Big companies pursue their own interests, I prefer government

To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to the May 8 Old Men of the Mountain column, “Mindless mandates have killed many small farms.”

First, there was no mandate requiring bulk tanks or restricting the use of strainers.  No matter what we were shipping milk in, we always had to use strainers.

In 1956 and 1957, our milk buyer, Normanskill Dairy, decided to switch from cans to bulk tanks.  We were offered a $.10/CWT incentive by the buyer and an additional $.10/CWT from the trucker to switch. [CWT stands for one hundred  (C) weight (WT) and is equal to 100 pounds of potatoes, which replaced bushel as a measure in agriculture.]

For the larger farms, such as Cole Hill Farms, it was an easy decision.  The incentive would pay for the new bulk tank in two years.  For smaller producers, it took longer and some could never afford to switch.

This continued a long period of change, which has shaped farming since the start of the industrial revolution. It had nothing to do with a mandate.

Speaking of mandates, you are speaking of rules and everyone hates to have rules imposed upon them.  Most of these rules have excellent reasons to be imposed and almost everyone would agree in the need for the rules but we do not like to be told what is good for us.

For instance, in 1986, a law was passed requiring the use of seat belts.  The car companies fought the requirement to install seat belts in all cars; it would cost too much but we got the law anyway.

I did not wish to be told I had to wear a seat belt; I thought it was my decision alone to make.  In March, I was in a near head-on collision, which left a scar on my forehead from the steering wheel even though I was wearing my seat belt. It at least saved my life or [prevented what would have been] worse, a life-long disability.

We have many reasons to distrust government and rules that restrict our freedoms.  Government at least theoretically has the possibility of performing in the best interest of the public.  The huge companies like the oil companies, we may be sure, have no interest in our best interest but will pursue their own best interest without fail.

Thank you very much; I prefer government.

Ralph Miller

More Letters to the Editor