Farm Horizons, February 2000

The not-so-honest dairyman

The following is from the Sept. 16, 1909 edition of the Howard Lake Herald. It appeared in the Dairyman's Corner column by Christ Johnsen.


Listen to this conversation, says a patron of the Kensington Cooperative Creamery Co. in the Hoffman, Minn., Tribune.

* * *

I see you hauled a can of cream to the centralizer today.

Yes.

Why don't you haul to the creamery?

They can't pay what the centralizer offers.

How much does the centralizer raise in price and when?

Why when the creamery opened, 3 to 4 cents a pound.

What made him do that?

Why to kill off the creamery, of course.

What price do you think he would pay if the creamery was not running?

Same old price, I suppose, that he paid us before it opened.

Then, you are aiding him in trying to kill off the creamery?

Well, no, what little cream I haul won't be much, anyhow.

Suppose all the farmers did as you did?

Well, the creamery would have to shut down, but there will be enough that will keep on at the creamery to keep it going and I get a chance to make a few cents.

Just think of the brazen selfishness of this man, depending on his neighbor farmer to haul to the creamery to keep up the price so he can reap the immediate benefit of the inflated price paid for cream at the cream station. Such a person certainly has no hope of a hereafter or respect of his neighbor.

It is a good thing that our laws compelled him to pay school taxes or he would say there will be others who want school and will dig up and I will get the benefit. If he knew what his neighbors and the people in the village thought of such acts he would drive down the back alley after dark and dispose of his cream and count up his ill-gotten gain at the expense of his neighbor and his conscience if he has any.

Say, you fellows that have been hollering "Down with the Trusts," have now a living example of its workings right here at home. If you want to help down this trust haul to the creamery even if the centralizers offer 30 cents a pound for butterfat when their regular price is at 23 cents.

And lastly, don't forget that the creamery makes its own price based on New York butter and has not raised the actual test on cream to get a customer. You will get all that is honestly coming, no more and no less.

* * *

A so-called dairyman was hauled up before a justice of the peace by one of those impertinent individuals called creamery inspectors.

The justice, a very careful man, did not want to punish an innocent man, so a general review of the case was made in order to ascertain whether the charge of selling unwholesome cream, which was made against the dairyman, was true or not and the following are a few of the facts that were brought out in the cross-examination:

The dairyman admitted that his cows gave sweet and wholesome milk hence the cows could not be blamed for the poor cream. He also admitted that the hand separator was cleaned on the average about twice each week, and the cream was run directly from the separator into the cream can without any preliminary stirring or cooling.

This dairyman also testified that it took from eight to 15 days to fill the cream can and whenever the can was full, it was taken to the cream buyer, and he had never had a can of cream rejected, and the buyer did not even intimate that the cream was not right.

He was asked if he had ever patronized his local creamery. To this he answered yes, and volunteered the information that the buttermaker was too particular and would not take cream that was not right, and for that reason he was forced to quit the creamery and the buttermaker who was working for quality, and sell his cream to the other fellow, who he said did not care how bad the cream was if he only got it.

The next question put to the dairyman was whether he considered the old cream he was accused of selling fit for use on his own table. To this he said no, and further stated that he wouldn't eat it himself. Now, it appears to be that a man who is morally right would not sell anything to be consumed by others, that he himself would not think of eating.

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