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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin

Chapter IV: The dairy industry,   pp. 176-184 PDF (1.8 MB)

Page 180

    as to why any particular dairy section makes, or does not make,
    cheese instead of butter.
      The profits of dairying are by no means small. The names
    can be furnished of men who have gone in debt for high-priced
    land and paid for it within a few years, getting almost the entire
    sum from the sale of butter cr cheese. One dairy of thirty cows
    brought in twenty-four hundred dollars in the two years, i899
    and igoo. Others can be cited which have done equally well.
    The labor involved is of course a big item but here as in tobacco
    growing the labor is of a cheap kind and is nearly all done by the
    family. This is an important point. It has never been found
    profitable to hire much help on a dairy farm; the main part of the
    work is milking and taking milk to the factory, which is done
    morning and evening, and the amount of general farming to be
    done on a dairy farm does not furnish employment for a large
    force of men. It is safe to say that the major part of this indus-
    try is carried on without any hired help at all. Dairying is in the
    hands of the men with large families-Norwegians, Germans,
    Irish, and to a less extent Americans. Hardly a dairy can be
    found, that is, a large one, managed by a man who must depend on
    doing all the work himself or hiring it done; such a farmer pre-
    fers raising sheep, hogs, horses; and once in a while a man whose
    interest has long been in dairying, finding himself left to do his
    own work, continues to raise cows, but sells them to his neigh-
    bors. There is little to be said against this custom of requiring
I\ children to do the work of the dairy; the work is not excessively
   disagreeable; it is not severe or long continued; it does not inter-
   fere with their school work, or take them away from home, or
   lead to unwholesome surroundings or associations-almost every
   count of which must be given an opposite answer in regard to
   tobacco culture.
     There are several reasons why dairying has gained so much
   importance during the past ten years. Instead of the former
   great fluctuation in the price of butter, it being down below cost
   of production in the summer and correspondingly high in winter,
   the price for the past decade has been remarkably uniform for the
   different months of the year. Winter dairying is common since
   the obstacles in its way have been overcome. Factory-made but-
   ter is of a higher grade than that made on the farm. And fur-
   thermore it is possible to put butter in cold storage and keep it

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