Nicholas Kristof on the family dairy farm

The Tillamook County Cows

Photo by jimmywayne (Jimmy Emerson) via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote a piece about his visit to an old high school friend’s pasture-based organic dairy farm in Yamhill, Oregon. (That this piece ran while J and I were visiting Oregon’s Willamette Valley a week ago is pure coincidence.) As Kristof writes,

Food can be depressing. If it’s tasty, it’s carcinogenic. If it’s cheap, animals were tortured.

But this, miraculously, is a happy column about food! It’s about a farmer who names all his 230 milk cows, along with his 200 heifers and calves, and loves them like children.

Let me introduce Bob Bansen, a high school buddy of mine who is a third-generation dairyman raising Jersey cows on lovely green pastures here in Oregon beside the Yamhill River. Bob, 53, a lanky, self-deprecating man with an easy laugh, is an example of a farmer who has figured out how to make a good living running a farm that is efficient but also has soul.

The full column is worth a read, so check it—and an accompanying video—out here.


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