By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 9/10/19 (Tue)
If you live outside of the Bismarck-Mandan area you may not have heard that Bessy’s Best milk is no longer available in Bis-Man grocery stores.
Because of “semi retirement,” Blaine and Kathy Goetz decided to no longer offer the dairy’s milk to
When the announcement was made in July, the Goetz family declined media interviews because they aren’t sure what their next step is going to be.
The dairy is located at
In this day and age, most people no longer drink whole milk, but Bessy’s Best whole, chocolate milk has been as much a treat as a chocolate ice cream cone.
I’ve never been to the dairy, but whenever I traveled to
It’s still available, you just have to go to
And when you get there and the family is busy milking cows, just take what you need and put the appropriate money in the slot.
I don’t really know if that is reality, but a number of people have said it, making it a true honor system that is also a rarity in today’s world of fat-free and lactose-free milk.
If the Goetz’s fully retire, it will continue a negative trend in
Dairy farms are disappearing from our state faster than falling stars in the night sky.
The state now has 81 dairy farms, led by
We aren’t the lowest on the totem pole but we have now dropped to 35th among all states, which seems ironic given the power of agriculture in this state.
What can be done about it? In a recent conversation with North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, he said the Ag Department is constantly working on out-of-state dairies, mainly those in
So far, it hasn’t been successful, but that doesn’t mean it can’t change.
After a large dairy closed near Parshall, a family from
Unfortunately, that lasted about six months and the family moved back to the
Numerous others have tried and failed. Of course, in 21st Century agriculture, dairies must be at least 400 milk cows or they aren’t going to pay off. Some dairies are pushing 1,000 cows or even more.
The only exception is the VanBedaf Dairy at Carrington. This is a family that moved to
Which brings me to a point that I think
Many of them quit, some moved to other provinces and still others rented out their property but were no longer directly involved in the dairy industry.
Today, because of tariffs placed on
Not only that, there are already a lot of Canadians living in North Dakota, some who speak French, so it wouldn’t be much of a change for them. They could even listen to French radio if they would live along the northern tier of the state.
Back in the day, dairies were much smaller than they are today, but were still able to sell milk, cream, butter and cheese. My parents raised a family of six on 10 dairy cows and 160 acres of farmland in
Why did it have to change? Why did the milk truck stop coming to so many farms? Why did so many creameries cease operations?
It seemed like a simpler time, just 40 years ago, and it didn’t seem like there was any stress of bankruptcy or going broke.