Of time; of place; of relationships. Where are we at. Where are we going. What is life going to be like, in the future.
For me: I sure don't know. When you have a State that is bent on your extermination, like DATCP is to family farms, and an especially mouthy one like me, hard to say.
I don't know what the future holds, but I can guess, and I can work towards the future I want. And I do.
I am quite confident the future is bright. We will get beyond all this - and there is a lot of 'this' in life today.
When I look out into the future, I have example from my past.
I owned and ran an Internet company for 10 years. I had some 4500 customers at the peak across southern Wisconsin. The most of them knew who I was, and what I stood for. When I meet them in random encounters - I am proud of how I conducted myself in my business, and I welcome those encounters. They are in fact, a little jolt of positive energy. All the hard work, the sacrifice then, was worth it. Yet again.
Same will be for future, for me, others regarding raw milk. I'll be somewhere and someone will say "Raw Milk!". And a jolt of pride - pride in how I have conducted myself - is what I'll get.
So what then, will Steve Ingham, Cheryl Daniels, Jackie Owens, Tom Lietzke, Kathleen Anderson, Glen Goldschmidt. Even Scott Rankin and some of the more public toadies. You know - that would desperately like to convince themselves they are in the right, or if they aren't in the right, they're doing their job.
Your names are out there now, and lots and lots and lots of people are getting to know you - for what? And so - pick a point in the future - say your grandson's graduation - and that friend of your son's says "hey - Raw Milk -"
What's your reaction going to be? Shame? Anger? Upset? For how long? How many years will it take to not go straight to boil, knowing what side you're on - and what people think of you. And every time - you spend how long, working the thoughts over in your head, I was just doing my job....I was just doing my job....you hurt people. Lots of them. You know that. You try and convince yourself you didn't. Doesn't work, and there will be lots and lots and lots of reminders.
So, got an example for ya there, too. Of the past. Prior to my Internet days, I was a consultant. I was asked by my boss to lie to a customer. And oh, this boss put it so nice, and made it sound so good and right, but you know how you feel inside - conflicted - upset - when you know right from wrong - and you are on the wrong side - you know it and it causes upset. It keeps coming back up into your mind. Maybe you overeat, maybe you're angry a lot, maybe you drink too much.
Or, in my case, within 2 months, I quit that job. No job to go to, but I wasn't going to live like that. My integrity was too important to me. What my values were - and are - mattered more than some great health plan, retirement program, things - things - I would value above my integrity -
I quit that job, started the Internet company, sold that, and here I am farmer and activist - someone trying real hard to make the world a better place. Who I am - where I am - my place in the universe - would not be this if I hadn't quit then; had the courage of my convictions and did the right thing even when the future was scary and uncertain.
But it worked out - as being true to yourself does - And now we have friends, really good friends and lots of them, more every day. Joy - peace - a sense of worth, purpose and place. Where would I be if I had decided heck, a few lies won't hurt them, heck, I have a family. I have <insert excuse for horror here>, and see, that makes it justified, right?
I wonder what a Jackie Owens thinks her future is going to be like. Could you convince yourself that this will all be over one day? We'll have exterminated all the family farmers, we will have snowed the public, and then when people say "Raw Milk" to me, I smile and am happy. Is that one of the possibilities do you think? Boy and you'd say I'm a dreamer.
I look forward into the future - and I see peace - joy - and raw milk - healthy happy people - and farmers - more not less - but I can believe it will get worse before it gets better. Nothing worth having comes free, and the harder you work, the better it is appreciated. Well then, boy will it be appreciated.
For now, I have all I need. Yesterday, in a pissy mood, just stewing in my own juices, I'm in the yard working on the compost spreader. My kids, who had been playing army around the barn, were heading back to the house. Quinn calls to Ian, hey Ian, let's ....insert fun kid thing here....
....but Ian makes a line for me.
Now - when I'm "in a mood" - I am sending out waves of "stay away!!". And that is for a reason.
Yet - my son Ian, knowing this still, knows me. Loves me, helps me.
"Dad, hey, you need some help?".
Yeah, Ian, I could sure use a hand with this. And I could. An extra pair of hands was exactly what I needed. Ian has good ideas about things; so he's not just doing what I ask, he's thinking about the problem, and how he can help. And he can sense - as I know - I feel better with him there. His 'being' - his presence is healing, calming, helping. Was I thinking that way when I was his age? Would I have approached me with my "stay away" sign on?
What capabilities this boy will have. And I look into that future - I dream - would he become someone like
Steve Ingham? Jackie Owens? Cheryl Daniels? Tom Lietzke? Glen Goldschmidt? Rod Nuelsestuen? Jim Doyle?
What are you putting in your minds right now on that. An important life and doing one's best to create a better world - even one human at a time - or what? A sweet government job with great healthcare, every conceivable day off, yet, what's missing. From life.
There's nothing missing from life here - no matter what happens - no matter what they do to us - no matter where life takes - us. We'll be alright. We have love; we have peace, we have purpose. We don't have money, we don't have certainty. I wouldn't trade places; couldn't trade places. I couldn't live with myself. But, that's just me folks! Have a great day!
Scott Trautman, PROUD Wisconsin Dairyman