Letter to the editor: Large farms are sustainable

In response to Geoff Davis’ recent letter that ran in the Sept. 26 edition: Sorry but facts matter. Hills’ cows are not chained to iron rails, they live instead in free stalls which allow them to wander freely in their environment, choosing to relax in whichever stall they like.

Since his observation is incorrect, I believe the rest of his arguments are not based on facts. Large farms like the Hills’ are quite sustainable. As are the very large farms in the Midwest, which recycle water, bedding, nutrients etc.

The sustainability of any dairy is based on the premise that grass fiber can only be digested by ruminants. Corn and beans can only feed so many people, and the inputs for those crops are tremendous. The beauty of the ruminant is her ability to digest fiber and turn it into milk, meat and fiber for use by us. According to the University of Minnesota, The U.S. is producing 60 percent more milk from 30 percent fewer cows than in 1967. This is because each cow produces over 2.5 times as much milk as 50 years ago. This is largely due to genetic and managerial improvements. That’s efficient and sustainable.

Tom Hickley


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100