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What do you say in these tough dairy times?

Laura Flory for Progressive Dairyman Published on 07 December 2017

No matter how hard I try to think of topics that are strictly farm related, I always sit down and seemingly pour my heart out to the blank page about something that comes out sounding more like a Sunday sermon than a dairy farmer’s blog post.

As I thought about what I should say for this post, I just couldn’t find a topic that fit. As some of you might know from previous posts, my family put in robots several years ago, and just last year, my husband and I welcomed our first child. I have to admit, babies are more consuming (and of course better) than I could have ever imagined. As I have slowly come out of the fog that all new moms are blinded by temporarily, my awareness has returned and sometimes, friends, I just don’t know what to say. It’s no secret the dairy economy has changed over the last few years, and we have all heard and felt the effects of these tough times. At meeting after meeting I have attended, the speakers always maintained a positive attitude all while recognizing that challenges were ahead.



At a recent meeting, the tone was no different. Those of us in agriculture are a resilient bunch. But after the speakers stepped off stage and the quiet conversations took place, the news trickled through about the folks who decided to step away from the way of life they love because the reality is that those challenges aren’t backing down without a fight. Not what any of us really want to hear.

But more than hearing, I have been thinking a lot about what we should be saying. What do you say to the dairyman whose cows are leaving at the end of the year? Or to the friend who has lost a loved one? What do you say when the headlines are full of scandals? When there is an empty chair at Christmas dinner?

Friends, please do not take this as negativity. I hope we all continue to get up every morning with a hope in our hearts for a better future because I believe it can be so. But the more life I live, the more I see that along with that hope comes the reality that there are certain times when saying, “It will get better,” and a pat on the back just don’t fit quite right.

I don’t know the answer to this question. I myself have fumbled for words many times to say something meaningful in situations where it seems my words can only scratch the surface of what I wish I could say. As Reba sang what seems like many moons ago:

“What do you say in a moment like this? When you can’t find the words to tell it like it is? Just close your eyes and let your heart lead the way. Oh, what do you say?”


In this season when we are leaning hard into hope, my hope is that even if we don’t know what to say, we will not let the silence scare us, rather make us hold onto the hands of those who need us even tighter.  end mark

Laura Flory
  • Laura Flory

  • Dairy Producer
  • Dublin, Virginia
  • Email Laura Flory