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When We Have to Sell a Cow

I understand why we (farmers) do it, but I never said I liked it.

The part I hate most about dairy farming? Selling cows. Especially my #38 here who always tried to eat my hair, take my hat and playfully headbutt me.

She came to us from a farm family that sold their herd not too long ago. They gave me the backstory on this cow: she almost didn't make it as a calf after being born on a bitterly cold winter day in PA. She started her life in this family's basement and got a lot of extra loving.

I promised to take care of her and we have for over a year, but she aborted her calf, tanked in milk production and gained too much weight which would eventually make her sick and kill her.

It costs six dollars a day to feed EACH cow. She was only making 24 lbs./day. On average, our girls produce about 65 lbs./day. She was no longer able to pay for her room and board. Dairy farming is a business and we have to make tough decisions like every other business owner.

I understand the economics and I understand why she had to leave, but I never said I liked it. Trust me, I wish we could afford to have a retirement pasture. Lord knows it would be full.

Whether you agree with it or not, we're just trying to survive like everyone else. But my heart still breaks when I have to say goodbye.

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