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OPINION Moo

And while he is waiting for his playing partner to putt on the ninth hole this weekend, he might consider being just a little nicer to his next door neighbours
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cow walton

First there was Mexico, then Iran followed by North Korea. Now Canada is on Trump’s hit list. And it is all the fault of our cows.

Once The Donald saw the reaction of those Wisconsin dairy farmers he ramped up the rhetoric. In Tweet sentences approaching six or seven words, he then played to the 2020 election audience by adding in that we Canucks and our cows had done a bad thing. A really bad thing. He then said he was going to look at everything we did – softwood lumber, energy, pills, and cars – anything we exported to the States that they themselves could or did make, grow or assemble. NAFTA was the worst deal ever. Ever.

Thank heavens he did not mention tourists or snowbirds but that might be next. Tourists soak up far too much American sunshine.

The Prez is a real capitalist supply and demand type of person. Make as many as you can; charge all the market will bear; don’t pay your bills, labourers, or taxes; and retire to your golf course. He just doesn’t get Supply Management – a sort of socialist/communist policy where you only produce as much as you need kind of system.

Our system guarantees the dairy milk producer so many cents per litre of milk with a limit on how much milk he can send to the system each day. South of the border, the dairy farmer takes what he can get for his milk depending on how much the stores and product users need – and what they are willing to pay per gallon. This price per gallon can and does fluctuate and the dairy farmer sometimes has to take a loss on his milk or throw it out – a bigger loss.

The costs of keeping a milk cow are not to be sneezed at. I recall our old one-eyed Jersey that we had for a few years. In the summer she would graze in our field (and the neighbour’s on occasion) but in the winter we needed a supply of hay, oats, and a small amount of molasses for her weekly treat. Fortunately, Bessie did not require the veterinarian too often for we would have been hard pressed to justify a vet bill against the amount of milk Bessie produced.

Nowadays the dairy farmers have milking machines and the cows stay in the barn most of the time. They might like to get outside for a stroll in the fields but then somebody has to round them up for their morning and evening milking. Our dog Chum would bring Bessie in each evening. In any event, her udder was full and she knew the routine of easing the pressure by milking.

Grandpa could milk Bessie and she would even tolerate me tugging and squeezing at her teats but not my father. Bessie would hit him with her tail, kick him with her set foot or even knock over the milk bucket. Grandpa always washed Bessie’s udder with warm water and even warmed his hands before milking. Dad just used cold water for the wash and never warmed his hands. Of course, he never talked to the cow either and cows like a little foreplay before milking. A few kind words of recognition work wonders even when using a milking machine.

I could be wrong but I doubt that The Donald has had much experience in the dairy business aside from buying shares in Cows Unlimited. He may know how to shovel manure but did he ever have to do it 365 days a year?  That was a rhetorical question. Did he ever have to get up every morning before the sun, wash and milk cows, sterilize the equipment, refrigerate the milk and have enough time to talk to the cows, his wife, and kids before the evening milking? Being a farmer is not easy and you have to love the lifestyle. It also helps to know that you are going to make a few dollars while farming. That’s why our Supply Management farmers are contented and the Supply and Demand American farmers are not.

There are some things in life that fit the Supply Management philosophy: milk, bread, eggs, and maybe chickens. Basic food is necessary and it has to be affordable. It fits in nicely with healthcare, education, and old age security. Perhaps Mr. Trump should give a little thought to our way of doing things.

And while he is waiting for his playing partner to putt on the ninth hole this weekend, he might consider being just a little nicer to his next door neighbours. That would be Canada and Mexico, in case he is wondering – the folks who have his back in case North Korea attacks . . .



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