What beautiful days on the farm. Haying is finished until maybe later October, when the opportunity of Late Hay Intoxication occurs in me, when there is an indian summer for oh, 5 days or so, the trees are turning beautiful colors. I will cut some 4th crop hay, this just wonderful delicious grass that the cows will fight to get to for milking; that our beautiful weanling calves will grow so vibrantly on over the winter. I have 'taken' half the pleasure of it in my mind already before we even get there.
When I talk about it, I think about it, I remember, I visualize, it is made in advance in my mind. So too, will be our Farm Tour, September 19th, 10:30am until noon, farmstore open until 1:30. Thinking about my themes.
When I speak, I do not have notes. I haven't 'practiced' what I'm going to say. Yet, I have, in my head, 100 times, what will go into it.
How I develop ideas into thoughts into sentences then paragraphs, sometimes, is to hold a word, or several words in my mind, and apply them to what's in front of me. I have held the words arrogance and humility in my mind for two years. Apply it to current situation. And that has really taken me somewhere good, thinking arrogance and humility. Human arrogance, Human humility, submitting to nature.
Rights and responsibilities
Checks and balances
Quality Cost Time
I'm coming back to Rights and Responsibilities. But Rights - everyone has the rights thing down cold - it is my RIGHT for this - really good things - like "to free speech" - that is an advanced society - RIGHT to food - personal rights - right on - I am so with you - but I don't hear anyone getting fired up, like I do, about responsibility.
Who'd I just lose here - rights are where it's at - I want to do anything I wanna do - but only me and people that think like me. There is some kind of filter here, right?
Responsibilities. Alright Scott, you start then. Tell us about Responsibilities.
Okay - good - Yin Yang - Rights Responsibilities. They go together, don't they? It's just not the fun half, the responsibility; often just assumed, but in a pretty lazy way.
Right to free speech: Excellent, all for it. Responsibility: telling the truth. Ahh. See the rub? No yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. Responsibility: allowing some speech you don't like because the right is for ALL and not just YOU.
So much for the lesson - application to the situation, the emmination of my creation, what responsibilities do I, Scott Trautman feel?
I have the right to sell food from this farm.
I have the responsibility to do that safely, with high quality.
I don't believe I'm God, and I don't believe in things remaining static
I am in favor of oversite, in some manner - someone's' knowledgeable about what I do, with the same goals of safety in mind, that will continually monitor and improve our safety system.
If I'm God, I say, just give me the right to sell this food, let me decide what's safe and what's not. No debate, no investigation, just here. A nice convenient spot for me to stand in, doing nothing I don't want to do. I think that relies too much on extending this right to food only to good people. Do you have your "Good People" ID card with you? What happens if bad people or even good people with bad ideas make people sick? Then what? We will all lose our right. I need to be responsible. I hope everyone else is really feeling that way too.
I have the responsibility to not make people sick. To do what I can, and in the event of a problem, do what I can to get information out to my customers about it.
You look at that responsibility real close tho - that is way better than 300 million eggs - 327million pounds of ground beef - anywhere in our system. Now that's putting fear in the system - it could be that meal - your store - panic!
Raw milk from family farms? Nope! This would be in the hands of let's say 100 families. Bang - word out - so how about bonus points from Food Safety on that -? Nope, don't care, hate you, trying to crush you, we don't listen here.
Wisconsin's DATCP Food Safety group is corrupt. They are not about Food Safety, Food Safety is the club they wield, the weapon they use, to harass farmers - anyone, really, that they think they can get away with harassing. I would pretty clearly say, from how they use their time, that if my 'theory' here is correct, they wouldn't be spending a whole lot of time in Dean plants, or Saputo, or Foremost or, you get the idea. They'd be going after, oh, who who who - oh - RIGHT - struggling family dairy farmers & raw milk, legal in 29 states but not the Dairy State of Wisconsin. Right right right right.
Corrupt before we came across them, corrupt until they are removed. This is a cancer to the core; these are not redeemable people that can be given a pep talk, a 'repurposing' a 'recommitment' to a 'different direction' and instead of 'antagonizing' dairy entrepreneurs now we're going to 'cooperate' instead. Nope, Cheryl Daniels, Jackie Owens, Tom Lietzke, Glenn Goldschmidt have got to go. Clean sweep. One word instruction to their replacements: Cooperate. That's it. The opposite of antagonize. The opposite of arrogance, 'public servant'.
Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. Corruption is corruption, yet not a big enough deal to take it on by those that can make it happen. Alright, then, here it is. What I'm going to do about it.
I will be inspected, for purposes of creating and maintaining my "brand" - which is Wisconsin Fresh Milk.
These inspections, and certification will incorporate the applicable ATCP codes. It will include a lot more than that; it's design is for food safety and no other purpose. That safety, for our brand, is determined by:
1. Sanitary standards, recordkeeping, testing, checking. This includes the whole farm, not just the dairy facility. What is our idea of cleanliness and purity in the food? Here it is. Above what Food Safety would 'require' if they were interested in food safety.
2. Overall farm health; soils, animals; idea that long term health begets long term healthful, safe foods - as a part - along with the others
3. Animal health, protocol for include or exclude milk from cows. By our design, we know our animals well, That is important in detecting changes which give a higher probability result in disease being transmitted through milk. Already very small with our conditions, we make it smaller.
First, overall long term health is a good predictor, then sharpen the training on detecting problems in cows. That is called excellent management, and family farmers are fantastic at it. Now let's get paid for it!
That's 3 inspections, 3 inspectors to DATCP's one, corrupt little Food Safety Kings and Queens, not-really-about-food-safety-is-it-inspection.
For #1, I had my inspection yesterday, by Art Johnson. 30 year field man, degree in dairy science I believe, very knowledgeable. More about his work in a future posting.
#2, that would be Gary Zimmer, author, president of Midwestern BioAg, Organic Farmer of the Year, 2008. Also a person of great experience, and as are all of these, not a one afraid to tell Scott M. Trautman you are an idiot. Frankly folks, it is the only way I know of to keep from being an idiot any more than I have to be, is to keep people like this around. Close. Very close.
Gary is out of the state until, well, the 19th, but he's agreeable to my certification idea, and him coming out and looking around, asking questions, observing for himself.
Two ideas I put in Gary's mind.
One is, Gary already has two questions he's come up, after wrestling with some kind of meaningful 'certification' for those farms that do a great job with their soils and cattle - they have - they deserve - a great brand.
Two simple questions that a guy like me can really go to town on. And you will see my answers here - what I submit to Gary prior to my inspection.
What are you doing for the health of your soils?
What are you doing for the health of your animals?
You could be real simple and say something just plain arrogant and stupid like "I Graze!" for both of them. So there -
Not me. No no no no no no. Lots and lots more for each of those. I could teach a college course on it, and not bump into prior covered subjects a little more familiar to people, hopeful folk heading off into a meatgrinder instead of to the happiness we've found.
My second idea, to simplify, to value this really busy and smart guy's time, is keep it simple, end of the tour, end of the questions, only one remaining.
Gary, would you drink my milk?
If the answer is yes, I pass. If no, I have work to do; and by God, I will do it. (and there always is more work to do, improvements to make)
And 3rd, my veterinarian. I have a choice even, a couple really fantastic ones, that will be hired by me to consult and examine my operation, my animals, my protocols, my training, and write out a statement as to my farm's competence in particular - recognizing health situations where we should be deciding NOT to put the milk in the tank. Checking overall health, consistency of our health (long term health begets safe milk along with sanitation)
For this moment, let's say this is my certification process for the brand, "Wisconsin Fresh Milk" I have created.
But I really would like you to compare for yourself. Which brand do you want? Grade A (I would so love to tour you through a few of this "Pride of Wisconsin (DATCP version) "Grade A dairy farms", so charming and disgusting), or "Wisconsin Fresh Milk" brand. Which would you rather be a part of?
Love to show you - September 19th, 10:30am until noon, farm store open until 1:30.
So much more to say, can't really give away all the surprises.
Everyone else is out there screaming about their rights. I'm sitting here thinking about my responsibilities. How am I doing? More of this, or more of that? Vote.
Still Proud Wisconsin Dairyman, Scott Trautman