U.S. Cow Boarding Pioneer Speaks Out on Michael Schmidt

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Michael Schmidt, a Wake Up Alarm for Freedom

by Tim Wightman, Interim President, Farm-to-Consumer Foundation

When was the last time it happened to you?

Your alarm goes off and some how you reach over without reaching over, hit snooze or even turn it off. And you lay there, not awake, but aware of what’s going on.  Nothing seems pressing you to get up, even though there may be…

Maybe a job awaits you, tasks and people depending on you to get up…to be responsible. But you just lie there in the void between the comfortable unconscious and conscious.

Some people are pretty good at it..so good that the practice tends to be carried out in their daily life.

Admit it, we all have…and we all know those whom have perfected it, being noncommittal, walking a very narrow path of directives, rules and complacency. A comfortable void….nothing seems pressing, you’re warm, you’re safe, it can wait.

Then there are those few who hear an alarm, recognize it for what it is.. throw back the covers and take that first step.

They’re cold, alone, unsure of where they are exactly, they know the room, but may misjudge things for what they are but keep moving and eventually do find the way through the door and out of the void.

Alarms are not always obvious, some are loud and intrusive, most are slow insidious attempts on our way of life, our choices, our health….geared to keep us on the straight and narrow…the perception of safety.

Michael realized 20 years ago, that the slumber we came to accept as healthy, normal and safe was in fact a detriment to our ability to achieve the vibrant life we all are told we are free to pursue and enjoy.

As ones who stood up to the loss of that freedom, Michael and his family were the ones who faced the dark alone, cold and unsure of the world they had uncovered.

But we have now seen society’s rules forced upon them, we have learned what our society really feels about pioneers like Schmidt and his cowboarding patrons. He is perceived as an outlaw, and his patrons as too small a subset of society to be allowed free choice.

There is an old saying, “you are not free unless you try the lock.”

Michael and his family tried that lock, and even if one has never thought of drinking milk fresh from the farm, has never stepped foot on a farm, or even, never met  a farmer, the Schmidts did us a great favor. They have helped us realize that our government is not what it seems and we are not as free as we think we are.

Michael has uncovered the way business is done in our modern times, how money rules our government decisions. Our money pays for the choices we have in the market place, and used against us to keep us in the straight and narrow of government permitted food choices.

So the next time you feel warm and safe, no need to get to those nagging reminders of responsibility, choice, freedom…. get up, grab a glass of milk and ask where it came from, who controls your choices, is it as good as it can be, or just above the minimum.

If you want more control of your life than deciding which pretty container to buy, walk into the cold, stand with Michael and the thousands of others.  For us, choice and personal responsibility is a way of life.

Or..roll over..let someone else do it…the life, the freedoms you think you have..they will always be there..it can wait.

Tim Wightman

Tim Wightman

Tim Wightman is a founder and board member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and its education and charitable arm, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation. He is the author of the Raw Milk Handbook, a handy resource guide for farmers interested in producing quality raw milk, and who wish to implement testing and safety standards.  A lifelong farmer, Tim is on the forefront of our nation’s transition back to a local farm economy. Over the last two decades, Tim has launched CSA’s, organic cooperatives, farmers’ markets, and was the owner operator of a major organic farm & store, bakery and in-town restaurant. Currently a consultant for Midwestern Bio-Ag for Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, Tim works with other farmers on ecological ways to grow profitability. In this role, he helps clients to mineralize their pastures, increase soil fertility, and improve herd health. Tim now lives in Western Ohio and is currently the owner and operator of Yore Farm, a small raw milk dairy.

Tim was recently profiled in a Huffington Post article by Julie Moulden, How Small Farmers are Saving the World.

The Farm-to-Consumer Foundation is selling a DVD about Michael Schmidt, all proceeds go to support Michael Schmidt.


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