A sad parting

Old country road

July 16, 1987 — Nelson Long leaned against a weathered fence and gestured to a calf nestled serenely in the corner of a stall on his Stony Man farm. He grimaced to choke back the tears.

The calf was to be the last born on Long’s dairy farm. By Aug. 15, all 150 head must be exported or slaughtered. No exceptions.

Long and two other Page County dairy farmers entered into a U.S. Department of Agriculture program where they must part with all female cattle for slaughter or export. Certificates verifying compliance must be turned in to the USDA.

In Long’s case, it marks a sad end to a generations-old family practice.

“This here farm has been selling dairy products way back in 1910, or something like that — a long, long time,” Long reflected. “And Lord, have mercy, how many times have I churned that butter.”

For Long, a combination of factors drove him to sell his farm. The cost of labor, feed, fertilizers and related production material was becoming prohibitive. 

~ From the public archives of the Page News and Courier

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