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Thinking backwards – are we suffocating ourselves?


One night last week we had a Breech calving  here at the dairy, a Breech birth is when the calf is coming backwards or rear legs first.  These calvings are extremely difficult because  the last part of the calf to be exposed is the head. A normal birth is front feet and head first presentation because it is naturally somewhat more aerodynamic and the calf can start breathing sooner.  This situation has to be dealt with as an emergency and immediate attention and assistance is given so the calf does not suffocate.

As I was finishing the calving it hit me that the situation mimicked life a bit, in that if we are backwards in our thinking sometimes we can’t see the light and will suffocate. Sadly I see this thinking more and more everyday. For example overburdening regulations that actually makes doing the right thing more expensive than neccessary it threatens the sustainability of an industry. Here in the California Central Valley we have regulations from the Central Valley Water Resources Control Board that can actually make doing the right thing downright unsustainable for business survival.  As time has gone by and common sense been added to the water environmental regulations they have been much easier to work with. Farmers are all about doing the right thing we just want a common sense economically feasible way to do it.

Backwards thinking can also be seen in knee jerk reaction to one high profile incident just to create that warm fuzzy feeling that something was done, only to end up making the problem many times worse.  Another example of thinking backwards is the thought that something should always be done one way because that is how it has always been done, and refusing to see the opportunity for innovation by looking for more options.

By thinking backwards we can almost guarantee ourselves that we will never move forward and stretch our boundaries to see what lies beyond them.

If you are wondering how the calving ended up through teamwork my father and I were able to help a calf be born alive.

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About raylindairy

Ray is a partner with his parents in Ray-Lin Dairy in Denair, Ca. The operation milks 475 cows and double crops corn & winter forage on 130 of the 240 acres with about 90 acres of pasture. The family also has 1200 ac operation in Klamath Falls OR that raises alfalfa hay, wheat hay, and oat hay. Ray is currently secretary of the Agchat Foundation an entity he helped found whose mission is to empower farmer to use social media. He is currently a on the board of directors of CA Dairy Campaign, Dairy CARES, and is the 2nd Vice-President of Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. He is also a member of the National Dairy Board. In addition to his involvement in agricultural organizations’ he is the Chairperson of the Governance Committee at a newly formed charter school his daughter attends, and serves as a director for the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District. Ray and his wife Erica live on the dairy with their two children.

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