, he lived in the suburbs of Boston, taught Sunday school at the neighborhood Baptist church, worked as a press agent for the New England office of Paramount Pictures. In a second, secret life he was a dedicated Communist conspirator who attended cell meetings in Beacon Hill, demonstrated against the government, and was twice arrested. His third and most secret life ended on April 6, 1949.
In the spring of that year federal authorities charged 11 top American Communists with conspiring to advocate the forcible overthrow of the U.S. government, a violation of the Smith Act. The trial in Manhattan's Federal Court quickly became one of the most controversial in American history.
On the tenth day of the trial the prosecution called 33-year-old Herb Philbrick to the witness stand. He was dressed in a a suit with a red-white-and-blue tie, and he told the packed courtroom he had been a member of the Communist Party. Then he stunned the defendants. "During the entire nine years of my activities," he said, "I have been continuously in touch with the FBI."
Philbrick was the government's star witness. He told how he had been trained to blow up Boston bridges and railroads and disrupt communications lines. The jury found the defendants guilty.
The article explains that Herbert Philbrick was encouraged to start the Cambridge Youth Council. He thought the purpose of the organization was to help kids, but those who encouraged him used it as a Communist front. When he realized what was happening, he went to the FBI. Philbrick is quoted in the article...
"As time went on during the nine years, as I advanced to higher levels in the party, I became aware of the absolute evil of this thing."
Here's another excerpt from the article...
Philbrick reached the inner circle of one of the most important cells of the New England branch of the Communist Party. Meeting on Beacon Hill to discuss tactics and strategy, he worked face to face with some of the people he was later to accuse in court. "You should have seen their faces when I stepped up to the witness stand," he says, "I thought they were going to have heart attacks."
And another excerpt...
Communists are professionals at duping people. Our State Department people, on the other hand, are amateurs. Put an amateur boxer into a ring with a professional prizefighter. Now this amateur may be a splendid fellow, love his mother, and go to church every Sunday. But if he gets into the ring with the professional, he's going to get his block knocked off, and that's what's happening."
And, this last quote...

"According to the best estimates I've seen, about 1,000 avowed Marxists are teaching in schools and colleges today and some of them are so hateful. Their message is 'Hate America.' We keep track. I have people— for example, recently the Marxists had a weeklong conference at a Big Ten university. I can tell you everyone who was there, and what was said, and what they decided. Marxists can teach, but not me. I was banned by many universities. Maybe due to McCarthy's excesses, there's a great suspicion and fear of anyone who is anti-Communist. McCarthy damaged us with his bumbling. But he was basically right. Still, people think we're nuts and screwballs."

Nuts and screwballs? For being concerned about subversive Marxist activists in America? 

Well, I must say, the media manipulators have done an amazing job (since McCarthy) of marginalizing any American who is concerned about any organized, subversive threat to our nation. The mainstream media are the the prizefighters that Herbert Philbrick spoke of in the above quote. And average Americans are total amateurs in the ring.

Americans no longer need to understand real history and true facts in order to come to their own conclusions. The media will interpret these things for us and tell us what our opinions should be. That's the way it works. 

And now, 26 years after that Yankee article was published, I'll bet there are considerably more than 1,000 Marxists teaching in the schools and universities of North America. Marxism has become fashionable. College campuses are now dominated by masses of duped fellow travelers and useful idiots.

Cousin Herbert died in 1993 at 78 years of age. I never knew him, but I sure do miss him. 

I'd like to think that there are a few Herbert Philbricks out there, infiltrating the subversive Marxist cells in America today. But I'm not optimistic about that.

This is Herbert Philbrick...







  


31 March 2018


Farewell To
Howard's Gouges





Two years ago I had an e-mail exchange with Howard King. In the course of our discussion, he sent me a photo of a wood dough bowl he had carved. I was impressed, and I told him I had always wanted to carve a dough bowl myself. Howard replied that he had most of the tools I needed and was looking to sell them. I said I would buy them. 

Howard told me exactly what tools he had to sell and the price he wanted to get. I hadn't really looked into the price of such tools and was surprised at how expensive they were. But when I did an internet search, I found that the price he wanted was not out of line. I ended up paying $600 for seven different carving tools.

After acquiring those implements, the only tool I lacked for carving my own dough bowl was an appropriate broad hatchet. For another $150 (or so) I could buy a decent hatchet online. Two or three times that would get me a more serious, top-shelf carving hatchet. But, considering what I had already spent, I decided to hold off on the hatchet. I didn't have the time to be carving a bowl then anyway. It would be a future project. So, Howard's carving tools went up on a shelf in my shop, and they have been there ever since.

That is, they were on the shelf until last week. That's when I reasoned with myself that I would probably never get around to carving a dough bowl, and I might better sell those tools. It's a lean time of year, and I really do need to do some purging in order to to better organize my small workshop.

Among Howards's tools were three unique, and somewhat rare gouges (pictured at the top of this page). When I first got them, I noticed that they had my initials on them. It hadn't occurred to me that Howard and I have the same initials of HK. But the initials were actually forged into the metal of the tools, and they were the maker's mark of Hans Karlsson, a man from Sweden. 

The HK

Hans Karlsson is famous for making the finest carving tools in the world. Karlsson's hand-forged tools are so famous, and in such short supply, that you can't buy them. 

In the US, you have to get on a waiting list to buy Karlsson's tools from a single seller, and the list is no longer taking names. Evidently,  there are more people who want to purchase Karlsson's tools than there will ever be tools to sell. Even the online European sellers of HK carving tools are all sold out. 

So, I listed all of Howard's tools on Ebay, hoping that I might recoup my initial cost, as well as the Ebay fees and PayPal transaction fees. The three HK gouges were listed in the auction format.

There was a lot of interest in the gouges. Over 40 watchers on each one. The auction ended last night. Those three hand tools fetched enough to recoup my original cost, along with selling fees. And there was some extra left over. So, in the end, spending $600 on the tools a couple years ago wasn't as crazy and fiscally foolish of me as I had thought it was at the time.

I'm relieved at the outcome of this story, and I'm perfectly okay with not making a dough bowl. But I have also long wanted to make a twig coffee table. The nice thing about twig furniture is that it requires only basic (and cheap) tools. A hand saw. A knife. A drill. 

Stay tuned for the HK twig coffee table. Someday...

And, in the meantime, keep watch for HK tools. Perhaps someday you will see a Hans Karlsson chisel for sale at a flea market. Wouldn't that be something!




30 March 2018


The Philbrick Farm Today


I woke up today to find that my Aunt Carolyn shared the above photo to my Facebook page. I have a Facebook presence only for maintaining contact with family and local friends. I don't like much of what Facebook does, but I stay for things like the picture above.

I need to mention that the photo was taken by Paul Cyr. Click his name to see his Facebook page, and his amazing photos from northern Maine.

That farm in the picture is on Forrest Avenue Road in Fort Fairfield, Maine, near the town of Easton border. My grandparents, Percy and Gertrude Philbrick, lived there. My grandfather was a potato farmer his whole life. Not a prosperous one, but he managed to keep the farm and support his family, which was no small thing. 

I don't think Percy ever travelled outside the state of Maine, except to Canada, which was only a few miles from his farm. Perhaps my own penchant to stay put is inherited from him.

My mother, Mary, born in 1936, was the youngest in a family of... maybe nine. Or was it eleven? I just can't remember offhand.

The Philbrick farm was bought by an Amish family years ago. It was the first Amish family to settle in that area. They have put a large addition on the house, and greatly expanded the outbuildings. The only outbuilding that was there back in the day was the red-roofed barn.

I mentioned this farm in my old Deliberate Agrarian blog a few times. I think it was Lynn Bartlett who commented back then that her grandparent's farm had been replaced with a casino. Ugh! 

But isn't that an apt metaphor for the decline of America... From small, hard-working family farms to big casinos, with all their artificiality, and the allure of easy money, not to mention increasing spiritual poverty.

Well, I'm thankful that I was able to know my grandparents and that place. Such good memories are there. I think back on some of those memories in a couple chapters in this book...




That is my grandfather and me, circa 1960. The book is available as a paperback or inexpensive e-book at Amazon.



29 March 2018


Solzhenitsyn


Jordan Peterson frequently recommends that people read Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. Many people consider the book to be the most significant piece of literature produced in the 20th century. 

The Gulag Archipelago was published in 1973, against the efforts of the Soviets to prevent it. They arrested and tortured Solzhenitsyn's typist (an elderly woman) until she revealed where the manuscript was. After they released her, she committed suicide. At one point the KGB  attempted to assassinate Solzhenitsyn.

The book was a bombshell when it was published. It laid bare the human atrocities of Soviet Communism. It told the truth about millions of Russians who were murdered or enslaved, and died in the prison camps. 

Solzhenitsyn wrote from his own experience and from the experiences of other innocents who were falsely accused of crimes, forced to sign confessions, and sent into the archipelago of gulags throughout Russia.

The Gulag Archipelago stopped all the European and American communist efforts dead in their tracks (but didn't kill them for good). It exposed Marxism as the morally depraved and dangerous ideology it is. It soon led to the downfall of the Soviet Union and its grip on Russia. The book was that powerful, and Solzhenitsyn was a remarkably brave man.

I am reading The Gulag Archipelago now. The writing is not hard to understand, but the realities of the gulag system are hard to deal with. The depravity of human psychopathy taken to its extreme is always hard to digest. I do not read fiction horror, and this book is non-fiction horror. As such, it is worse. But I feel compelled to read this book because it tells the truth.

I am also reading the biography, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile. I am enjoying the book very much (almost done with it) because it not only tells the life story of Solzhenitsyn, it reveals his journey from Soviet-indoctrinated atheist to Christian, and it is the Christian Solzhenitsyn that stands resolutely against the brutal Soviet empire. Many of his closest friends desert him when he reveals his deep Christian faith, but still he stands.

Solzhenitsyn is the ultimate example of speaking truth to power. 

The biography also explains Solzhenitsyn's disdain for the West. He recognized that the West was morally weak, and socially vulnerable. He resisted the political ideology of Right and Left politics. He didn't toe the line in either camp. Both the Right and Left despised him. 

Solzhenitsyn's political beliefs were surprisingly Jeffersonian. He rejected the economic and social fruit of materialism and industrialization. He believed in decentralized government. He advocated private land ownership, and a return to some form of Russian peasantry, like the Soviet system had so effectively destroyed. He advocated responsible stewardship of the land and natural resources. I dare say he was very much a Christian agrarian.

The media almost always misrepresented what he said. They reported his comments out of context. They twisted his words to mean things that he never meant them to mean. He eventually stopped talking to the media. He would speak to the world through his books.

I hope to say more about Alexander Solzhenitsyn in future blog posts here. He was a truly remarkable man. Jordan Peterson is correct in recommending The Gulag Archipelago. Solzhenitsyn has much to teach us—lessons he learned the hard way.



28 March 2018


"The Windshield Phenomenon"

The hover fly is one insect I'm always glad to see in my garden. 

There isn't a doubt in my mind that far more bugs of all kinds ended up getting stuck to the windshields, headlights and front grills of automobiles when I was a kid. This Article discusses the loss of insects, and begins as follows...

Entomologists call it the windshield phenomenon. "If you talk to people, they have a gut feeling. They remember how insects used to smash on your windscreen," says Wolfgang W├Ągele, director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany. Today, drivers spend less time scraping and scrubbing. "I'm a very data-driven person," says Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation in Portland, Oregon. "But it is a visceral reaction when you realize you don't see that mess anymore."
Some people argue that cars today are more aerodynamic and therefore less deadly to insects. But Black says his pride and joy as a teenager in Nebraska was his 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1—with some pretty sleek lines. "I used to have to wash my car all the time. It was always covered with insects." Lately, Martin Sorg, an entomologist here, has seen the opposite: "I drive a Land Rover, with the aerodynamics of a refrigerator, and these days it stays clean."

Have you noticed the windshield phenomenon? 


27 March 2018


Back Into Public Service



I was an elected councilman in my town (Sempronius, New York) for 18 years. Last November I decided not to run for re-election. But last night the Board asked me if I would serve out the term of another board member who recently passed away. I said yes, of course. 

The man I replaced was a retired dairy farmer who had been on the Board more years than me. He was a great guy. But four months to the day after being diagnosed with cancer, he was gone. Our monthly Board meetings won't be the same without him.

So, I was officially "retired" from public service for a little less than three months. Truth be told, I'm glad to be back. But I'm sorry it had to be under such circumstances.

The picture above is of Marlene and me last year. We're sitting where the town board sits for their meetings. But that's not in my town. We're in the board room for the town of Clay, New York, which is a suburb of Syracuse.

Under the table directly in front of us, within easy reach, is a red "panic button." Press the button and the police will be there in no time flat. Such things have become prudent in the culture we live in.

In my small, relatively poor, rural town, the Board sits around an inexpensive, six-foot-long table, in second-hand chairs, in a very plain room, and there is no panic button. We keep it real simple.

Last summer I was at the gas station in town and saw our County Legislator, who I've known for years. He told me he was going to retire, and he asked me if I would be interested in taking his place. He told me he thought I would be a good person for the job. That was nice of him.

But I have no interest in serving in any higher capacity than my local town. Then I would be thought of more as a politician, and I wouldn't want that. The best politics is local, and on the local level, it's really more "public service" than it is politics. 





25 March 2018


The Wisdom Prayer





The world we live in is a veritable minefield of foolishness. There are so many foolish ideas and foolish choices that are like explosive devices on a battlefield. 

But, unlike with a common explosive mine, we are often inclined to willingly step into foolishness, not fully realizing the ramifications of our actions. The damage to oneself (not to mention the effect on those beyond us) is so often not experienced immediately. 

In Matthew 10:16 Jesus uses another analogy (explosive mines were not yet invented). He told his apostles that he was sending them out into the world "as sheep in the midst of wolves." He instructed them to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." That admonition was surely not just for 12 apostles, but for all followers of Jesus Christ. 

Foolish ideas are like hungry wolves, looking for another meal.



That being the case, the Apostle James, instructs Believers as follows (James 1:5-6):

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

It's a simple thing to ask God for wisdom. I do it daily. The following prayer (by anonymous) resonates with my theological beliefs and my own pursuit of wisdom. 

Lord God Almighty, 
Creator of heaven and earth,
I come before you now, as your child, 
Seeking your guidance and direction.  
Your Word says that if anyone lacks wisdom, 
Let him ask of you, and you will freely give it.
So I'm asking you now for wisdom.
Not wisdom to feed my pride. 
Not wisdom to feed my selfish desires.
Not wisdom to feed my bank account.
Not wisdom to earn the praises of men.
But wisdom to understand what is right, and true,
And pleasing in your sight.
Then I ask for the courage and conviction
To act on that wisdom, and to glorify you in so doing.
In Jesus' name I ask this, believing. 
And I thank you.
Amen.



24 March 2018


The Problem With
Micro Farms



Centralized food production does not equate to food security for a nation, and micro farms, producing relatively expensive, high-quality foods do not either. 

Don't misunderstand me. I love the current renaissance of small-scale, localized agriculture. But micro farms do not feed most people in America, and they will never feed the dependent masses crammed into the urban centers of the nation. 

I've been thinking about this since I read This Blog Post at Two Sparrows Farm & Dairy. Here's the paragraph that got me...


This week, Dean Foods gave notice to 140 small family dairy farms in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio that after May 31 of this year, there will be no truck to pick up their milk. Walmart, the largest buyer of Dean’s milk in the region, has vertically integrated and will now be processing their own milk. But not from those farms. Those farms are too small for Walmart to waste their time with. And now, Dean has no avenue to sell those farms’ milk. After years of low prices, it is, likely, the final nail in the coffin for those farms.

Family dairy farms have been going out of business in America for decades. Most of these farms are (or were) operated by the same family for several generations. But I think we might be experiencing a new wave of farm losses.

After reading the above blog post I found my way to a 2016 documentary about dairy farming in New England. Here is the trailer for Forgotten Farms...




I couldn't find that film on Netflix or Amazon. So I paid $5 to watch it online at the film's website. If you have any interest in dairy agriculture, you'll appreciate the movie. It's well made, with an important message.

I especially liked the fact that one of the farms featured in the movie is Herrick Farm (a fine name!). It has been in the same family for 300 years. They milk 100 cows. They own 140 acres and rent another 200. 

100 cows is an average-size family dairy in the New England states. Fewer than 2,000 such farms remain in New England. 50 years ago, there were 10,000 dairy farms.

The movie explains that 75% of New England's pasture and crop land (that which hasn't yet been swallowed up by urban sprawl) is managed by dairy farmers. These farmers are taking care of the land, and keeping it out of development. 

Dairy farms are the economic backbone of agriculture in the New England states. They produce enough milk to supply the needs of people in that region, and more.

Meanwhile, diversified microfarms connected to the burgeoning local food movement produce about 3% of the food consumed in the New England states. According to the movie, New England imports 90% of its food.

One problem that Forgotten Farms points out is that family dairy farms (in New England) are not recognized for their important contributions to the agricultural economy. The new breed of micro farms are better with their marketing and public relations, so they get the recognition. 

Since such a small portion of the American population is involved in dairy agriculture (compared to in the past) few people are aware of, or care about the difficulties that small dairy farms are experiencing; their main difficulty being the ability to make enough money to stay in business. 

All most people know about conventional dairy farms is that they stink. And dairy farmers are looked upon as a lower class. The deck is stacked against family-scale dairy farms.  

I worked on a small dairy farm (around 75 cows) for a year after high school. The work was hard, and there was no end to it. I have a lot of respect for any small dairy farm trying to make a go of it in America today, and I grieve the loss of these farms.

How can conventional dairy farms manage to survive in a centralized agricultural system that is squeezing their profits and driving them to either get very big, or get out of business?

Well, they're going to have to do what the aforementioned Herrick Farm in Rowlee, Massachusetts is currently doing. They are augmenting the loss of income from their dairy (hoping the price they get for their milk will eventually rise) by tapping into the local-food and micro farm movement.

With the enthusiasm and energy of the younger generation of Herricks, the family dairy farm is now raising and marketing their own beef, eggs, poultry, produce, and so on.

Judging from the demographic information for Rowlee, they have the high family income and population density needed to buy the higher-priced Herrick Farm products.

So, Herrick Farm will probably survive this crisis (as long as people in their area continue to have the money to pay the higher prices), but a lot of other small dairy farms will go out of business.

My point here is that micro farms do not feed the majority of Americans, and the continuing loss of conventional small farms (most of them being dairy farms) does not bode well for the future of this country. It's just a crying shame.


UPDATE
A few hours after posting this, I became aware of this article in the NY Times: When The Death of a Family Farm Leads to Suicide. It is about the impossible struggle that some dairy farmers in my state (New York) are facing.


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