Trautman Family Farm

  (stoughton, Wisconsin)
The Grass-Organic Life in Wisconsin!
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Legalize Raw Milk NOW - Governor sign that bill: Capital Square, noon Saturday May 15th

Governor,

Respectfully.

You need to be listening to a different group of people than you are right now.

Dairy "Industry" bigshots and lobbyists -

They sure like to talk about how important the dairy INDUSTRY is to Wisconsin, don't they?

What are they doing to Wisconsin Farmers, though - are we important? Can we have one without the other?

I'm thinking we need a show of force to demonstrate the truth.

Wisconsin farmers have been feeding their families and friends raw milk for 150 years. More people every day are finding the benefits of raw milk.

While Wisconsin's "Dairy Industry" exterminates family dairy farms - over 2300 last year alone - and adds to the giant CAFO's - Confined Animal Feeding Operation - Wisconsin's farms die, record profits for the dairy industry.

Is this really what Wisconsin wants? It's only the "Dairy Industry" that has this future in mind for Wisconsin -

Let's show the governor and everyone - our clear vision of a different future - one of jobs, prosperity - pride - and farms - lots more farms, not less and larger - smaller and more vital. I am talking about a New Golden Age of Dairy in Wisconsin, starting right now - with the signing of this bill, Governor - sign it - trust us - trust the farmers of Wisconsin.

Sign that bill, Governor!

MILK DUMP - 7th month for Trautman Family Farm, organic 100% grass dairy - the pride of Wisconsin Dairy -

NOON - CAPITAL SQUARE Madison WI Saturday May 15th

Scott Trautman, Proud Wisconsin Dairyman

 
 

Risk factors I see

I have gotten a number of responses about 'risk factors'.

There are some patterns amongst them.

I think you'll find patterns in my risk factors, consistent thought processes.

Today I'll start on what I believe the major risk factors are. For us. Not others; us. Because ultimately, all I can do is here. I can suggest, I can influence, but I have found, others are going to do what they're going to do & justify it to themselves however they are. Walking bubbles of perfection; far too many of them.

I'm finding it interesting that not a single sanitarian has bothered/graced us/whatever any kind of response to risk factors. Funny how lazy they are. Relying on dogma; I wonder if you asked them just how well they could explain - well - anything - how much they've truly thought about any of it. Lazy thinking. Just rely on what someone else told you, then keep repeating it, maybe that will make it the truth. We shall see!

These are the top 5 risk factors I have identified. I will give my solutions to the risk factors that others have sent me; a lot of them are beyond themselves, things others need to do. I wish more would have focused on themselves and what they could do, not what everyone else needed to do, because they just aren't going to be able to do much about it. Like our healthcare. Sit around and bitch about how everyone else ought be doing something. There is no progress there until we take it unto ourselves and start with us. Folks, it is a habit, hard to establish but worth it.

Well, I am starting with us.

#1: Cows as carriers of pathogens and putting them out in the milk

a) I question the basis of the premise. With any of 'their' talk, WHAT cows are they talking about? Confinement, poor immune system, stressed animals. I want them to pony up the hard data that says any cow under any circumstance will shed pathogens in the milk at any time. That is ridiculous.

We're talking "Typhoid Mary" type of situation. Scary stuff. So let's even examine Typhoid Mary - a long long time ago, she spread it around a lot. Funny though, why isn't there thousands and thousands like her; if there were, why aren't we all dead. So: being a carrier without being ill is exceptionally rare. Have any of our sanitarians examined this, for relevance? Very very doubtful, as what they would find, in a healthy, not pushed herd, the probability of them being a carrier is very, very low. Fluke low; hit by lightening and less low. So even though it is number one on my list - it's there because of my perception in what is being said, this is the major 'cause' of potential outbreaks.

So, I reject the premise, but so what if I accept the premise. What can I do?

1. Healthy animals would have very reduced probability of cause. HOW much, is the debate. The enemies of family dairy farmers don't want you thinking about the probabilities; they throw up their hands and say it's just too risky, then refuse to talk or think about what that risk is, and how it compares to any other risk.

Healthy animals: As in track history. If you were looking for raw milk, what do you know about the track history of your farmer. The cows look fine today when I'm out there looking at them; with that, what would I really know (as an uneducated consumer) to know the difference. What would I look for? If they're standing around in crap and looking very miserable, that is obvious. I would hope any idiot could figure that out. But who is going to show you sick cows? Who is going to pull out the health records and SHOW you just how healthy their animals are?

I am.

And I'm going to have it confirmed by those in the know.

a) my veterinarians. They know healthy herds. They know good management. Early on in this whole 'thing', I had my vet out to look at our cows, giving each a thorough examination. Only thing she could find is feet need trimming (I agree).

b) my organic certifier. Some say, I don't need to be certified organic, I let my customers 'certify' me. Well, yes, that is great. But what sophistication are those 'certifiers'. I am here to tell you - you wouldn't have to be that smart to completely pull the wool over the eyes of 99.9% of consumers. Organic certifiers are professionals, and have ways of figuring out if you are cheating.

I for one WELCOME the scrutiny by professionals of what we are doing. Bring it on. Teach me something in fact.

I have a story about that from back in the Internet days. A person calls me, owner of the company to tell me how thrilled she was with tech support person x. "They stayed on the phone with her for hours solving this problem". Okay, thank you much. I checked into it. That poor person did not need to be on the phone for hours - my tech was under trained and put her through a whole bunch of unnecessary stuff when the solution was but a few moments of her and our time away. So I did NOT just sit and think, boy do I have great support, I examined further to REALLY give good support. That's the same type of thing we get with farms. What you SEE, what you are TOLD sounds really great. But who's going under the hood to find out what is really going on. That organic certifier is. The paperwork will show it. The rules insist on it. I like that a lot.

Regular non-organic dairies? Let me show you some "Grade A" dairies - in fact, I'm certain I will - because our DATCP Food Safety simply cannot allow a hell hole like our farm to be Grade A, when the truth is they know damn well that we beat out 95% of ALL Grade A dairies in the state. This is them using their power for evil, period. Well, we shall see about this, we really will, we'll get a clear view of the level of professionalism Food Safety shows, and what that coveted "Grade A" really means. Me thinks you'll want to throw the bums out and start fresh.

Back to the issue - cows carrying pathogens. Rebuke the idea that their is any reasonable evidence anywhere to show that healthy - long term healthy - cows, not as they stand right this minute, but long term healthy cows - do not carry pathogens and shed them.

What can cause them to shed pathogens, presumably? Situations - generally of stress - where their immune systems are lowered or otherwise taxed. For a cow - directly after she's fresh for that first month or so is a stressful time. Any environmental stress, or herd stress. Solution? Minimize the stress; strong immune systems (as shown through long term health) and the possibility of testing during these stressful times. Test randomly all the time? Silliness. It will be suggested, and the purpose won't be to find solutions, it will be to drain the farmer of money to make the milk more expensive. It will solve no problems. You will find that absolutely consistent amongst our sanitarians, especially as is concerned with raw milk. Bleed the farmer to death. FDA has tried that with Mark McAffee at Organic Pastures. They will try it with us.

I would propose:

1. establish just what probability there is that any given proven healthy over time cow will carry and shed pathogens. That is study. What we'll find though, from our University, is a complete lack of interest in this study. Alright, then let's take a closer look at what they are interested in studying, and who that benefits. Look - very - closely. Maybe not just their leader ought go to the dairy industry. Maybe the whole lot of them should work for the dairy industry, since they are already and we are paying for them to do so and have this lack of curiosity about anything WE the PEOPLE care about.

2. Assuming there is some kind of reasonable probability and circumstances, when should testing be done. Most likely in times of stress. Post-fresh would be the best time. I would look at ways to put milk samples together over time and test them to get the highest probability of finding any pathogen. Not just on one particular day. A sensible testing protocol with the highest probability of finding a problem with reasonable certainty.

3. Establish just what is considered a healthy cow. Today? This week? This year? Our calves, for example, have never been sick a day in their lives. Our very first, born here on the farm, has now come into the milk line. NEVER - BEEN - SICK - A - DAY in it's LIFE. Someone explain to me how it is reasonable to believe that cow would shed pathogens. That's right, it is not reasonable one bit. So we won't have a conversation with our sanitarians about that, now will we?

Major risk factor #2: "crap in the milk" - I will talk about that next time.

Notice a pattern from my side - and 'their' side. We are about solutions and sense. They are about fear and 'can't get their from here'. Would you hire any of these people for a job? "Can't be done" is what they say. Ahh, you will make a great little worker there, won't you? Nope, they sure wouldn't. Chances are if they weren't working where they were, they'd do what? Dig ditches? The ground is simply too hard, not worth even sticking the shovel in there. Ahh. That's the kind of Food Safety people we have. Real beauts.

PROUD Wisconsin Dairyman - Scott Trautman

 
 

Risk Factors

We all talk about it. A lot.

They all talk about it. A lot.

Time to focus the attention on the problem. I want opinions.

I want to know what a good cross section of people think on this. I bet it's real interesting. And I will let you know the results.

Please indicate to me some idea of who you are. Health official, University researcher, farmer, consumer, activist, nutcase, oddball, weirdo, fascist, idiot (okay I'm getting a little off track here and amusing myself)

But really. What is your source of inspiration for your opinion.

Rank for me your idea of what the largest to smallest risk factors in raw milk are. For those of you that think there are no risks, well, you are fools. For those of you that just say don't drink raw milk, the same. Fools. You've got an opinion - risk factors that make the possibility of raw milk making people sick - rank them. Start with 1 as the highest risk, and end with 5.

Five reasons is all; anyone's that thought about this at all ought be able to come up with five risk factors.

Drop me an email at scott@trautman.net

Please include "Raw Milk Risk Factors" in the subject line. Don't bother sending me a bunch of garbage. Don't go on forever about it. List out the risk factors, and if you feel like you need to explain it, then great, but no War&Peace epic. And indicate your place in all this, what perspective you have.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Scott Trautman - despite the very best efforts of the State of Wisconsin - STILL proud Wisconsin Dairyman
 
 

Risk factors

We all talk about it. A lot.

They all talk about it. A lot.

Time to focus the attention on the problem. I want opinions.

I want to know what a good cross section of people think on this. I bet it's real interesting. And I will let you know the results.

Please indicate to me some idea of who you are. Health official, University researcher, farmer, consumer, activist, nutcase, oddball, weirdo, fascist, idiot (okay I'm getting a little off track here and amusing myself)

But really. What is your source of inspiration for your opinion.

Rank for me your idea of what the largest to smallest risk factors in raw milk are. For those of you that think there are no risks, well, you are fools. For those of you that just say don't drink raw milk, the same. Fools. You've got an opinion - risk factors that make the possibility of raw milk making people sick - rank them. Start with 1 as the highest risk, and end with 5.

Five reasons is all; anyone's that thought about this at all ought be able to come up with five risk factors.

Drop me an email at scott@trautman.net

Please include "Raw Milk Risk Factors" in the subject line. Don't bother sending me a bunch of garbage. Don't go on forever about it. List out the risk factors, and if you feel like you need to explain it, then great, but no War&Peace epic. And indicate your place in all this, what perspective you have.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Scott Trautman - despite the very best efforts of the State of Wisconsin - STILL proud Wisconsin Dairyman

 
 

Reflections on the International Raw Milk Symposium

No matter what happens - all is as it should be. It is up to us to learn the lessons we need to such that there is efficiency - learning - growth - adaptation in the lesson. Otherwise when bad things happen, it is just a bad thing.

This past weekend nothing but good things happened. And yet we do not rest on our laurels and decide that we nailed it, just do that in the future. And this is good training in our minds to adapt and grow as we need to.

The enemies of raw milk sure will. We need to be smarter, more agile, less ego bound, less delusional, more committed than them. You mean we are not perfect? Of course we are not. We are human. We have motivated extraordinary people: Now let's cultivate them, feed them - grow them. And all signs I see - everything I would be a part of - show that.

I've now had some time to reflect on what the symposium was, how I feel about it beyond the feel-good of it.

The thing that struck me is the differences between what is the 'us' and the 'them'.

Our 'us' - healthy, enthusiastic, optimistic. And this is important for those that would look at us and wonder whether they should become involved. Look at us closely. Would you be more like us - or more like them. Yes indeed, proximity - you will catch our energy. It is impossible for me or others like Michael and Mark not to 'infect' or to 'send' you our energy. But - what is the source of our energy? We feed from your energy - we create energy in you - and we feed from the energy you create for us. As much as our enemies would have you believe otherwise - health, hope- independence - happiness - follow us.

What follows them? Project out into the future what lives their followers will live.

Look to the people even here in Wisconsin that would be our enemies. A lot of not all that healthy people in not that healthy families. And getting worse. Not gaining energy or momentum. Subtly in time - they are being drained, as we gain energy. More doctors, more drugs, more of a system that is not working. Who up there will break? Who there that sees us - and is secretly envious - that wants what we have - even despite all that is done to us - we refuse to give in to fear. There is a future for us. What we do is not just our job - it is who we are. They have to separate themselves from 'what they do for a living' and who they are. To not: They would go mad. So one wonders across that group compared to ours. Just how many doctors visits, how many drugs they take, and then us. None of my family takes anything. We don't claim perfect health. But we are thriving - as are those that believe as we do. They don't - they won't look at our group because they know what they will find.

And what you saw from the crowd at the Symposium - if you were an insurer there - a guy that makes risk decisions - you would say to yourself - I can make money on insuring this group. We will make out like bandits in fact - vs. "them". Add it up. These people don't give into the easy give-me-a-pill for whatever symptom I'm addressing. We solve problems - we seek true health - and we have found it.

Our challenge is how to get to the people most effectively. Those that are sick, in fear - under the influence of those that would keep them in bondage for their entire lives. On drugs, taking their good money and shifting it to 'their' pockets.

Where on our side - we create wealth - when, for example, we farm right. We create incredible wealth out of nothing - out of sunlight, water, air.

'Them': Healthcare: it is shifting YOUR wealth into someone elses pocket. Not efficient. Not supporting a brighter future. Cynical. Parasitic. Ultimately evil and destructive.

As we go forward - our opponents - as we see here in Wisconsin - will see the truth - see the danger in what we represent to them - and they will use their money - their resources - their lies ever more to crush us. But that's where I wonder about their 'soldiers'. The people they rely on to do their dirty work - good people - trying to convince themselves they need this job more than they need their pride. Some drink it away. Some need pills to live with themselves. Entertainments to distract those nagging thoughts in their heads. And some - some will say enough - and know there is right and wrong, good and evil - and they cannot continue - survive - or say the empty words - that they love their children while they themselves are soldiers in the destruction of their own children's future.

Any time they choose - one here - one there - then more - paradigm shift - a stripping away of cynicism - you are welcome here. Come to us. It will take courage - but as I evaluate all of this and look at the costs: Is it worth it? It is the only thing I have ever done truly worth it. The rest has been training, the rest has been baubles, amusements, distractions to the truth.

All of you: Come join us. Be free, be healthy be happy: It is the most radical thing we can do.

I am Scott Trautman: Despite the very best efforts of the State of Wisconsin, STILL A PROUD WISCONSIN DAIRYMAN

 
 

Safe Raw Dairy on a Grade A farm

There really are a lot of rules to follow in life.

If you operate a business with food of any sort, wow, an incredible amount.

What is the intention of these rules?

- safe food

And safe food is:

- produced in a healthy manner

- monitored and checked at regular intervals; verifiably safe.

- clean and attractive

Sure the PMO - Pasteurized Milk Ordinance - who's rules we follow for dairy - says it longer and in more detail than I have. Pages and pages of rules, referring to other standards like 3A sanitation, etc.

But there is a fundamental principle of why we need this whole set of rules. It is an attempt to describe practices, within systems, that they feel bring about the highest possible safety. Feel as in opinion, and static, inflexible.

Those rules are more specific - when they can be, and sanitation practices, machinery, uniformity are easy to be more specific about - easier to control with paperwork and descriptive rules.

Not any more safe, but made easier in one respect. But the thing is, it brings about a giant change in the system it is attempting to control. Larger more factory-like situations.

We have here - at our farm - instead, a:

- safe and effective dairy system

- checks and balances, multiple check points and redundancies

- an active and evolving safety network: people, practices and attitude

We have a problem, though: Our parlor doesn't fit Food Safety's rules.
A new facility, finished September 2008. Design approved, built by professionals, inspected by DATCP 3 times with essentially perfect reports, yet today: No good. DATCP Food Safety made a mistake. Sorry about that they say - but no way.

They would quit arguing real quick it was about safety. And you aren't going to get them to admit that they're leaning on our farm because I speak out against ethical issues within DATCP and for Raw Milk. All they can argue is there are the rules. Yet, they work around rules every day; their inspectors go out and look at the entire situation and make good calls - recall the goal here is safety. They also let stuff go on very dirty farms, but know the milk will be pasteurized so they let it slide. Take a random tour of dairy farms and see for yourself.

The rules as applied by Food Safety in our case take an open design flat 8 stanchion barn-parlor, in a multi-use building, and close it entirely in. Making it far less desirable to be in; more in need of mechanical ventilation; creating of wet areas where there is no ventilation possible with walls.

We have what is considered a "dry" parlor. We do not need to spray down the floor, creating hundreds of gallons of waste soup. We do not promote bacterial growth with dry, naturally ventilated and kept clean environment.

The wall would completely separate the holding area (where cows waiting to be milked wait) from the 'parlor'. What exactly is going to crawl off whatever and across 8 ft of cement and do something bad to a cow no one can explain reasonably. But they can site a rule, and if you're lucky, a fantastic story about a remote possibility as the reason for the rule.

What we use this separated but open - rather than closed off by a wall - area for

- ventilation, drying is rapid and complete under all circumstances with this design. ALL circumstances, with little needed from us (an ideal practice - occurs automatically but not mechanically (breakage)!).

- we are actively observing ALL COW BEHAVIOR while milking. Social order/interaction, acting (off by self, ears/head down, any non-normal behavior etc.), - behavior in a semi-relaxed environment - which is the holding area. Approximately 1/3 of our concern (health) observations come from this area alone. Another 1/3 from the actual milking parlor, and 1/3 from field/pasture observation. On busy days (many in season), it is the single best evaluation situation, as 2 milkers are on duty, observations are discussed, they can be observed more closely, and any action taken.

Close that off: It is isolated. The only observation is when you open the door to let the next group in, reducing observation time dramatically. Windows: Limiting then to sight. Hearing is critical. Direct observation with proximity is far superior to indirect.

- RESULT: Close observation of the health of the animals in multiple situations to reveal the most possible about any health concerns. Relaxed: on pasture; semi-relaxed in the holding area; not as relaxed being milked.

Example: We note even when cows are extra fidgety being prepped. It warrants extra observation and everyday tests for high Somatic Cell Counts. We catch and monitor and act early every time with this system. We have tremendous health in our herd. Start of 3rd year:

 - no major disease at all. No metritis (retained placentas), acidosis, ketosis, milk fever, trouble having calves. Zero. Zero divided into as many cows as you'd care to provide. Our entire program works very effectively.

- very low instance of anything more than subclinical mastitis. We milk once a day, which given we see the animals once in 24 hours (but far more thoroughly than in a get-them-in-and-out-fast parlor), is a higher risk. We use a Mas-d-tek electronic mastitis detector to counter-act any increased risk. It's this kind of thorough thought we bring to everything we do. Risk identified, process to identify and minimize that risk. Pretty smart, you'd think. Nope, Food Safety couldn't care less. They care about rules. Not safety, rules.

Risk: Bringing dirt into the parlor. From the path in from the unpaved holding area. From being in a wet pasture. From a bedding pack. From anywhere. Cows and dirt - especially manure - together - are a fact of life.

Minimizing the movement of that dirt towards milk contact points - the milk machine attached to the udder over the parlor concrete floor - is a major concern. That we address through the facility design (distance away) - but also through practice - procedures - and monitoring - together forming a system that minimizes that dirt movement.

Yes, cows on any farm will track in. You can have all the concrete you want and still track in manure. (Remember, they keep the maker of the manure with them at all times).

We sweep up again once the cows are in place to be milked. Each person is monitoring only 2 machines. We have had only 1 machine drop off and continue sucking air in 2 years. We use DeLaval milk machines that shutoff suction if they drop off. Our cleaning procedures are clear and practiced to minimize dirt pickup from udders. Filters are monitored closely and graded daily. Our filters are always very clean. Our coliform and plate counts are always at minimums indicating excellent sanitation. To look at our operation, to look at our cows, to look at our records, to look at our dedication, you would think: WE NEED MORE FARMS LIKE THIS AS EXAMPLES OF HOW TO DO IT - PROFITABLY and with HIGH LIFE SATISFACTION. Nope! Not from Food Safety.

You SHOULD care about this: We love milking cows in our barn like it is; what we have is thoroughly thought through. There is no randomness or chance in our design or procedures. We are exceptionally conscientious. We are open to suggestions that maximizes safety. No one should be for senseless rules that make the situation less safe. There are variances granted. The intention there is to make up for rigidity in a rule set. A pretty good feature of a fair and effective system.

Yet, Food Safety just says no.

This theme of antagonism towards family dairy farmers, towards entrepreneurs, towards any change, towards any new thinking ought concern you. We are not going to get efficient or practical - or more - small - systems with thinking like that. That attitude is costing this state jobs. Their attitude is in fact ignorant.

Come to the table and work with us - but work with the whole situation, not the rule about a physical structure - which is only a piece of the overall pie.

A piece of the overall situation of creating high quality safe milk: Which is something anyone that would consider providing raw milk to consumers needs to know a whole lot more about. Unhealthy cows in a 'conforming structure': Danger. Yet no rules against that. How do you decide what is a healthy environment? Certainly it means something profoundly different to me than it does a CAFO operator.

And I'd like to be in on that conversation about raw milk safety. It must be more than conforming structures. It comes literally from the ground up to include everything in the system.

Food Safety wants a literal - and costly - box around our milking parlor.

We have - and are open to hearing more - about a figurative - but more effective - box around risk in harvesting milk safely from cows. We will live with them happily; we will monitor and record about them, and everyone but everyone ought be happy with this safe happy system.

C'mon people - let's use those things between our ears and innovate - think big thoughts - helping people - not little things like rules vindictively and arbitrarily applied. Too much is at stake. Please help.

Scott Trautman, PROUD and INNOVATIVE Wisconsin Dairyman

 
 

VOTE NOW LEGAL RAW MILK - Save our Family Dairy Farms ACTION ALERT

Hey you there - in Wisconsin.

Or that knows people IN Wisconsin. We need you. Now. Monday - we need you to call your representatives on MONDAY and tell them to schedule the vote - and vote for - legal raw milk.

No more amendments.

No more foolishness.

Trust in the heart of Wisconsin: Our dairymen and women: We will make you proud.

Wisconsinites for Legal Raw Milk: Call your DEMOCRAT assemblyperson or senator on MONDAY and urge them to tell the leadership to CALL A VOTE NOW on Legal Raw Milk, no more amendments, no more delays. NOW.

 

Announcing the creation of the:

Raw Milk Safety and Quality Association, RMSQA.

Immediate goals in a Legal Raw Milk Wisconsin:

- Raw milk producer hotline: Information about, resources for, raw milk safety. Website with resources, peer groups with other producers

- Creation of regional "Producing Raw Milk Safely Boot Camps" - in an effort to get everydairy "on the same page about safely producing raw milk for consumers. Best safety practices - safety plan - setting standards -

- On-site help: Farm by farm evaluation of risk factors


We dairymen understand the opportunity we have with legal raw milk.

This is a new day for Wisconsin dairymen - The New Golden Age of Dairy -

Dairymen and women, meet your new customers: Your friends, neighbors, townspeople. Let's show them how Dairy Happy we can be!

 

Contact Scott Trautman, scott@trautman.net for more information about the RMSQA organization being formed NOW.

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The work is just beginning: Countdown to Legal Raw Milk in Wisconsin

It's out of committee. It's being readied to vote on the floor. Then signed by the governor. Exciting times. Nerve wracking times. Time to farm: And I am distracted from the task at hand which is to seed hay, pasture, oats, oats&peas, spread compost, fieldwork, long days. And yet here I am.

The hard work has yet to be done.

How important the next 20 months are - to getting the permanent law we really want - NOW is the time we need to come together like never before - in safety, with pride and confidence.

Wisconsin's Proud Family Dairymen.

We have been, and we will - make all of Wisconsin proud; all the world, when Raw milk becomes legal.

We can do this safely. We can save farms. We can help people.

Stay tuned here. There is certainly more coming. There is leadership, there is more farmers, better farmers, a time like none you've seen before: Happy farmers, happy Wisconsin

PROUD WISCONSIN DAIRYMAN

Scott Trautman

 
 

Fooling Yourself (angry young man)

Styx "Fooling Yourself"

Written by tommy shaw
Lead vocals by tommy shaw

You see the world through your cynical eyes
You’re a troubled young man I can tell
You’ve got it all in the palm of your hand
But your hand’s wet with sweat and your head needs a rest

And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe it
How can you be such an angry young man
When your future looks quite bright to me
How can there be such a sinister plan
That could hide such a lamb, such a caring young man

You’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it
Come on, let’s see what you’ve got
Just take your best shot and don’t blow it

You’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it
You’re killing yourself if you don’t believe it
Get up, get back on your feet
You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it
Come on, let’s see what you’ve got
Just take your best shot and don’t blow it

 
 

Big Days!

Time.

 Never enough! Wasted time. Valuable time. Learning time. Action time.

Once it goes by, it's gone. And we've all experienced "boy that's x amount of time I can't get back". Wasted time.

As farmers - just as I recognized as an entrepreneur - as others with a keen sense of the world - recognize and appreciate - and value - time.

We are coming into a new farming season. Every day is decision after decision, made through evaluation of all things; what help do I have, what resources do I have, and importantly, what weather - what in the realm of things I can't control - but can plan for - are coming up. Then make the best decisions you can and don't be too much of an armchair quarterback on yourself.

For many people, their work time is all valued the same. Talk to me now, later, it's all the same. Not for me. For me to stop for a day right now - and not, say, make that hay, or sow those seeds, that hour I take to talk to you could cost me thousands of dollars. It has, many times. An hour has made a difference. 15 minutes even!

And I am having to make those decisions - today for example - is beautiful - and I will be most of the day walking around with Glenn Goldschmidt, ace inspector for DATCP, attempting to get inspected and ducks in a row to get our milk off the farm - in 10 gallon cans mind you - crazy as that is - to be made into cheese. Yep, that's a good use of time.

Yet this is three weeks in the waiting, to get Glenn's time, he's just all booked up, and has so much more important on his schedule than to get this farmer back making money, after 5 months of not making money. All those items on Glenn's schedule: Way more important than that. You see how I rate with Glenn. Yet, in this three weeks he has had over five hours into arguing about getting milk into a cheese plant. Being a complete idiot about it, and after all that, we're right back where we started at and that's going to be fine.

Isn't that funny? Glenn doesn't have time knowing my money is on the line, but he does find time to argue nonsense, where it wastes someone else's time too. And I would love to see just what was so important on that schedule of his. Makes you wonder about the attitude of our public servants, doesn't it?  Every holiday off, best overall benefits package on the planet, as compared to a works 365 days a year, and especially in my case, dairy farmer with no income, I can wait. There you go! Of course I should crawl in on my belly and be grateful, right?

This story has a happy ending though (update- no it doesn't); that ending is going to be written today, but it's going to be happy because of a good egg -- within DATCP -- cutting through the cancer that is the arrogance, complacency and incompetence I and others have seen so very much of within DATCP.

I called Glenn's boss yesterday morning, and I lit into him. See, Glenn out and out lied to me the day before. I don't know how you feel about people lying to you, but it sends me straight to angry. I won't be treated like that. Glenn's boss, Mike Barnett, though, talked with me and took what I feel is a great attitude. I'm the customer. He took the time to understand - and appreciate my situation - and my time. He offered and has acted as a coordinator on this, and I believe, as much as a giant ego like Glenn Goldschmidt is capable of, given direction to Glenn to not be a giant ass like he has been - his compulsion of how to act against someone he thinks he can treat that way.

Mike gets it - most probably on a human basis - what is right and wrong - but also recognizing what a black eye on DATCP - knowing I write about all this stuff - and Glenn Goldschmidt, thinking he can treat people like crap with impunity would be.

And Mike gets that strategically - mainly because I explained it to him - how it is in everyone's interests for us to get back making money from milk - legally. Otherwise it sure strikes a person as a vendetta - punitive - and where's the place for that in government against it's citizens most especially by government employees, right? We should definitely find out more about that!

So today we will find out. I'm going to have my video camera with me. The deal is this - I won't make everyone uncomfortable filming the whole thing as long as Glenn isn't being the complete ass he has been to this point. Glenn takes a good attitude, does his job, works well with others, and we all get along just famously. Glenn can't control his compulsion to be an idiot, and I pull out the camera, and we can see how much of an idiot Glenn can be tomorrow on YouTube, he creates a crisis. Seems like we've played this all before.

I want to mention again the respect I have for the inspectors of DATCP. Every one I have met have been great, and they get it. Many others too numerous to mention - great - get it - have and show respect for their customers, the public.

Wish me well today - it is and has been my desire not to have to be 'rough' but to do what I love: Farm. Dairy. Help people. Building a brighter future for people - working towards more farms, not less. I am grateful there are those within government that do get it, and only hope eventually we will see more of them and less of the cancer.

I want very much to say here - tomorrow (tragically can't do it)- that Glenn was great. He was a professional, he did not lie to me, he worked through any issues with intelligence - and not belligerence - and that all of us accomplished something valuable today: getting one farm back to work. Any of your meetings and activities today that important?

PROUD Wisconsin Dairyman, Scott Trautman

Postscript: Glenn controlled himself at the dairy plant, but was unable to control himself at our farm. He put poor Patrick Zaffino through hell, who I think was embarrassed by what zeal Glenn, who wasn't even there to do a Grade A inspection, was pulling, and Glenn put extreme pressure on him - like as in his job, I'm sure, to fail us. We will be talking to lots of inspectors about just what they are passing and failing.

I'm here to tell you that my less than 2 year old facility, fully approved by DATCP, is a model milking operation. And Glenn, because of his inability to control his hatred of me in particular, and farmers/raw milk in general, found non-issues to punish me.

Again: A facility that has not changed in design or implementation since DATCP approved it 2 years ago, inspected it 4 times with no problems, as close as 2 weeks before Foremost Farms dropped us and DATCP went on the attack, and yesterday Glenn made 7 issues and forced our inspector (new guy to us, they rotate, as always, seems like a really nice fellow) to not allow our Grade A license. Tyranny people, tyranny, and a government official (Glenn Goldschmidt) going on a personal vendetta using his official position to punish a (if I do say so myself) great little Wisconsin Family Dairy Farm because the owner - me - would dare to speak against DATCP and for raw milk.

Mike, need your help bud. All of Wisconsin but especially DATCP needs your help. Glenn is out of control - like some others at especially Food Safety - who are bringing suffering to good family farms. Put them on a leash and make them treat their customers with respect and use common sense.

 
 

Post Hearing Reflections

The March 10th hearing was a great day for

Farmers

               Consumers

                                 Democracy

                                                   Wisconsin

Best estimates are 800-1000 raw milk supporters. 300 in the main hall. 2 overflow rooms, bang! Immediately full, open up 2 more, bam! full.

A lot of familiar faces, a lot of new faces.

Margo Redmond - she's emailed me twice reaching out to me, I in my funk never responded until afterwards. She was on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal, and her fiery comments were right on, and a great way to start the hearing.

The committee chairpeople - outstanding - committee members - questions - outstanding. Sorry to keep you folks out so long, but we've been waiting a long long time for someone to listen to us.

See, we're the future. They - as in the Germaphobes, the Sterile Earth set, they are losing ground fast. And I think most of them see it coming. The remarkable thing about the opponents at the hearing - every last one - shared these characteristics -

1. They were paid to be there that day.

2. They were speaking someone else's words

3. Not a single one offered any kind of compromise or interest in working towards a solution other than theirs.

4. Had not looked at any materials other than their own. Ever.

5. FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR FEAR

There's more, but that's quite enough. Reflect on that.

The committee members asked great questions. I think every last one of them got in on it. Outstanding.

A question not asked of our dear sanitarians. What of the opposition - the many very good books, well cited, out there about this different opinion than yours - have you read any of that?

Answer: No. Why not? It's not scientific. A: Yes it is. Repeat ad nauseum.

Doesn't that strike you funny? No curiosity. Strong opinions (from "learned" "professionals") they know hurt other people and are unwilling to even consider other points of view or information. Hmmm. What kind of descriptive words do justice to that kind of person. Well one uppity farmer that feels pretty much lynched has an idea or two on that.

Senators & Assemblypersons: It is time for Legal Raw Milk. Make it happen. Soon. Without foolishness. Reasonable - responsible - safe - legal - and especially unhassled by DATCP. Legal Raw Milk Now.

We as farmers: We get it. We know you want to feel comfortable that we're going to do this thing safely. Thing is, we have been. It's just been in hiding. Now you get to see us in full sun - beacons - shining examples of the very best of Wisconsin Dairy. The Very Best: That's us. Not Dean Foods. Not Rosendale CAFO. The scrappy and definitely not dead Wisconsin Family Dairymen & women. We don't want handouts. We want our own customers and with that, a fair shake at making OUR OWN MONEY, not taking government charity.

This will be an interesting week readers. We're all going to see the best or the worst from DATCP. It's inspection week at Trautman Family Farm. Doing it 'their' way. Tune in here for whether I have new respect for the people of DATCP, or another new 'farmer being lynched' experience. I'd rather say 'respect' than 'lynch', but does anyone from DATCP think beyond their egos to see the value in helping rather than antagonizing? We shall see, we shall see.

Scott Trautman, PROUD Wisconsin Dairyman

COMING SOON: 10 ways to punish Dean Foods the Farmer Killers and not the farmers shipping to them (not for long).

 

 
 

March 10 Raw Milk Bill Hearing, Eau Claire WI

I have taken time away from the raw milk movement.

We have much on our minds that needs our focus.

The survival of our farm. Money. Need it.

Working towards getting our milk paid for - into artisan cheese.

Got the milk; got the artist, got the tank, what we don't got are ze proper permits. So I have been busy.

I would have bet money the hearings would have been canceled.

I am very happy to be wrong.

"Only 2325 Wisconsin dairies call it quits last year". - Hoard's Dairyman Feb 1 2010

Whooo! Hoooo! Party! We got'r on the run now!

But Wait. What's that number going to do when milk prices come back, cows become worth something again? The bank goes Flick! Here's another one! According to Pete Hardin of The Milkweed, stacks of them go on the market. And the big get bigger. Think the poultry and pork industry. Very vertical. A handful of farms with mega thousands of cows. For each of them: 1000 family farms must die.

Legal Raw Milk really does stand in the way of a lot of good business done at the expense  of dairy farmers, doesn't it? With Legal Raw Milk, we can say Stuff your crappy price. $70/cwt with the equipment we have now. That's $6/gallon. Safe. Our own customers.

That's $4000 - 6000 per month our herd of 22 milk cows was contributing to our farm. But imagine if it was just $1000 per month. Or $500. Ask the local hardware store, ask the local grocery, ask the implement dealer, dairy dealer, restaurants, what they think about dairyman having more money to spend at their stores would mean. That contact with the customer - that is ALWAYS a good thing. You'll have higher quality raw milk.

Give us Legal Raw Milk, and I will paint a New Golden Age of Dairy for Wisconsin. Farmers Win : We All Win. Not a decline of a couple thousand being a good thing, but gaining dairy farms being a good thing.

Support this bill by coming out to Eau Claire March 10th. Let your presence show you stand with your farmer. You have drawn the line - no more rights being taken away - give us back our rights - the right to choose what we take in our bodies. The right to support good farms.

Wisconsin -- RISE UP AND SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR OUR DAIRY TRADITION. Be there, Eau Claire, March 10th 2010 : A historic day.

Scott Trautman

 
 

To Julie my wife and strength & Farm Moms everywhere

 

Well this is certainly long overdue.

But isn't that just that way -- those that do the most, that hold it all together -- that do the real work of -- everything -- don't get the credit they deserve. The accolades, the attention -- goes to knuckleheads like me -- the ones out talking.

But who milks the cows when I'm on the phone now almost every moment of every day? Who fills the meat orders for customers? Who feeds the kids and makes sure the homework gets done? Who makes sure the calves have feed and pasture and are all looking good? Who makes sure Scott isn't being an ass?

My wife Julie of course. And every one of you needs to know that the source of any strength, anything I have that is good -- comes from her quiet strength. We are Team Trautman: and although my role might be in the "vision" department, Julie is in "operations", and we all know "visions" without "operations" is "damn foolishness".

So let me tell you about Julie, and how very blessed I am that she would be here by my side to share this life.

Julie and I met -- at our 10 year high school reunion, in 1992. (you do the math) We  had gone to the same high school - even the same college, but had different paths. It shouldn't surprise anyone that I was more of the geeky sort. But she was always nice, and said hi, but we didn't talk -- until this reunion. Why there? God. That's why. But we had some sort of connection -- she was out in Seattle, me in Milwaukee at the time, and over the next year, we talked long distance, I visited her, she me -- and we decided to give this a shot. And of course that didn't mean me move there -- but her move here. And then within six months I made her move again, this time to Madison, to follow my career at the time.

We married in 1997, she was working -- supporting our household -- while I was building an Internet business. By 1998 our first son was born, Ian. In 2000 our second son, Quinn, was born, and in around that time we decided to start looking for a farm. Not to farm, but as a "guilded cage" - for me -- in my Internet work work it seemed I could not leave without some bizarre thing happening that only I could fix.

It took us quite a while -- and Julie was the organizer, she would have her stack of listings -- and we would drive on weekends to see farms. And eventually -- me having resisted this particular farm we are on - for 6 months -- but Julie refusing to take it out of the pile -- we looked in this north window into the house -- and we both knew this was it, this was our farm. We moved in on May 16th 2003. I know this because it was our first Stoughton Syttende Mai, our local celebration of our Norwegian heritage.

There was quite a bit of unhappiness from me from the Internet business; a lot of that weight born by Julie -- and my children. We farmed on a very small scale, learning so much, making small mistakes, learning what we liked and didn't. In 2003 our daughter, Lilly was born: the first to live all her life on the farm. And in 2004 I sold the Internet business, and we dedicated ourselves to farming 100%.

Every family eases into a comfort zone in their 'roles' - every family is different. And there has sure been discomfort in the settling into those roles, and they still change. They may be changing again soon, depending on how this whole raw milk situation works out. But throughout our history together -- Julie has stuck by my side, and been the yin to my yang, my muse. So much different than me -- not better, or worse, but different, and so full of love, and patience -- and humor. I can't forget her humor -- we laugh so much around here -- I am a total goofball -- but Julie is REALLY funny because it's not all the time -- it's a goofy look here, a silly comment there.

I am a dreamer. A "big ideas" person. Will it surprise anyone that not every idea I have is a nugget of gold? Perhaps another kind of nugget? If left to my own devices, I would follow some of these less than gold nuggets. But Julie -- has the critical role of sense-maker. Scott, we both know I'm going to end up DOING this, WHY should I agree to this? So then I think about it some more, and we argue about it -- and ultimately I do make a case or it gets dropped. We figure it out together.

This farm was my dream -- not Julie's -- and as I like to say - if I had sprung all this on her -- how life would be -- she'd have long since run far far away. But we took it slow -- proved it all to ourselves. Dairy is a great example: Scott: "Let's milk cows!". Julie: No!. Scott: C'mon, just one cow, I'll milk her, we'll drink the milk, it'll take 20 minutes a day (along with other details she would make me tell and prove). Okay -- 1 cow. And that worked. "How about 4 now?". Julie: No. Scott: Here's the plan....

So now today we milk 25 cows -- and like yesterday -- Julie milked 23 of them while I was on the phone to umpteen people, serving in my role -- that both Julie and I understand is necessary -- to win this war Food Safety and DATCP has on family farmers - she quietly, without (much) complaint, does her work and mine -- knowing that is how it has to be for now, yet again her quiet strength.

Okay men -- time to thank your wives. Maybe it is gems and jewels, or like Julie -- this year she asked for a single axle milk truck for her birthday - thinking family - to save our dairy. 2 years ago? It was Shem our beautiful Jersey bull. Yes, folks, I am a total clod of a husband and deserve a beating. But in the farm families I know -- this is common -- the strength of the whole family turns on the woman of the family - the men are all self-important, and we think we run the show, and we're all about this "vision" or whatever self important thing we think we are -- but it is our wives that have been throughout time -- been the strength, and what gives our farm its life - its personality - brings us our success -- and most importantly our happiness.

Thank you Julie, thank you to every farm mom - farm wife -- FARMER out there. Without you there is no life on the farm. God bless us all, and let's take that time to tell your wife just how very important and loved she is. And for criminy sakes, give her a day to herself every so often.

In love,


Scott Trautman - Proud Wisconsin Dairyman - Citizen -- and at least adequate husband and father.



 
 

Spring - Rebirth - Revitalize - Renew

I feel badly that I have not made more entries here. I have certainly thought of it. As I walk around the farm, I am constantly reminded of the Beatle's song,

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.
Look at him working. darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there
What does he care?

So who am I to say anything that change something. No one, I guess. Except I am DOING something, every day. Walking the walk. Unfortunately all to many people like the IDEA of being green, of doing good things, and like to talk like they are DOING something. And they don't challenge themselves, and we live in such a polite society that you can count on no one challenging that either. Isn't that great.

At the end of the day, I am:

1. DOING something, no matter how small
2. THINKING about someone other than myself and putting my thoughts towards a larger good
3. Admitting I have a long way to go for myself, we have so so so much more we can do.
4. NOT thinking I am some sort of hero or above anyone, but believing this is my job as a "good human".
5. Being open to new ideas and not accepting whatever comfortable idea matches my current thinking and coinciding with my pleasure and me doing NOTHING.

NONE of that makes me or anyone else a hero; but folks, I do believe that living a life beyond yourself, your immediate family, thinking beyond 10 minutes from now, even to 10, 20 years ahead -- perhaps beyond your lifetime and into your childrens -- that takes courage.

And yes, folks -- the opposite of courage is cowardice. Be courageous in your life.

It has been a long hard winter. Spring is finally here; in this case a short memory and forgiveness are easy. Two days of warm spring weather, the snow all melting away, and all is forgiven and hope springs..eternal.

We have big plans for this season. This will be our second season for 100% grass dairy, milking 23 cows, we have 44 steers to finish, 20 youngstock from last season to grow.

Farmers everywhere are cutting back on their fertilizers. We are going full forward, thinking that hay to buy next winter will be out of this world. We've thought about all the mistakes we made last year and are making the adjustments to correct them. Surely only to make new mistakes, hopefully to make new, and not old mistakes.

And we look forward to continuing to see "the faithful" - our customers, some of whom have been with us now for 5 years, and the new people that fate will decide that contact with us fits into their life.

But all the while -- I will be looking across the road -- to the neighborhood a rock's throw away -- and wondering, how do we reach them. Those are the people that don't know it -- but they need us, desperately. Yet all attempts have failed. They are far far too clever to buy their food from us, but they are clever enough to enjoy our farm for free. The peace, the green, the animals -- free. And I do wonder who is the fool. It could well be me. At some point, as an entrepeneur, as a realist, as someone with finite resources and looking forward 20 years and knowing the investment we need to make, I do ask. Do you want us here? And if you don't, are you sure you want what will be here when we go? What happens when all the wonderful words fall away and all of what you're left with is what your actions show you really believe. Then what?

For those that do know me well, know, just as I lay me down a whole bunch o' words here, I do talk "a lot". Yet, for that - I listen a lot closer than people suspect, and I observe, and I learn, and adjust.

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Dairy Meditation

I am trying to firm the habit of writing it down here, because if I don't, you won't hear from me again until...December! Just a short jot; lots on my mind but this is it for today:

We've gotten to know a whole lot of really great people through our farm. We have over 500 customers on our books, maybe 200 very active and the most of the rest occasional. So we see and get to know a lot of people. 

Many people express their envy of our "lifestyle" -- the farming, the outdoors, but then rethink some at the committment, the hours. But almost all seem to draw the line at being a dairyman. Now that, is committment, and work; a 365 day one at that.

And it is and not every moment is a bowl of cream and cherries. And a fair number of those "not" c&c's, have been this lovely winter for us.

But

And I speak for myself alone and not my dairyman wife.....

I don't yet meditate in the traditional sense. I milk cows and that I have chosen to make my meditation.

It is repetitive, most of the time it does not have to have my full attention, it is a whole routine; a ritual done every day for approximately one and a half hours. And not repeated that 2nd time per day; we milk once a day.

And the best part is the cows. I love cows. I love being with them, I love handling them, milking them. Yes, as a matter of fact I am a hugger and I talk to cows, too. I do a lot of telling them how pretty they are (girls like that), how good they are, what a good mommy they are, how much I love them. And then even some silly stuff. They do not mock me as others do! (okay so it took a strange turn there: really, they don't look at you real funny.usually, when I talk to them. No they do not talk back.). Each cow has its own distinct personality and characteristics. They are beautiful, intelligent animals. They 99% of the time do what you want; we know how to communicate to each other, and we respect each other.

I'm thinking there probably aren't too many other dairymen out there that have expressed their.. a) enjoyment of milking cows...and b) that it is a meditation. That's outright hippy talking there, boy!

It is this for me because I've decided that's what it's going to be. I could have as easily decided it was going to be this repetitive, boring thing I have to do every day. And that's what it would be.

I enjoy it, too, because I milk with my wife, Julie. And it is for sure a time during the day where we're together. Julie does not view milking quite the same way as I do; but she does it, and with a happy heart.

Lots of days we'll listen to Bob & Tom on the radio; some days nothing at all, or music or something like This American Life, which I'm pleased Julie is now into. We have what's called a flat 8 parlor. It's very much like a stanchion barn; we just have room for 8 at a time rather than the whole herd at one time. We milk 22 cows right this minute, so that's 3 runs through the parlor.

It takes about 5 minutes to get a group of 8 cows into our parlor. Julie and I each manage 2 milking machines, split between cows. It takes about 2 minutes to clean and "prep" a cow('s udder). Then about eh, 5 minutes with the machine on. It takes about 20 minutes for a group, 3 groups, 1 hour. 15 minutes setup, 15 minutes cleanup. 1.5 hours each day.

The cows have their habits. Within one or two cows, the three groups we milk usually consist of the same cows that come in. And their favorite spots. A couple -- and girls, you know who you are -- Rhoda -- don't like certain spots and are quite the pills when in them.

A person can decide whatever they like in life; and I've decided there is great beauty and joy in the daily communion between the cows and me. I notice -- and appreciate, downright tickled in fact -- at our ability to work together in peace. A hand gently on the flank. Thank you Rebba, she understand perfectly, move over a step so I can get in and milk Wanda there next to you. Lift a foot oh so gently -- sorry there Jeanne, I know, so sensitive your teats, I'll slow down, more gentle. God is here with me in these moments, simple to appreciate, and I am thankful.

I suppose there are 'mean' cows, 'kickers', bad ones. Yet I have 30 and none. Why is that? Oh, you milk 100, or maybe it's 1000, or you milk for, how long you been doing this? Set the bar out just beyond reach -- then -- there's where you'll find that misery. Yet I don't believe that at all. We've made this situation just as others have made there's. Jeanne and her sensitive teats: I will start by just gently holding one  with a warm washcloth, and put my cheek in her side, and tell her "I know, I know". And she won't lift her foot, and if she does, it's me that apologizes.

There's a checkbox on a form for 'temperament', she's ornery, she's a kicker. As good a reason as any for someone to decide she's not worth the effort. And off she goes. She gives enough milk, well, we'll haul out the apparatus, we'll teach you, we won't like it or you, but we will dominate you and when we're through with you --

So that's how it is, but not here, and we don't have cows with temperament problems; at least not any issues with me. Julie, well, Jeanne, Maidengirl, and formerly Baby, Scott, you take them. Fine, no problem at all. Happy to.  For me temperament issues are mine: My impatience, my inability to communicate, my failure. Baby, by the way, when she's first fresh, has extra sensitive rear teats, she gives a kick when you take the milker off, no problems putting it on. But after about a month, no problem, you forget she was ever a 'kicker' because she is so very, very sweet. And all her calves: the most of any cow we have, born here, 3 of them, are always the most friendly by far of the group, always the ones wanting scratchers, ooooh that spot around the horn buds, under the chin, the good ones, the really really good scratchers.

What a silly simpleton, huh? If you only really knew, you'd know. You know I'd like a temperament checkbox on the  dairyman's form - the one where we judge you instead of the cow. Don't like your temperament -- you there --  we're through with you ---


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