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Scott Trautman's Thought Provoking Questions

By Scott Trautman | Local Harvest

A friend, who has recently gone through some great changes, made a strong statement to me. As those, for example, who have recently quit smoking, there is that time where they are militantly anti-smoking, and believe what they would say would be useful to someone still smoking. Nope, it's not. What I told him, and good advice for me to take myself, is to ask questions. Open ended questions. Thoughtful questions. I hope I can succeed in asking those kinds of non-judgmental questions. The hope is to make people think, and not ram ideas down people's throats. No change, then no reason to take the time. And we do desire change.

What if Food Safety/Raw milk/farm product processing were run much like the FFA was run? Ultra-light planes: unregulated. Small planes: lightly regulated. Larger planes: Very much regulated.

How would it effect the local economies and the survival of family farms if 1000 Wisconsin pasture-based dairy farms were able to create even $1000 in extra income every month from safe raw dairy products?

What would be the effect if the rate of asthma, allergies and other childhood illness, currently increasing at alarming rates, were to decrease by say, 20%, due to consumption of raw milk products?

What would the effect be on city people if they were to regularly come to farms in Wisconsin to get raw milk products, and become more in touch with what goes on at our farms?

How many new jobs would be created from small enterprises with a more cooperative relationship with Food Safety, where they were flexible and weighed cost-benefits, and worked to mitigate risks through creativity and education?

What would be the effect on farmers if they had some of their own customers, them telling the farmer how great what they were doing was?

What if we rejected the idea that the family farm was dead, and instead worked towards ideas of what it takes to capture the unique advantages of the family farm and support them, in the world of 2010?

What would happen if farmers in an area got together amongst themselves, and decided that competition between them was foolish, that we needed to create more conditions of cooperation and solidarity?

What would be the effect towards stabilizing markets if farmers got over ideas of production of the maximum amount of things under all situations and accepted the idea that profit - and even more fundamental - happiness - is the end goal of what we do?

What would happen if farmers and processors were in a mutually beneficial condition rather than one wins one loses state?

What if farmers were happier and looked more positively to the future, would there be more young people, our children, interested in continuing our farm legacy?

What if farmers trusted each other more - and those trying to sell us stuff less?

How would it effect the local economy in an area to have 20 prosperous and content farms and families of 200 acres size, rather than one farm of 4000 acres?

What would be the effect on the people of an urbanized area, where a ride through the country went by happy farms, with healthy animals and farmers out in the field?

What would be the effect on tourism if it were known you could drive through the Wisconsin countryside and see active, happy farms, diversified crops, and animals?

What effect would it have on Wisconsin's dairy reputation if the overall milk quality rose, due to higher standards for raw milk?

What kind of new industry could we see if ultra-high quality raw milk could be made into various raw products, such as high end cheeses?

What if there were two raw milks: the one that was bound for pasteurization, and the other known to be used raw, that they were treated fundamentally differently?

What if our educational institutions rejected cynicism and self-preservation ideas and acted out of greater good interests, what kinds of programs would we see more of?

What would be the effect on the economy, job creation, fostering of innovation and entrepreneurship if the leader of a department of Ag were to provide but this type of instruction to all it's employees: find ways to cooperate, treat everyone as your customers, and not as people you have dominion over?

What would happen to already low rates of problems in raw milk consumption, if farmers that chose to provide raw milk were given regular access to training and resources towards making their operations safer?

What would we find if raw milk consumers were seriously and objectively studied, in 2010, with all available modern scientific methods?

Who would benefit if thousands of farmers did not leave their farms and find it necessary to take jobs in town?

What would be the effect on the economy, if we reversed the trend of spending less on food and more on health care? Which would ultimately be more efficient, more money spent on food of higher quality, or more money spent on health care?

How would we be better prepared for future challenges of unknown nature, if we were more diversified in our food supply?

Would Wisconsin be a happier place for all, with more happy farmers?

Hey! Just questions. Sure, I know some of them come with assumptions, possibly even judgment in them. You try not to do that, but maybe someone can figure out how to phrase them better than I can.

I know I'll be reflecting on this past year, what I've learned, successes and mistakes, and looking to the future. 2010 is going to be a great year.

Scott Trautman, Proud Wisconsin Dairyman

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