One of the criticisms we often get in media is that we only run negative stories, maybe not so much at Farm and Dairy, but in media in general.
No doubt, there is lot of negative stuff that makes the news. For one thing, we live in a world where many negative things happen, and people do things that are disturbing and contrary to the morals and values of their society. Negative events stand out, and they get people’s attention because of the emotions they evoke.
But this week, I had the chance to report a very positive story and one that I think will evoke emotions as strong as any negative news story I’ve ever written.
On Tuesday, I met about 15 farmers from Tuscarawas County, near Dundee, Ohio, who were gathered to help one of their own. Rich Harstine, a dairy farmer, and a farm helper, sustained serious injuries in a tractor rollover accident mid-July.
Just a couple weeks later, his friends and neighbors came to help make hay so his cows would have plenty to eat the next few months. They brought tractors, wagons and silage choppers, and a willingness to help get things done.
I had a hard time taking their pictures, because they were spread out in so many places at any one time, that I couldn’t even get half of them in the same frame. (Except for lunchtime, when they took a much needed break and sat at the same picnic table.)
Check it out
I talked to at least a half-dozen of the helpers while I was there, as well as Rich. No one had a lot to say, other than they were glad to help. The story is on the front of today’s website, and we intend to have it in the coming week’s print edition.
It’s probably my favorite kind of story to tell — the story of farm people working together for a cause greater than themselves.
These are the kinds of stories that need told, because it’s a good example of the character and determination most dairy farmers share.
There are certain organizations and individuals who do not want to see livestock farmers prosper — they run advertisements telling us to “ditch” these industries and cast farmers in a bad light. They tell us we should live “compassionate” lives and make “humane” choices in our diets. They want us to give up eating meat and dairy on certain days of the week — and if we dare — give it up altogether.
Caring and doing
What we eat is rightfully up to each person. But I saw a heck of lot of “compassion” this week, in the fields and at the barn of a dairy farm here in Ohio. And I saw a lot of “humanity” and hard work in the eyes and the sweat of people who care about what they do, and the foods they produce.
I agree that we need to “educate the public” about “what really goes on” at our nation’s dairy farms, and quite frankly, it’s a lot better than some are telling us.
I truly am amazed at “the bond” among dairy farmers and neighbors, who come to one another’s aid to see that the milking gets done, the cows get fed and cared for, and Americans have a plentiful supply of the foods they choose to eat.
And I also believe “farming is a noble profession,” as I heard one vegan animal rights activist proclaim at a livestock care meeting last year in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. In fact, I think it’s so “noble” that I’m even willing to eat meat and dairy products myself, no matter what day of the week it is.
The good news
I don’t suppose you’ll hear about this farm and what the neighbors did on CNN, or any of the other mainstream news organizations. And I doubt anybody will be holding nationwide press conferences to tell the consumers what a “good” job dairy farmers do — as some activists have done when campaigning against animal agriculture.
But when you hear about the bad news, remember the good, also. And remember people like the Harstines and their neighbors, who are working hard to feed their animals and the consuming public.