Jan Haaken’s documentary on dairy farms in Skagit and Whatcom counties,
on Thursday, Feb 18, 7:00 pm,
provides a corrective to both the highly romanticized and demonized portraits of dairy farmers that circulate in the mainstream media. Two stereotypes predominate, and both are gross distortions of the reality. One image—enlisted routinely in dairy commercials—evokes idyllic pastoral scenes inhabited by simple people tending their contented cows. These scenes invite nostalgia for a pre-modern way of life where humans lived in perfect harmony with animals and nature. The second image—the one most often drawn by anti-dairy critics—casts the farmer as an animal abuser, pushing over-bred cows until they drop and producing large vats of drug-laden milk. Whether the cheery bucolic scene or the darkly cast world of the CAFO, both pictures miss the complexity of this form of work, with its mix of business skills, animal science, technology, engineering, and social networks required to keep the enterprise going.
Milk Men is brought to you in part by Skagit Farmers Supply and DeLaval Dairy Service.
Admission for this special pre-film festival screening: $12 general, $10 members, $8 seniors and students.