Well, spring is here! Currently it is thundering outside, with a forecast of snow and cold to follow…welcome to Minnesota in March! With the warmer temps came a rapid thaw of our snow banks and drifts…the problem is the garbage that is left behind. It never ceases to amazing me, that in our environmentally conscience society we still have problems with people littering!
The snow left behind pop cans, plastic water bottles, fast food wrappers, cigarettes, papers, magazines, and so much more! It appears that since we live on a major paved county road and that we operate a dairy farm, that means that we are an acceptable dumping spot for other peoples’ trash. Each spring I spend at about 2-4 days walking ditches, cow yards and tree lines, looking for this trash. It seems simple to throw your garbage out the window at that dairy farm, but it turns out there are grave consequences for us.
For example, each summer we bale our road ditches (grass and alfalfa mix) for our heifers and dry cows. There’s nothing more irritating than finding crushed pop cans in a bale of hay. The bigger problem comes if a cow decided to eat that pop can. Metal in a cow’s rumen causes all kinds of problems, but if they are not caught and treated….the cow will die. This is a serious issue. Just today I watched one of my cows try to eat a soft drink cup from McDonald’s…this is not safe for her!
Secondly, we value the image of our farm. Garbage in the ditches makes our farm appear “trashy” to passer-bys. We work hard already, caring for our cows, calves and land, in addition to making the farm look presentable, we don’t need more trash to pick up during our free time.
Finally, it’s just not nice to spread your garbage in someone else’s office. I don’t think most people would enjoy it if I brought some of our trash to their offices and left it on their desk. Please keep that in mind when it comes to dairy farmers…our farm is our office…we like keeping it neat, and we hope you will too! So before you throw that trash out your window, please think twice for the dairy farmers who have to pick up after you…thanks!