(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({ google_ad_client: "ca-pub-1163816206856645", enable_page_level_ads: true }); Northview Diary: Desperation

Saturday, January 23, 2010


NY Dairy farmer kills 51 cows then commits suicide. These are not easy times to be a farmer of any kind and dairying in particular has faced an unprecedented series of challenges recently. I guess this is just a heartbreaking symptom of the desperation that is undoubtedly being felt on a lot of farms these days. We didn't know this man, but my heart goes out to his family and friends....what a sad, sad thing.

Update....Here are two more stories, one from a friend, that I found after I first learned of this story.

***I am going to add a comment I left on Teri's blog because I understand too darned well .

"I am heartbroken for this man and his family. It is absolutely true that you get up every single morning worrying about being able to get by, how you will pay for ever more expensive necessities with an ever shrinking milk check. It is county tax time right now and I am sure plenty of farmers have a tax bill sitting on their desk like something radioactive, glowing in the back of their minds like a nightmare…waiting for them to figure out how to deal with a bill that will probably take more then two milk checks, which are already needed for grain bills and power bills and last year’s crop inputs. etc……..
We are losing something priceless and irreplaceable in this country, as our farmers give up in one way or another and our farmland turns into housing developments and malls….. and most people won’t even notice until it is all gone."


joated said...

Thank you for pointing out this, as you say, sad, sad story. My thoughts will be on this man and his deperate act for quite a while.

I read AnnMarie's comment (I think that's the right name--comment #6)on Terri's blog and it brought tears to my eyes.

Terrace said...

This is the first news story I've read in a very long time that actually brought me to tears. Came over here to see what you think. I feel so sorry for this poor man and his family. Had a suspicion there was a "reason" why the cows "had" to be disposed of, in his mind.

My father grew up on a large poultry farm in western Pennsylvania that failed. Disease, or possibly tainted feed, wiped out their chickens en masse. He remembers shoveling the dead chickens. So there is something about the image of hard working farmers and dead farm animals that really gets to me, thinking of what my grandfather and father's family went through. The failure of their farm changed their lives forever, maybe not for the better.

My father's relations still dairy farm in Madison County. His cousin was killed in a farm machinery accident about 15 years ago. It's a hard life even in the best of times and you have to love it to make it work.

Dani said...

We'll all be thinking of this man for awhile....I hope now he has found his peace.

Deb said...

This just breaks my heart. I read it very early this morning and just sat there, numb but understaning. I fear this is just the beginning.....I'm so saddened to see America throw away something that is so darned important and always has been. Will our country ever wake up?

I pray that this man's family can get through this and that he is at peace. No family should have to suffer so. It's just so wrong.

nyvolfan said...

When I read this story I couldn't help but think about my family and friends who have been involved in dairy farming at some point in their lives. I can't imagine how agonizing this decision must have been for this farmer. I feel for him thinking this was the only decision he could make. Our politicians need to get a grasp of exactly how much trouble dairy farming is in, especially in NY. My representatives will be hearing from me soon.....

Cathy said...

How do we process this kind of tragedy? It's too painful to imagine this man's agony, the sense of futility, the pathos that led to this act. I am so sorry.

I've been watching a Yale lecture series online.

Professor Kagan discusses Ancient Greek civilization.

In one of the lectures he mentions the demise of the family farm, how important it has been to civilization and asks his young Yale audience if anyone knows a farmer.

One person answers in the affirmative and Professor Kagan leans over his podium and exhorts the student to give the farmer his best regards. He personally knows not one farmer except through professional contact - Victor Davis Hanson - a farmer and classicist.


Sandcastle Momma said...

How terrible to produce such a vital product and still get beat up at every turn. How many other farmers wake up every day wondering if that's their only option? Very sad.

threecollie said...

Joated, Believe it or not I first saw it on the Fox news website, then after I wrote about it I saw that it was on Teri's blog and in the Times Union. I felt the same way about AnnMarie's comment. She said it very well

NYCO, me too, I couldn't get my mind off it all day. You are right in all that you say about farming. It is not the idyllic bucolic Disney wonderland that too many people think it is. And yet it can be and often is wonderfully rewarding.

Dani, I ache for his family, I really, really do...I just hate to think about the pain they are feeling and all under the public spotlight

Deb, same here, it was in the back of my mind all day and the first thing I thought of this morning... I have no doubt that had the cattle not been involved only a few neighboring farmers would have even known about it

NYV, it is so sad....and I doubt that hardly anyone in state or national government has any clue what rampant unemployment and the creeping economy are doing to ordinary folks in all walks of life.

Cathy, wow, that is really something....kind of frightening

SCMomma, I was shocked and gasping when I read the headline on the national news. It isn't so very far from here, although we didn't know them....I am sure it would have been a quiet, painful tragedy, known only to friends and family, if it weren't for the cows...which says something I don't like to think about either...the poor man and his poor family...

Shirley said...

It will be when the cities can no longer find farm produce to feed the masses that the government will decide to do something about it and then they will probably want to do government owned and controlled farms. Can anyone say, Socialism?

Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking and so sad! It brings tears to my eyes and a sick feeling to my heat that it came to this.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

This is sad, but why couldn't he have just sold all his cows instead of involving him in his desperate mission in suicide?

Would it be acceptable for a man to kill his entire family and then kill himself if he were depressed?

Why kill the innocent cows? Why not leave them for his family to sell and at least make a little more to get by?

I feel sorry for this man and his predicament, but he was selfish for murdering all of those cows. When you think about it it was rather vicious. After the 3rd, 4th or 5th cow, wouldn't it occur to a sane person that what they were doing was just wrong and unethical...and cruel?

I'm sorry I just can't understand this situation. My Mother commited suicide with a gun when I was only 8 yrs old. She killed herself while sitting on bench perched with a view of the sea...and beside a playground.

How selfish of her to not consider that little children would discover her body with her brains spread out behind her. How selfish that she scarred them forever....as she did me.

I'm sorry...I just don't get it.

Suicide is selfish.


cdncowgirl said...

I originally came here to take a peek at your Sunday Stills pics but this story caught my eye.
I wanted to say that my heart goes out to his friends and family. While some may look at the shooting of the cows as an act of cruelty others will see it from the point of view of the farmer. It is heartbreaking that farming in general is in such rough shape (why can't people remember where their food comes from!?) but that dairy farming is in such rough shape came as a bit of a shock to me. Dairy farming around here (Saskatchewan, Canada) is much better off. My best friend works in a dairy that milk 400+ cows/3 times a day.
Money must have been at least part of the issue for this farmer but I would not be surprised to hear the "personal issues" were so much more than financial. Farming can be a lonely life, made even more so when you do it without help. I would not be surprised if he was suffering from depression.
Shooting his cows, well like I said I can almost understand his reasoning... but to kill himself as well, I have a hard time with that. Suicide is selfish but when people are that far gone they are not usually thinking clearly.

threecollie said...

Shirley, it has happened in so many other countries, but seems to be forgotten. Have you heard about the Australian farmer who recently was hospitalized from a hunger strike he staged over his nation's laws for carbon sequestration, which ruined his and many other farms? Unbelievable!

Linda, it is horrible on so many levels

Lisa, I am so very, very sorry. What a horrible thing....there is just nothing I can say...

cndcowgirl, thanks for stopping by and for taking time for such a thoughtful comment. I don't suppose anyone who has reached the point of suicide is very rational anyhow...

DayPhoto said...

When Terry and I saw this on the news our hearts broke! Our thoughts and concerns go to each and every dariy farmer out there. Farming is hard, people really don't understand.

My parents struggled with a huge fruit orchard which left them in forclosure and huge debt. The products from overseas and South America, coupled with hard late freezes and hail they were finshed. Thier taxes killed them, but the very worst thing was what thier best friends did to them. But that is another story in and of it's self.

Some of the hardest things I hear said to farmers are after a crop is destroyed--Oh, well! Better luck next year!

They SO DO NOT UNDERSTAND!!!! There maynot BE a next year!

Oh, sigh.


anne smith said...

Hello there! so there is another dairy farmers wife with a blog!! yahoo may I have your email? would love to chat with you!!!

Talk later,
Annie ps i really do milk the cows not just talk about it