During my recent visit in Switzerland I had a chance to meet my friends at their dairy farm near Zurich in Switzerland. Even though I have relatives in Southern Germany who used to run a farm in a small village in Bavaria I didn’t really know much about how a dairy farm is run.
My friend owns an average of 50 cows and milk is what brings the money home. He explained that he loves to work in the fields for harvesting but there isn’t much money in it for him. The milk that is produced on his farm is exported into neighbor countries – think cheese production not just the raw material milk! Meat is only sold when an older cow has to be put down. Whaaaaat? Old meat? Well, according to his information old cow meat is actually very valuable because it is mixed into certain sausages to add flavor.
I was so impressed with all I learned. A young farmer who knows what he is doing and values nature and with it is living as natural as possible. But there is more to it. As usual I forgot that there is now a new currency – the Euro – who has an enormous impact on farmers like my friend who export their milk. “Before the Euro it didn’t really matter if in one country the exchange rate wasn’t as great because it always evened out with another country’s better one. But now if the value of the Euro changes compared to the Swiss Franc it totally impacts my income. With the bad economy and the not so great exchange rate right now we have a huge loss and need to be careful in spending”, my friend explained.
I think it is a shame that hard-working farmers in Switzerland are impacted like that by a currency. Farming isn’t an easy job and only in Winter there is some down time. On a dairy farm you still have to milk the cows and clean the barns and milking machines don’t attach by magic without help, lol!
It was wonderful to stay at the farm because the weather was outstanding. Not only did I have fun petting baby cows I also learned something. From now on whenever I open the fridge and take out milk I am reminded of my dear friend in Switzerland and farmers like him who make it possible that we have easy access to a healthy product.