Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cody's Corner

Big Profits
We practice a method of agriculture here at Real Farm Foods that is old as the earth and made more accessible and proven by technology and science.  The use of plant and animal in a symbiotic relationship is science and nature working in an artistry of life that is as basic yet complex as the moon and stars.  Our modern agribusiness model of monoculture, practiced by most, represents the opposite which is the abuse of science to satisfy the greed of a few at the expense of life itself.  Along with genetically engineered crops came abusive amounts of pesticides and herbicides that continue to pollute our water, soil, and atmosphere and now our own bodies.  The promises made by the chemical companies have yet to be seen, other than huge corporate profits resulting from the promotion and sales of these artificial seeds which have benefited doubly by enormous increases of sales of most pesticides which the same companies happen to also have in their mix of company products.  Exaggerated claims of increased productivity made available to help eliminate the starving population scattered across different parts of the globe is obviously only hyperbole.   What we have witnessed is increases in disease and nutritional deficiencies not only in third world countries but malnutrition is now escalated in the Western world to health crises levels as true agriculture productivity falls.  We now understand how to be starved to death or to disease on a full stomach.
Yes, there is no doubt that with monoculture farming with the ecological destructive use of huge agriculture equipment and chemistry only a few farmers are needed to plant, harvest, and grow larger acres per man hour expended.  This has taken a multitude of human kind off the farm and a forced migration into the cities.  So now it takes fewer farmers to produce this quantity of food than it did say 100 years ago.  The question was never asked, or yet maybe only ignored by the so-called elite, "Did these people desire to relocate from the farms and countryside and what would be the sociological result of such an abrupt transition?"  The remarks made to support this plan lend a sort of demeaning tone to the art and craft to the most important career to humanity, the production of life giving food:  farming.  It could be that a great number of people actually find solace in spending a lifetime nurturing life through the practices of real farming.  The ideal that man is better served at an occupation that caters to a sedentary life, living primarily under artificial lighting, and ignoring the riches of the earth is at the least an absurdity and maybe on the verge of ignorance by the lower limits of all standards.  Nor was the questioned pondered by the mothers and fathers responsible for the nutrition and health of a country's citizens whether or not the chemical companies could or would even attempt to balance the diet with nutrient dense foods and outdoor exercise better known in the past as a common sense in movement that would build strong bodies and immune systems rather than bodies born with heavy levels of pesticide even before their first drink of their mother's milk.  Is it only by chance that these same huge chemical companies also have more chemical solutions to treat these symptoms in man that are manifested by this process and even exacerbated by many of the prescriptions handed out by corporate sales staff cloaked in long white coats?  Isn't a cure for many ailments simply the absence of the cause rather than the packaging of science in a drawer of capsules and injections?   Can success in science and medicine be judged more accurately by improvements in general health, fewer needs for treatment and less disease than an ever increase in the personal use of chemistry and patient rooms needed?  For it is this latter question that is answered in the affirmative when evaluating real farming practices and fewer acres are substituted for fewer patient rooms.  The solution for feeding the ever increasing worldwide population is not lower levels of nutrients produced per acre but yet more as in real farming.  And a culture that promotes the benefits of teaching a man to fish rather than handing out fish portions at no perceived cost surely has value.    
As the country relocated the majority of its citizenry into the cities the shortage of labor grew out of control at the farm because the people fell for this sham.  Farming now being implied as being almost beneath the status of a progressive American has allowed the laws protecting us from illegal immigration to be all but completely ignored.  This type of "ignorance-ing" has transitioned to the convenient source of cheap farm labor.  And now with the growing number of citizens dependent upon SNAP, food stamps, welfare and other government subsidies approaching 50%, our own ignorance of basic sustainability in all of life's balances may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. 
Meanwhile, there are more people without adequate nutrition among the poor countries of the world than ever before.  And now with abusive science and technology not only is real production on a per acre basis below the standards practiced daily by farmers who understand and yield to the demands of humus, organic matter, soil moisture retention, diversification, and nutrient dense crop seeds, but the very base of sociological balance is off kilter by levels never seen before save times of cultural collapse in history past.  So those who enjoy the temporary benefits of the profits of this system may now relish in blinders to the reality that their grandchildren, maybe even their own children will suffer from their own personal greed.  And if not by greed the very few alternate adjectives befitting such atrocities lie in the area of pure unadulterated ignorance or slothfulness; you choose. 
There are real farmers all across the globe that are producing real solutions to this problem.  Everyone does not need to be a farmer but each individual will be a consumer and therefore part of the solution as well.  By spending your food dollars at the real farm of your choice you not only receive the benefits enjoyed from healthy eating, you are privately lobbying for a more sociologically sustainable future.  And you thought all we did was farm.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cody's Corner  

Rights To Your Food

 Police raid on local farmer
Do you believe you have the right to eat what food you wish to consume?  Can you decide whether or not you go to the local grocery store chain and buy major brand processed foods or to your local farmer and buy his eggs, milk, hamburger and garden tomatoes?  Are you allowed to feed your own children in your own house what food you choose versus what some governmental agency requires you to feed?   Can you drink the milk you take out of your own cow on your own farm when you choose to?  Can you invite friends over to your own house and serve them food from your own garden?  Can you take the left over garden produce, like the tomato seconds that aren't quite so perfect and throw them over the fence into your pig pen for tasty treats for your own pigs being grown for your own dinner plate?  Depending upon where you live in these United States all of these things are deemed illegal and people are sometimes being prosecuted, fined and sometimes sent to jail for these very simple, natural food practices.  And the number of incidences seems to be increasing as more and more of the population are exposed or become more aware of how food is produced in today's modern agribusiness model.  This is because each year more people opt out of the major, processed, antibiotic fueled, chemically sprayed, pasteurized to oblivion, irradiated, hydrogenated, genetically modified, pesticide soaked, arsenic drenched, fecal contaminated products that are now being substituted for human food.  And some of these concerned citizens are finding their own personal farmer, visiting his farming practices, asking the right questions, learning, and buying more and more real food directly from the farm in order  to have a more pleasant eating experience as well as searching for a more nutritionally balanced, and safe food supply.   The percentage of concerned food eaters is growing and the big food companies and their allies, the USDA, FDA, and even sometimes the local health departments, are coming unglued.  The pressure these big entities can put on our judicial system, local, state, and Federal governmental agencies, and ultimately the individual can be beyond belief.  
 I am quite sure that most of our customers probably are not even aware of most of the battles that are fought at the farm level just to keep this ball rolling.  Real Farm Foods as well as a large group of similar farmers nationwide belong to a legal group known as Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.  This is a legal organization designed to help us farmers and individuals fight some of these battles as they come up.   Many of our friends both local and across this country have and are being bullied by one or more of these type agencies for doing some of the very basic food production methods mentioned above.  It is quite common that when big agribusiness pushes and the small farmer winds up in court defending some of these quite basic farming practices, a very large group of his customers also follow him into the courtroom each day this nightmare goes on for him and his family.  In many of the cases where the farmer has this great support from his customers in the court room, the farmer may win.  In one case of this manner most recently the jurors were the same as lied to by the judge and prosecutor and then after the case was over and the farmer was acquitted, the jurors became trusted new customers.  And remember it was a judge who most recently declared in his courtroom that "Americans no longer have the rights to choose what food they wish to eat".   
Food is the largest single enterprise in the world.  It is also the only thing we cannot live without next to water.  This makes food and all its components including farmers extremely subject to coercion, deceit, corruption, bribery, better known as lobbying, and puts food as the biggest coin of international trade and therefore extremely political.  
Without good, nutritious food it is impossible to obtain and retain good health no matter how many doctors tell us differently.  In almost all these cases the political and/or economic positioning is disguised as concerns for health and food safety reasons.  When, in fact, the factory farms, agribusinesses, and even the health care system that are supported by these organizations are profiting from this substandard production of so-called food and feel threatened by each one of us small independent farmers.  This is even more so particularly when you, our grand customers, speak your mind and vote with your food dollar in an educated fashion.  We all should know that health insurance is not equivalent to good health care.  And when good health care is wrapped in with good nutrition, expensive and hard to find good health care providers or health insurance becomes less and less of an issue.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cody's Corner

Profitability in Farming

After about 40 years of farming in Southern Missouri I have a fair handle on the economics of at least the business of grazing livestock.  By a large percentage most of the people that I have known over these years who were once in the business have now moved onto other business endeavors.  I believe this is because of the very low economic return most receive in this business of farming.  It is not unusual for a family cow/calf ranch to have a current value of two million dollars or more.  This being the size of ranch large enough to support even only one family may have a return on assets of less than two or three percent.  With this kind of return we are not going to see many new large homes and barns built in the generation that is building this business enterprise.  There is simply not the kind of net income available for such non-essentials on the ranch once all expenses are paid each year.

As I travel across this great country I find many large and beautiful barns and farm and ranch homes that were built 100 or more years ago and many of these would have been extremely isolated from major cities in that time.  And I am sure just like today there are some city people who have purchased a farm or ranch with income from off farm jobs and businesses, but not all.  There appears to have been plenty of real farmers and ranchers who were quite prosperous within their own rights.  So now after comparing all sorts of situations it has become quite clear to me why there is so much disparity between farming and ranching profitability of today and say, 100 or more years ago.  
The price of corn on the farm has been a consistent guide and comparison for farm economics for quite some time.  If we look at the price of corn in 1914, about one hundred years ago, it was $.84/bushel.  At today's current prices, adjusted for inflation, that corn would be priced at over $19/bushel instead of its real current price at about $5/bushel.  This is the result of a system put in place to reduce the cost of food to the consumer no matter what the real costs.  One big problem for the farmer/rancher is that even though the current price of corn has not stayed up with inflation, his costs of production and all his inputs, like, land, fuel, livestock costs, etc., have skyrocketed.  The price the rancher currently receives for his animals on the commodity market is also reflected in the same way in this example of the price of corn.  This hold on farm prices used to keep the artificial price of food at or below the cost of production is one of the base causes of our countries' economic and other serious challenges.  Americans pay a smaller percentage of their income on food purchases than almost any time in history.  And in a consumption society like ours, our population is urged to continue this disaster so that more of that income can be spent on really important things like cell phones, video games, basketball and concert tickets, over sized homes, two or three or more automobiles, and, of course, garages to house them in and the list goes on and on.  Even an elementary understanding of basic sociological economics realizes this system is not sustainable.  Everybody cannot stay in the house and play on the computer; someone will have to actually go outside and do some real work. This is only supported by inflation and debt, and even the very wealthy will someday lose their advantage if this continues.

I retrieved the following link from a newsletter sent out by another rancher friend of mine:

The author of the information is Dallas Mount.  His current analysis of the cow/calf business is demonstrated in the attached link.  He provides specific and accurate data demonstrating that this industry costs the rancher about $990 per year for every cow he owns.  The bad part is that the income derived from this cow herd only earns about $800 per cow.  This per animal loss must be made up or the rancher will soon be out of business.  These numbers demonstrate why as we look around our own countryside here in Missouri most of our neighbors own only a few cows if they own any, on average about 19 head.  This might be because this is all the loss they can afford.  It is an expensive hobby.  Another reason why today's total cow numbers have fallen to the same low level they were in 1952 and falling more while the human population continues to soar.  When I look at Dallas' data it is hard to find fault.  His system is based on standard, industry protocol which by design produces food at a cost higher than its production expenses.  It is easy to see this rancher is never going to build a new, beautiful, large ranch home or one of the grand old, giant barns we see mostly in the eastern states from ranching income.  It will be difficult for this rancher to even save his ranch under this real life scenario.
Although this economic system has been deliberately put into place we at the Rockin H Ranch have been practicing a style of ranching that is not based on standard protocol.  I will go so far as to say that if one is ranching by today's standards set in place by the so-called agriculture experts that the corporations and their bed fellows, the universities, have put in place he will also find financial disaster.  I find that everything written and spoken about in standard modern ranching practices will lead one to the same fate.   The profitable rancher of today will be scrutinized as the radical one and will pass on most all of the advice, technology, chemicals, and protocols put forth by these agriculture experts.  Modern methods of agribusiness is, by design, a system that sells its product at a cost below production expenses and is part of a planned system of subsidies paid for by the taxpayer making his food cost actually higher than any time in history.  It is simply disguised by very clever economists.  The first move one must make to become a profitable rancher is to learn and understand this ordeal.  For him to be profitable he will have to also appear by most as another one of those radical grass farmers.  Our Stockman's School for Profit is coming up in September and we will be taking a deeper look at these radical issues and much more.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ranching in America

Cody's Corner

Cowboy Cody, 1963
Cowboy Cody, circa 1963
Ranching in America

The Rockin H Ranch is symbolized by our livestock brand which is kind of horse shoe shaped, kind of C shaped, with a letter H setting inside the dip of the horse shoe.  In ranching terms we call this The Rockin H.  If there was a circle around the H we would call it Circle H.  Or if the H was sort of leaning back we might call it The Lazy Rockin H.  Now with my last name Holmes and my first name Cody not only does our ranch brand represent the Rockin part of the letter C turned up, which is also kind of shaped like the rocking legs of a rocking chair, but it is also the first two letters of my first and last name.  This brand for my current ranch was dreamed up in a young boy's mind in the late 1960's while watching some of my heroes on television like Ben Cartwright or The Rifleman.  There is little to no question that I had planned my ranch and this brand before I had any real idea what ranching was truly like.  And by 1973 the first purchase of cattle took place for the Rockin H Brand.  Soon after that my brand was registered with the State of Missouri and the challenges of real ranching began.  Fast forward 40 years later and that same brand is still displayed over the main entrance to my ranch and branded on the left hip of my cattle.
These 40 years have been extremely challenging is many respects.  I feel quite blessed to live my life in this great country and to be able to make these decisions that I have chosen both good and bad.  If I would have not had this privilege to ranch in America I can only image how empty I would feel today.  All the men and women that have sacrificed so I can still have this freedom of choice will always be my true heroes.  I encourage everyone and especially moms and dads to vigilantly and regularly speak of these things so that these values are not lost. 
The Rockin H Ranch operated for about its first 30 years as a traditional cowboy ranch.  During this time I earned the casual name of Cowboy Cody.  I spent a great deal of time horseback and worked my ranch very traditionally.  Then about 10 years ago the idea of Real Farm Foods began to develop and I also begin to see how ranching was really about producing food and not so much about cowboying and acting out like my Hollywood cowboys I had been performing like for most of my early life.  I will have to admit that some of this may naturally come with maturing, which most of us cowboys try to put off as long as possible.  So today you may see me driving around town in the summer time with sneakers and shorts delivering T-bones, lamb chops, or even red tomatoes all grown on our Rockin H Ranch which we say is the home of Real Farm Foods.  I do not give myself credit for any of this but all goes to our great Creator and those brave men and women we tip our hats to on Independence Day coming up this week.  Happy Independence Day to everyone and let's keep this country free for all for years and years to come.     

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Skilled Farmers

During the industrial revolution the art and craft of real farming got caught up in the excitement, politics, and eventual turmoil caused by mechanization being instated where sound judgment should have been more prevalent.  It was like using your garage door opener to open your garage, start your car, undress from your pajamas, put on your work day’s clothes, drive one hundred feet to the edge of your drive way, check the mail, and then pull back into the garage and reverse everything you just did.  When you simply could have thrown on a bath robe and walk out to the mail box and pick up your junk mail and save all that other nonsense.  That scenario is akin to our current agribusiness model.   

This Washington driven demand to push most farmers off their land and into the cities was escalated by our own Department of Agriculture.  Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, during the Nixon administration goes down in history as not only a racist, but also known for his famous speech stating to a group of farmers, “get big or get out”.   We took a population of people where over 45% of our population were farming as a carear to a now population of less than 2% are farmers.  In that earlier time such diseases as cancer, diabetes, Ms and many, many other autoimmune diseases were almost unheard of.  Now the reports tell us two out of three males will get cancer and one out of three females.  There are so many serious life threatening diseases around today many have the chance of securing more than one.  Following that was the beginning of our current monumental subsidy programs funded by the tax dollar to cover the farm lands of this country with corn and soy beans to feed the masses.  Big problem with this, nutritionally, grains are a starvation diet.  And the economical and social outcomes of this debacle is now showing up in about every area of American disaster today.  This problematic policy is at the root cause of such environmental ecological issues as flooding, drought, soil erosion, poor drinking water quality, loss of delicate soil fertility and organic matter, as well as social problems all the way from unemployment, sinking rural economic viability, increases in city slums, disastrous medical and health quality including the associated high costs of such, and more.  The real straw that is breaking the camel’s back is common knowledge that these politics have been attempted many times before in history and has always ended in entire ruination.

Fast forward about seventy years and America has more problems, more debt, and less options than any time in history.  Many folks are beginning to recognize that we at least have a significant problem in the quality of our food and have related this issue to at the bare minimum to the quality of our health and the possible cause of many of our recent increases in serious diseases that plaque our population by no small number.  So for some the answer is to improve the quality of our food production and distribution system so that we can have a higher nutrient level and less amount of dangerous chemicals and artificial food additives.  But because we have employed such high levels of sophistication and technology in the agribusiness world, we have all but lost the absolute requirement needed for quality farming and food production.  And this requirement is the art and craft of good farming.  This highly trained skill was stomped all over during the industrial revolution and given little to no credibility and has just about been wiped out in most of America.  We do not have an institution or organized educational training system designed to produce graduates or train farmers how to produce good food.  All of those institutions that once provided these services have been attached directly to the teats of our political and economic system that initiated the mechanical grain production disaster.  We have spent all this time training and educating in a direction that has succeeded in getting our poor nutrition and sickened human health to the low level it has advanced to today.   These very highly indoctrinated wage earners are one of the biggest hurdles to cross to turn around not only our good health through good nutrition but also the social and economic evils that infiltrate our country today.  There is a tremendous lack of knowledge concerning the depth of skill and craft required to produce good nutritious food at the farm level.  This cannot be done in a manufacturing plant.  It cannot be accomplished only through upper level management staff or highly paid employees.  And the fixes or cures for poor nutrition cannot be repaired in a hospital or doctor’s office.  Jefferson and Washington and many others before them spelled it out in very easy to read words which we mostly ignored.  As humans we are dependant upon the good earth’s bounty and the ones who produce those goods.  We must now take the time to train good farmers to become once again skilled and the craft of good farming recreated less we all succumb to the same fate that those before us have when they ignored this warning.      

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Connecting Lives

One of my favorite authors is Wendell Berry who authored the book ‘The Unsettling of America’.  In his book, Berry does a good job of relating every day, simple concerns and events in our culture to the moral character of family, importance of good top soil and clean water, and how we as a nation have departmentalized most everything to the point that we miss the connectedness all things in life have.  In a way he is referring to a term I use quite often which is the holistic approach.  Nothing stands in isolation.  To learn all about the mechanics of a locomotive and not understand the social effects that mechanization may have on a community is the opposite of holism.  Or to work diligently to send all one’s classmates to a university to study at levels of graduate level  learning and above without reckoning with the appropriateness of such a debacle caused by labor shortages in such areas as refrigerator repair or shop keepers is also a recipe for moral decay.  How can families become happy and productive if everyone around them are doctors and lawyers, but when their car breaks down on the interstate no one owns or operates a tow truck business or mechanic shop to fix their car.  

In the early 1970’s our agricultural system had a political push to expand not only the size of the farming enterprise in number of acres per farmer, but it put forth increased pressure to departmentalize or specialize in single crop production.  Eventually a term we know today as mono cropping became the norm instead of the exception on almost all farms regardless of size.  Where it was once common for most productive farms to be managed in a way that benefited from having two, three or more species of farm animals, and maybe several crops raised in a symbiotic relationship that benefited the production of each small enterprise on each farm, the push for single crop or single animal production became the standard.  And at most agricultural universities today little is taught or understood about mixed farming from those who are employed there or who support that educational system.  Mechanization with larger and larger tractors and other equipment used on today’s farms to work these mono crops seem to have no limits in size.  And with the advent of more and more equipment the need for less and less farm labor seems to have been one of the direct results.  It was anticipated and specific words were spoken during the early stages of this agricultural change that along with this great mechanization underway more and more people would be relieved from farm work and be allowed to study more, learn more and the results would be more doctors, lawyers, and other professionally labeled individuals.  No one asked the question do we really need more lawyers or office workers and more importantly no one took a look at what might happen to the small communities around those farms when a swift migration to the cities occurred.  And how does a farmer instantly become adjusted to city life and are all of those farmers suited to such a life change.  They cannot all become pediatricians so where do the non doctor farmers find employment in a big city where milking cows, feeding pigs, and managing pastures are all very specialized skills that are seldom if ever needed in the city.  If you look closely you will see an explosion in the ghetto population and intercity projects, unemployment and many forms of government subsidies and welfare type programs emerge. 

Without the mixed species holistic management of the small farms the larger mega farms began to find productive increases by housing tens of thousands of animals in confinement buildings which are today labeled CAFOs.  These productive increases are really a myth hidden by creative accounting which fails to include for one the degradation of human drinking water caused by the run off of sewage of all these confined animals.  Nor does it include the human consequences from the increased antibiotic use in the feed these animals consume just to keep them alive during their short lives in such deplorable living conditions i.e. most often living their entire lives wading through their own excrement.  And maybe the increase in the need for more doctors was partially anticipated in this great agricultural change to fight the antibody resistance to most of these drugs that eventually wind up in our food supply and effect persons with such deadly and mostly untreatable diseases like MIRSA.  If this was the case we can add one more failure to this flawed experiment in humanity.

One of the biggest results has been our unprecedented increase in human auto-immune disease and others yet classified in an appropriate manner.  Our poor health, increased poverty both in the inner cities and rural America, increases in moral decay once partly held at bay by the small farming community that once worked together which demanded personal responsibility.  All life exists at the hands of those who tend the soil.  We might should consider where our priorities are best applied.   It is true that the great Roman empire was destroyed not by an enemy invader but from within itself.

Monday, April 22, 2013


ComparisonsFamily milking cows

One way to gage the moral character of a civilization is to observe how they husband their livestock.  Typically speaking, a group of people will take the same caution and care of their animals that they take for their family, friends, neighbors and fellow man.  Another way to say this is that if a careless disregard for animal life is observed in one's culture a careless disregard for human life will also exist.  And the opposite is true.  One objection to this statement many times comes from the long time farmer who makes the statement or asks the question remarking why would he mistreat his animals that earn him money?  His emphasis is stressed that mistreated animals would certainly have a negative effect on his profit margin.  There in fact may be some truth to this last statement but that reasoning in itself will never be the guiding armor required for good animal husbandry alone.  There must exist a far deeper reason for raising animals in a respectable way, just as there is a non-profit motive for treating our fellow humans with high regard.  
I see many similarities between common farm production methods and our current model for raising and managing a family whether being raised on a farm or in a more urban environment.  What comes to my mind at this time is the comparison of the confinement dairy farm to the typical young urban family going their busy way at working, raising children, eating, and just general lifestyle.  In today's culture it has become quite the norm for both parents to hold down at least one full time job for each parent.  Mom has her career and dad has his career.  With each parent working full time, the commute, lunch time, late meetings, etc., each will average well over ten to twelve hours away from the home each day.  One of the parents will leave home early enough to drop the baby off at the daycare center, and somehow get the other two kids to school in time for their first class.  The daycare center will manage anywhere from six to thirty or more runny nosed, sucking on the door knob, pooping and slobbering all over the furniture rug rats.  Being the youngsters that they are their immune systems are extremely underdeveloped.  And because of their parent's hectic work schedule and lifestyle the family's nutrition, or should I say the lack thereof, generally comes in the form of stamped out fried fake chicken or some other frankenfood handed out through the window of a building into the window of their car on their way home or to work or school.  So now we have a bunch of preschoolers who constantly infect each other due to this unnatural rearing imparted on by their parents who put their own needs ahead of their children.  One of the many ill effects we now see from this parenting model is extreme increases in poor health among the children and adults coming out of this program.  We have off the chart increases from most all of the autoimmune diseases known to man, not limited to cancer, diabetes, MS, etc., as well as moderate to extreme obesity.  One of the most recent diagnoses for thirty-year-olds of today is that their health is comparable to a forty-five-year old of years past.  I hope I wasn't that unhealthy at forty-five.  
In comparison to the modern confinement dairy farm, the adult cows don't take any more responsibility for the rearing of their young than do the human contemporaries.  Milk cows are immediately put into the dairy barn after calving, kind of like the mother when she goes back to work.  The baby calves are put into individual partitions generally referred to as calf hutches in solitary confinement or, daycare.  There they are fed a non-dairy dry product mixed with tap water, infant formula, to replace the only natural healthy food capable of fully developing the rumen in that animal, mother's milk.  Sickness and death loss can exceed fifty percent.  I visited with a diary not too long ago that because of such high death loss in rearing their calves in this manner, they choose to shoot every bull calf the day that it is born.  The heifers that do survive to the milking barn age on average only stay productive for about one and one half lactations before being taken to the butcher.  This is an average life time of about four or five years old.  As a comparison it is not uncommon for grass-fed calves raised on their mother's milk to stay in production for twelve, thirteen, fourteen, or more years.  This, in comparison to the thirty-year-old who now looks forty-five from a health prospective.  Another report I read stated that children born today have a shorter life expectancy than of their parents.
There are many more comparisons between how a culture treats its animals and its fellow humans.  And the result of that care is monumental.  I have provided only a short description of only one partial example of how we treat dairy animals and how we raise the youngest of our fellow human beings and related it to only one simple fragment of nutrition.  The psychological, educational, cultural outcome and sustainability of these systems have not even been addressed in this short essay.  The manner in which we choose to treat our elderly is even more disturbing.  I share that when humans become unattached to the rearing and practicalities of animal husbandry in their daily lives they simultaneously become comparably inept at human relationships.  The quality caring for animals is best learned as a young child and is stepped up with responsibility as age appropriate.  This learning process is carried forward into their adult life to be continued in a similar manner when they start their own human families.  It is inconceivable to think that a young parent with very little proper instruction for caring for the young could excel in such an important part of civilization as raising children if they had no or very little instruction or practice preferably on animals as a child.  
This comparison between the farmer and the young parent is not intended to only show evidence in the lack of compassion for our children and the lack of responsibility among parents.  It is also intended to show the total disregard for caring animal husbandry practices that gleam across this entire country not only from dairy farms, but confinement chicken growers, hog growers, feed lots, etc., and other industrial agricultural models that are not really farming at all but commercial manufacturing houses with little to no real animal husbandry practices in place.  And the unhealthy condition of these animal facilities and their practices extend into the lack of poor nutrient quality of the food stuffs being processed there.  And the consequences to civilization even surpass the necessities for nutrient dense food.  They may even contribute negatively to the sustainability of a civilization regardless of the food consequences.   We really do need at least six million more real farmers in America right now.  @real farm foods.net