Trautman Family Farm

  (stoughton, Wisconsin)
The Grass-Organic Life in Wisconsin!
[ Member listing ]

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

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

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


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


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


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.


The hens are here! Hooray for AWESOME EGGS

It was about 2 weeks ahead of what we thought, but as usual, Team Trautman got the job done and got the hens situated in the hen house. Some times it seems it's just as well for us to have it happen all of a sudden. Things get done.

Eggs for the next two weeks will be $4/dozen. After that, $4.50/dozen. Why cheaper right now? These will be standard issue organic eggs for now until the gals get out on the grass and the egg quality goes from good to awesome.

How we do eggs --

We buy what are called "spent hens" from a local organic laying operation. They supply Organic Valley. The way the commercial operations work, is pullets (young hens, girls that is), start laying at about 6 months old, and by about 16 months old, they are ready for their first molt, a molt being when they lose most of their feathers (they look pretty rough that's for sure), but important to the commercial grower, they stop making eggs. And however that economic works out, it's time for them to go. We call them "rescue hens" because otherwise it's off to the soup pot for them. Our pickup yesterday preceded the semi taking the other thousands off to just that fate.

These hens, prior to here, have never been outside. Let's not really get into the whole organic thing on that, I know. Point is, it's going to take them about 2 weeks to a) figure out what this "outside" thing is b) start eating grass/bugs/being what we think of as chickens....before the eggs rise to our standards of AWESOME.

What's an AWESOME egg as far as we're concerned? One who's yolk is a deep orange, that stands up tall and proud, a nice firm white, but most importantly: Tastes just absolutely great: and doesn't need salt/pepper to give it 'taste'. And great nutrition goes with that great taste, too. High NATURAL omega 3's, beta carotene -- and many more things science hasn't gotten around to finding quite yet (and when they do they'll try and put it in a pill and make a zillion off it). Chickens being chickens, yep, on greatly fertile ground and high quality organic feed, not a 'least cost' ration.

These hens will molt on us at some point this summer, and when they do, they stop laying for 6 weeks or so. But the price on the initial bird is right, but more important, is our whole schedule of things here.

We don't think it's terribly productive, for us, to keep hens over the winter. It's cold, they're inside, no greens, the poop builds up, it smells, they eat way more to heat themselves and they lay less eggs and the feed is typically more expensive, and maybe the most important, we are exhausted from the season and we need a break. So we will take them in and have them made into soup hens sometime in December. Since they were 'rescue hens' to begin with, they had a great spring summer and fall beyond what they would have had, and everyone gets good out of it. If we used pullets: we would surely have to keep them over the winter, and for all the above reasons, in our situation, that just wouldn't work out.

Our hens have a 'hen house' which is part of the lower level of our hay barn. They have perches in there, and nests, and most importantly, we feed them in there, which means after a long day of scratching & pecking for who knows exactly what in the grass (worms, bugs, grass and sometimes I wonder what), they come back to the henhouse, and hopefully find a spot on the perches and settle in for the night. This to keep the predators from having a chicken dinner.

"nests": If we could sit down, have a good meeting with the hens, and all come away agreeing that it would really be to everyone's advantage to lay the eggs in the nests all the time, that would be really really super. Well, that "if" in reality is an ongoing game of hide and seek with Julie as to where the eggs might be. In the haymow somewhere, this corner with straw in it over there. Find their spot before the eggs go south. Man v. Hen. We don't always win. A little too free range for our practical purposes.

We don't care to use any more of our time scooping up poop than we absolutely have to; so this works well that they're in there to eat & sleep, and otherwise are spreading their poop out over the grass where it will fertilize the soil. The chickens are also great at keeping the fly population down. They'll eat the fly larvae and that is really great. Everything around here has multiple purposes and works symbiotically with our other enterprises.

While we're on the subject of poop -- or shall I be couth and say 'manure'. I know the egg quality is going to start getting good when I start seeing green, rather than brown, manure. The green is the clorophyll in the grasses and legumes they eat, and that is a really good thing. Interesting, too, is that you won't get much bad smell from a green poo, where the brown will smell pretty nasty toot quick. You'll find that with all the manures out on the farm -- the animal gets their proper diet and the manure is properly distributed and no bad smells. For us, bad smells = bad things going on. So enough already on poop.

Right now the gals look pretty rough: not many feathers on them, and what we notice, too, is  their combs (the floppy thing on top of their head) go from pale and almost white -- to a deep red as they're here longer, also denoting great health and surely great quality eggs.

So come on out and pick up some awesome eggs, see the hens in action all around the yard, and watch a little where you step so you don't take home more of the farm than you intended.

Happy springtime to you!

Scott, Julie, Ian, Quinn, Lilly, 2 dogs, like 10 cats (estimate), 200 hens, and 90 bovines.


That which is truly good (Repost from 2005)


This post from August 5th, 2005. Any of you out there that knows what happened in August of 2005 in the Stoughton area know what's coming up.

I mention "Authentic Happiness" by Seligman. That is a great book that effectively makes the case for optimism; it opens the door. The books that help me practice optimism are The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer & now Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff. I had the Power of Intention for some time, but could not get into it. When the time was right. And here recently with the economy, I needed to re-listen to the Power of Intention to get out of my funk.

 Here it is 2008 and I still feel the same way. Generally positive, with my moments of despair. Think about the good things, and forget the bad other than to learn from our mistakes. Have a great Thanksgiving, and do give thanks. - Scott


I've certainly had enough downer things here lately to bitch about, but I do believe I am a positive person, and in so, need to search that positive out. So this is that; things I am thankful for, and are truly good.

1. Getting by with a little help from my friends. In a time of need, you find out who's really a friend and who's not. I've had several, and some unexpected, that have given of themselves selflessly. Thanks Dan, Mike, Bruce, Mike, Dale. You guys live the faith beyond Sunday service. Thanks.

2. Healthy family, healthy animals. The worst of the pinkeye is over, and every calf is looking pretty darn good, even with this hot muggy weather.

3. More rain than most have gotten. A hard year could have been so much worse, and is far worse for so many. As dry as it might be, we have nothing to bitch about.

4. New customers and friends. It is so revitalizing to get to know you. I am fed by your positive energy and hope.

5. Always something interesting, something to learn. Never a dull moment.

6. For all the equipment that does work. Seems like it's always something, but so far, been able to keep the balls in the air.

7. For God to give me the strength to get through the tough times. As bad as I might think things are, I know so many have it so much worse. God has been kind to us in every way possible.

8. For my wife and children that bring me so much joy. They ground me and show me what is truly important in life.

9. For my health. A stubby finger slows me down. A fellow I know has been laid up on his back for four days now, getting nothing done. That would be devastating for us.

10. The wonderment that is nature, and the confidence that what we do and how is the right thing.

I credit some of my framework for positiveness to "Authentic Happiness", the book by Dr. Seligman, which put into focus strategies, such as this very effort, to keep a positive attitude, even when one could easily fall into despair & be just another whiner complaining about just how crappy everything is. It isn't, but I'm the only one that can make me live and believe that.

All the very best to all.
(now surely back to my whining...)


So how's this economy treating ya then there Scotty my boy?

So how's this economy treating ya then there Scotty my boy?

Well, not so very great; it's a tough time to be something other than the "Walmart" of food, especially when you've focused your energy on getting your food to real people, and not just people of means.

Great food costs more to produce. I'm always amazed at how cheap a pound of ground beef is, when you consider

- it has typically been driven around 1500 miles
- the trucking company got what they needed out of the deal
- the wholesaler got what they wanted
- the grocery store got their markup
- the farmer that raised it? Hmmm. Not so sure whether he got his. Maybe he had to cheapen up the product quite a bit to have it all make sense.

Then you have our farm: Raised here, processed 35 miles away, the 35 miles back to our farm, 70 miles total. No trucking company, no wholesaler, no grocery store markup. The farmer? Us? Still arguable as to whether we're getting ours!!! And that with our very lean ground beef sold at $5.25/lb, and being grassfed & from an organic farm. Ask yourself not why ours is so "expensive" but why theirs is so cheap!

Some more differences -- think of the carbon footprint of all the items above on your "cheap" beef. Your grandkids will pay for your cheap beef today, right? At least you get a deal today. Well our beef, you're paying for a better world and better health for you; the whole cost.

 So back to the economy----

We have always focused our energy on feeding real people. It's that important that real people are healthy, full of energy, and making good decisions in their lives from health and energy rather than sickness, fatigue and frustration. But that maybe was a bad bet on our part, because we've seen altogether too many that slink back to the grocery store for the cheap beef and leave us out to dry. In a trying/stressful time like this, one would hope that the very best of health and energy and decisions are made, and an excellent diet is sure a good place to be with that.

But maybe this is a good thing for us, too, in that we have to sharpen our pencils, put our minds to work, get creative and find new ways to get the word out. What we aren't going to do is give up, or cheapen our products, or now all of a sudden stick our noses up the butt of the rich and tell them how great it smells. Our food is for all people, regardless of income, it's for people that want to be healthy, but also help change the world for the better.

And who is doing their darndest to change the world for the better? Why, Scott Trautman & Trautman Family Farm is, that's who. How then? The very first and most important way: Being a radical revolutionary and daring to be a successful small family farm. Not giving into the "conventional wisdom" and laziness of thought and action that the family farm is dead. The idea that you can farm and do any damn stupid thing you want and someone will give you a living from it: That is Dead. That creative, hardworking people can still farm and keep the humanity out on the farm: Alive and well in a new breed of farmer that doesn't make excuses for themselves, and challenges each and every idea of what it is to be a farmer.

It would make some people feel a whole lot better about purchasing from the farm if the farmers lived in a doublewide, were unkempt and had bad teeth. That way you could be sure they weren't TOO profitable; it's okay for everyone else to make money, but not farmers, we have to keep them close to the bone. That's the conventional wisdom, and I've now said it. You cringe in hearing it, but isn't it the truth? You don't want to see us succeed and have a nice house out here, if you think somehow that might be at your expense. Yet Kraft, ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, the grocery store, it IS okay for all of them to report record earnings year in and year out. You say you want farmers to succeed, yet bitch about food prices. Words/action disconnect. Words easy to say: real convictions take money and action.

How again are we changing the world for the better?

Other farmers drive by this farm every day. And they all know we're one weird breed here. Organic? Everyone knows you have nothing but weeds and poor yields. Yet, that doesn't seem to be the case driving by here. How is that? As the years go by, 6 seasons now, the excuses they give THEMSELVES as to how we can be doing it -- have to drop away. And one day, they finally give in to themselves and pull in the driveway and ask just what is it we are doing here. And I am there to help, to make real farmers out of the chem-miners.

What's that about changing the world for the better?

I instigated, I lead, I teach the Introduction to Organic Farming course at MATC in Madison. I put in significant hours -- for free -- promoting it and getting the word out to farmers about how NOW is the time to be thinking about organic farming, and to be successful, they need to change how they think, and they need to fill their heads with knowledge, and not just the Coop's phone number to call in the chem bomb when they screw up.

With as screwed up as our farmlands are, our farmer's heads are far more screwed up. They question very little, and they are convinced of ideas that are just not true. If we all went organic we'd starve. That has always been bullshit. That organic farmers see nothing but low yields and weeds. Nope, bad organic farmers see low yields and weeds. All ideas propogated by those with everything to lose if farmers said NO to all that chemical and genetic crap. Those scum have mastered siphoning money from farmers to themselves; they have a captive audience as long as they continue to buy their bullshit ideas. A lie repeated often enough becomes accepted as the truth. And there are a whole lot of lies in conventional farming, friends.

So, back to this economy of ours....

The bigboys in foods over the last few years have all jumped on the organic bandwagon. Good for them. They've brought their ideas of success to organic, too -- domination good, competition bad. Suck up all the competitors, you get to do what you want. We've seen that. Mine the good out of a good word like organic. Fine. They are watching now, and I can tell you they are grinning ear to ear -- they would be happy to shut down the organic lines and fill you back full with their processed, high margin crap once again. If all it takes is a jag in the economy to put real people off the good food.

So NOW is the time for you to show them they are WRONG. When you're looking around at a smaller pot of money -- give up the damn cable, give up the extra recreation, you don't need the extra plasma TV, you don't need to eat out as much as you do, you need to eat right and spend more time with your family; not just in proximity to them but WITH them. And a family meal of great food is but one great idea on how to do it. Maybe this economy is your queue to re-assess just what's important. Stuff? Or people, family, values.

We have put our heart and soul into this farm. We currently work for NEGATIVE dollars per hour in the here and now. If we spread our labors and investment out over 20 years -- well, still less of a return than most of you would work for, but we love what we do, and know it is important work and we are willing to make the sacrifice.

It means so much more for us to feed regular people, that have made hard choices, and this food isn't out of the luxury pot, but the how are we going to make this all work pot, yet they choose us. That means something to us and we are humbled and grateful to those people.

We are suffering along with this economy. We are disappointed to see some customers make choices that lack courage, but we'll be okay; we'll work harder still, be more creative, and never ever become cynical.

We continue to lead by example, and to speak out for what's right. Please join us in that, fuel our engine of change, fuel your engines of change, support our farm, support your bodies, buy our great food, feed the gift that is your body.

How's the economy treating us? Let me be able to say it's treating us GREAT because real people are stepping up everywhere to let us know what counts.

 I now step down from my soapbox, and get back to some real work. That checkbook won't reconcile itself you know---

Really piss 'em off: Be happy, be healthy

 Scott Trautman
Trautman Family Farm
2049 Skaalen Road
Stoughton, WI 53589

Mr. Bull, "Shim", and our clearly emaciated half dead 100% grass dairy girls. Wait -- they look happy and healthy, how could that be? Could it be that 99.9% of dairymen are wrong? Nah, they must be getting grain somehow.....

RSS feed for Trautman Family Farm blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader