A Facebook post was shared a few days ago by a young man in our community and it really echoes the emptiness of each loss we incur as another family farm ceases to exist. The loss we all feel, whether we are cognizant of it or not, is expansive. The loss of another family farm is important to our collective heritage in Wisconsin. Some say it is a romantic notion to hang onto a bygone era. Move on, they say. Farming is different now. They toss out platitudes with attitudes. But some of us still see the value of family farms and we want our society to find ways we can cling to that way of life. Perhaps, in this post-industrial age, we can actually reimagine farming and bring together the best of the old and new.
Here is the post shared by Jeff Limmex. He so eloquently put into words his feelings and we asked him if we could share it. With his gracious permission-
Spending the week at my parents for hunting. While sitting in the woods I noticed something, or rather, a nothingness. For as long as I’ve been alive and hunting. As daylight would rise faintly in the distance you would hear the pump to the barn turn on for the morning milking, the bunk turn on, and the heifers parade and bellar as they headed to eat their morning meal…… not this year. This year there was nothing. Not a single familiar noise.
As I walked back from my hunting spot I decided to stop into the barn I grew up milking and feeding cows in. As I entered through the door there was again …. nothingness
The barn filled with remnants of bedding from the last time cows were let out, the ceiling buried in cobwebs and dust, and memories from years past. The dim light seemed to be even dimmer than usual as barn sat there… lifeless.
All I seemed to think was of all the articles I see on Facebook of family farms going under and selling out as there isn’t money to be made doing it anymore, then coming to the realization this farm made it into that statistic. All I can say is support your local dairy farms they have and always be a huge part of this country. And this one, in particular, will always hold a special place in my heart.
Silence speaks very loudly. In this silence, perhaps we can contemplate how we can stop the statistics from rising in SW Wisconsin. We have to hold a special place in our hearts for the family farm and seek ways to support them. Draw attention to their plight. And find a way forward, celebrating agri-tourism in Wisconsin.