‘Faith it until you make it’: How we’re surviving and where to go from here

Krista Stauffer for Progressive Dairyman Published on 22 February 2018

I shared the following recently on social media:

“I was recently asked what I am most excited for in the new year (2018). I thought; then I thought some more. To be honest, we are currently diving head-first into some of the worst milk prices we have seen since we started farming. I'm nervous. I'm concerned. I'm a tad bit scared. I am not sure how many dairy farms will be left by the end of the year here in the U.S. Who's to say it won't be us. ... You honestly never know.

“With that said, I am truly looking forward to digging my heels in and working side by side with my husband to ensure we make it. I am looking forward to taking care of every single cow as if she is going to be with us for the next 10 years. I am going to love on every single calf born on the farm with faith that I will be able to watch them all grow up. I'm looking forward to watching my kids play and talk about when they will take over the farm some day.

“I am going to put my whole heart into this farm and have faith in God's plan for us. Even more so, I am looking forward to surviving 2018 and being able to look back at such an accomplishment. ‘Faith it until you make it’ is my new motto.”

faith it until you make it

As I read the comments from my fellow farmers, my heart broke into a million pieces. So many families are struggling to hang on. I had to walk away from the messages I was receiving, as it was just too much to take in. I already had enough stress and concern on my own heart and mind. We were already like so many others trying to figure out where to cut costs, which ultimately resulted in me putting a lot more hours in at the barn, trimming feed costs and trying to accomplish much needed projects to improve efficiency. But there is a point where there is just no more to trim, and sadly this is where many farms are right now.

Unfortunately, activists took hold of my post and used it as an opportunity to gloat about their success in taking down the dairy industry one farm at a time. I decided after several days of online harassment not only toward me, but to those who had commented on the post, that I needed to delete the Facebook post.

But you know what? All those comments and stories are still on my heart.

As I write this, I cannot help but wonder if there isn't a better way. The way our industry operates, with cooperatives making money when farmers are struggling to hang on, just doesn't seem right. Producing more milk to spread out cost in an already saturated market hurts everyone. I’m certainly not pointing fingers or saying that I have all the answers, but isn't it time we try something different?

Right now is a perfect time to start figuring out how to manage the supply since we do not have the demand, the trade deal(s) or processing capacity to handle it. Maybe it is time that we unite as an industry instead of trying to outlast each other and fix this broken system. Maybe our neighbors up north don’t have a perfect system, but they have figured a way that allows everyone from cooperatives to farmers to succeed. Maybe, just maybe we could do the same? Or maybe I should just have a little more faith.  end mark

Krista Stauffer
  • Krista Stauffer

  • Dairy Producer
  • Washington
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PHOTO: Photo by Krista Stauffer.

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