Imagine that I’m a small-business owner, and I can’t sell the product I produce profitably. The prevalent advice from the reputed experts is to produce more of it. Any smart person would stop me at this point and say, “Wait a minute, why would you do that?”

Yet this seems to be the advice given to dairy farmers. Go big. Buy more equipment. Build more complicated systems. This leads to the tragedy behind the sign we saw on a dairy barn on our way to Malone: “[A big dairy company] got the goldmine. I got the shaft.” Small family farms are slurped up by disguised real estate holding corporations that “farm” in a completely different way. The modern way — so advanced.

There are 300 acres in Pierrepont that swallow up between 3 million and 7 million gallons of liquid manure twice each year. This is the waste product of a Canton farm that used to have cows on grass but now has cows in buildings. Virtually every acre of that farm is now in corn, but even that amount of corn can’t eat up all that manure. So the rest goes off to Pierrepont by tractor-trailer to grow more corn.

Each tractor-trailer labors all the way up Waterman Hill with the equivalent of a swimming pool worth of liquid manure. Six trips per hour times a 10-hour day, times a week or more, twice a year: 600,000 gallons per day times a week means 3 million gallons of liquefied manure are trucked by tankers in a week. How much fuel does it take to move 3 million gallons of liquid? Is this an efficient use of finite fuel resources?

Common estimates state that the U.S. farmer expends about nine calories of energy for every calorie he or she produces. When you consider the expenditure of the diesel fuel needed to move millions of gallons of liquid miles away to another location, I think the cost around here must be about 25 calories to one.

Would you spend $25 in order to get $1 back? No? Not logical? Well, it’s perfectly logical if you have several corporations, and one of them is used to “lose money on paper” to reduce the taxes on profits made by your other corporations.

Northern New York farms deserve a better fate than becoming tax shelters for the rich.

Pat Biggs


Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(3) comments


The free market, per Dr Von Hayech, to the rescue! So much milk is being produced that the price is zero and some of these farms are dumping it on the ground. Going broke is part of the process.


The bottom line is if we, as consumers, aren't willing to adjust our standard of living than more of the same nonsense will perpetuate itself. The bottom line is if we, as citizens, aren't willing to make a stand against the politicians who perpetuate corporate welfare we can expect this behavior to continue. For the most part this means getting rid of the politicians who have an (R) next to their name.

Holmes -- the real one

Well said, rockloper.

Spoken with the experience and gravitas afforded by your own farming background.

You are absolutely right -- we, as consumers, need to make the decisions that make this better.

More and more, people are rejecting obtaining their food from "factory-style" farms. And in our area, where farms are in abundance, people are seeking out vegetables that are responsibly grown and meat and eggs from animals who have been treated with respect.

We are also becoming aware of and concerned about the industrial-type introduction of nanoparticles of substances to "enhance" our milk products. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are added to "whiten" milk and milk products. Other metals are added in nanoparticles supposedly to better "preserve freshness." These particles are making their way into breast milk -- and we have already documenting the effects of growth retardation and even toxicity on offspring.

'I wash all my food like crazy': scientists voice concern about nanoparticles

https://wTranslocation of transition metal oxide nanoparticles to breast milk and offspring: The necessity of bridging mother-offspring-integration toxicological assessments

Effects of small-diameter silver nanoparticles on microbial load in cow milk.

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