2014.02.19 Jim Driskill: Dairy company investment sounds good

The recent letter to the editor by Mr. John Klein is a great example of an uninformed person pretending to have expertise in order to promote his own agenda.

I am frankly disappointed by Mr. Klein and his recent letter to the editor about the company that is making a substantial investment in our region. Mr. Klein, who did not attend the meeting of which he wrote about or take part in the newspaper interview with Jim Ostrom, Partner in Milk Source, wants to come off as an expert on agricultural economics, based on his naive interpretation. At the meeting with the Lenawee County Board of Commissioners, Milk Source's Ostrom presented a slide that showed the calculations of the group "Dairy Doing More" that said the economic impact of a single dairy cow each year is $21,000. He used the figure 7,000 cows and showed the annual, reoccurring economic impact $147 million on that number of cows. It's simple mathematics.

In his interview with the Hillsdale newspaper, Mr. Ostrom answered a question from a reporter about the initial, one time, up front, investment Milk Source would make based on purchasing, improving and populating the three dairies in Michigan. His answer was $90 million—$10.4 of that investment is for manure management upgrades to the three facilities.

Well-managed dairy farms are a win/win for this region. They provide economic growth and a sustainable organic form of fertilizer (manure) for our area’s outstanding crop farmers. By the way, that fertilizer will replace the need for chemical fertilizer shipped in from around the continent.

True, the environmental and economic history of these three farms is poor.  But frankly, so is the hollow rhetoric of Mr. Klein. Our community not only deserves to have the kind of dairy management that Milk Source brings to the table, it also deserves fair discourse from people like Mr. Klein.

– Jim Driskill

Lenawee County Commissioner, district three