We put our trust in you.


Owning a business is hard. There are a ton of balls in the air and it pretty much always feels like if you drop even one ball, it will be the end of your business. Most businesses simply can’t do it all and we rely on employees to get the job done. 

Last night I interviewed a potential new employee. He seems like a nice person. And I hope that he will be a good fit on our farm. But I don’t know that he will be a good fit. We will train him and keep an eye on him and do everything we can to set him up for success. But in the end we have to have faith in another human to do the right thing, when we go to our son’s school event, a family birthday dinner or just work late in the field. We have to trust who we hire even when we are not there watching. 

You see, when we hire someone, we aren’t just trusting them with a cash register or inventory. We are trusting that whoever we hire will do the right thing by our cows. Living breathing animals that have been entrusted to our care. We are trusting whoever we hire will not only live up to our expectations as their employer, but also to your expectations of our farm because you are our customer. 

Cows aren’t always compliant. You can’t reason with them. You can’t explain the plan to them and have them understand you. They can be incredibly frustrating to work with at times. Cows can cause people to lose their patience and sometimes the person losing their patience is the person you hired. The person you have to trust will make the right choice when things don’t go their way. 

Yesterday an undercover video came out from an animal rights activist group. It was filmed in part at a Fair Oaks Farms. The video shows inexcusable treatment of animals by employees of the farm. In response to the video Mike McCloskey, founder of Fair Oaks Farms, released a statement that you can read on their Facebook page. In the statement he takes ultimate responsibility for what happened and explains that the employees in the video had been fired long before the video was released because other employees spoke up after witnessing abuse. The culture on the farm is such that employees spoke up when they saw bad actions and that says a lot. 

The McCloskey family has to put their trust in a lot more employees than we do on our farm because their work load is bigger than ours. But at the end of the day, both of our families have to put our trust in others. When something happens to break that trust, video camera or not, that is the ultimate betrayal. 

Last night I hired a new employee. I will train him, I will have him sign an agreement to care for our ladies with respect, I will supervise him. At some point I will leave him on his own to do some work and I will put my trust in him because I have to, to get the job done. I will put my trust in him because I believe that although evil exists, most humans are good. That is the best I can do. 

5 Comments on We put our trust in you.

  1. Sophie B
    June 5, 2019 at 9:56 am (6 months ago)

    So true! I commend the family for eliminating the workers as soon as they became aware of the situation. After reading the comments on the Facebook post – which I should not have dove into before bed – I see many people were upset there aren’t cameras in the barn to watch the employees.. that this has to be happening all the time. Does every office, cubicle, classroom, stockroom, train car have a camera? No, and that’s because we should be good-faithed and trust our employees to do the right thing.

    Thanks for the calm and insightful post.

  2. dmaudal
    June 9, 2019 at 2:08 pm (6 months ago)

    The McCloskey family chose the inhumane practices of keeping calves in solitary confinement in HOT BOXES that reach Sahara Desert temperature and with HUMIDITY on top of that. To see how that feels, get in your car, park in full sun, crack the window a few inches and see how long you would last! That’s insanely inhumane practice! The investment of thousands of HOT BOXES gets approval from the TOP…the McCloskeys!

  3. Debra Kollar
    June 13, 2019 at 2:04 pm (6 months ago)

    Hi Carrie,

    And what about the lie that they do NOT send calves for veal? This may have been a few employees but nothing was addressed about that lie? Can you answer this? I commend the family for speaking up and now installing a video system which should have been a given with a 30,000 cow operation. However, how could a manager or someone not pick up on the calves who were dying? Each one is accounted for, right? Isn’t there a cause of death listed or are they just piled on the truck like the undercover person said and not accounted for? Perhaps there is a reason a huge factory-like operation for live animals (30,000) isn’t the best. Quality is overtaken by quantity.

    The cows are never allowed out to pasture, right? What about the confining conditions for a 30,000 cow operation? So I would like your opinion about the proposed lie on the veal arguement and especially, from him. Here’s the thing. If they do take them to veal and have stated clearly they don’t, how can we believe what he says? Why didn’t he mention this in his speech since it was clearly a huge point in the video? What is your take on that? I am not trying to create controversary, just merely stating a valid point that wasn’t addressed. This isn’t your issue. But a valid one to address. In my opinion, I would rather have meat and dairy be more expensive, even if I have to eat less of it, with the assurance that the animals (whether dairy cows, chickens, pigs) have quality of life before they are killed humanely or continually used for dairy. Personally, I think it’s crazy to run an animal operation to that scope and scale. With factory goods like tennis shoes, fine. But with live animals (30,000) no wonder something came up. Again, nothing against you. But these are the questions that came up for me. Why do you think he didn’t talk about the vel acdusation? Thank you

    • dairycarrie
      June 13, 2019 at 2:14 pm (6 months ago)

      He did address it but not in the initial video.
      This is from a news channel-
       “Fair Oaks Farms founder Mike McCloskey says he was unaware calves were being sold to the veal industry, citing a lack of communication between the general manager in charge of livestock sales and himself.

      “It was not our practice in the past … and (I) apologize for the unintended false claim made previously,” McCloskey said in a statement to The Times. “Our bull calves will no longer go to veal.”

      Fair Oaks Farms accounted for less than 4% of all calves purchased by Midwest Veal, a veal farm located in North Manchester, Indiana, according to a statement from Midwest Veal.”
      As far as dead calves go… just like in humans babies, not all calves were meant for this world. Fatal birth defects, illness and stillbirths happen in cows and humans. There’s a lot of calves and even a small percent of dead calves ends up looking like a lot of calves with big populations.