Cows, the disconnect effect, and half truths : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This is from CNN:

Down on the farm, the animals are not concerned about the Y2K bug, but their owners are.

James Brown and Larry Brown co-own Twin Line Dairies, one of the ten largest dairy farms in Georgia. Like most farmers across the country, they've been testing equipment and preparing for Y2K related emergencies like power failures.

James says that they have tried to prepare for every Y2K related eventuality. "Our worst-case scenario here is waking up January first and not being able to milk the cows."

Fixing their generator is top priority. If the milking equipment can't operate for just two days, many of the cows could get sick or even die. They are also stockpiling two or three times the amount of cattle feed needed in case suppliers have transportation problems.

The Browns are also counting on their milk processor, Centennial Farms, to be ready so their milk can make it to market.

Y2K testing at the processing plant uncovered a problem in the software that controls the entire system. The plant manager says it will be replaced and predicts the flow of milk to supermarkets will not be interrupted.

On the retail end, grocers also plan to keep generators ready in case the power fails so milk and other products will stay refrigerated.

How about purchasing the milk? You might not think that would be affected by the Y2K bug, but even the price scanners at the checkout counter are controlled by a computer. Supermarket chains like Kroger have been evaluating all the computers involved in daily operations and then testing to make sure they are ready for 2000.

Gartner Group Research Director Lou Marcoccio says the Y2K prognosis for the food chain looks healthy.

"When we've analyzed some of the critical foods, like milk, the food chain actually showed to be favorable overall here in the U.S., from a risk perspective."

At worst, Marcoccio says, there could be some minor disruptions for a few days in isolated areas. As for anyone considering stockpiling large amounts of food, he says, "Don't. Save your time and money instead."


Now for a few real world facts. I live in the thrird largest milk producing county in the USA (in WI). Within 4 radius miles of this computer are 10 farms and about 2000 cows:

1. 3 of the 10 farms have generators, so according to the above reports scenario (it must assume electricity goes out) 70% of the cows die.

2. I talked to 4 neighbor-dairy farmers, not one is thinking of Y2K - I guess they're just not "like most farmers".

3. Of the 7 milk plants I am familiar with through work with the State of WI, only one has a generator and that cant run the whole plant.

4. None of these plants are testing software (although 3 of them are low tech and probably don't have to). And in the above articles plant it says "they WILL" have it replaced. Like when?

5. Of the 7 local grocery stores, not one has a generator. Don't know about the scanners software. Oh yes, it says Krugers "is evaluating". Very comforting.

There are more lies and contradictions, but at the end the article says "Don't bother stockpiling food".

Summary: If you are not scared by the obvious lies, contradictions, and disconnects in the above article ...........

We are in for all Ed Y or Ed Y has predicted, at the least.

-- Jon Johnson (, March 26, 1999


Note to self: Go buy more canned milk.

" obvious lies, contradictions, and disconnects in the above article ........... "

Just another day in the life.....

but at the end the article says "Don't bother stockpiling food".

That's always the bottom line isn't it?

""Don't. Save your time and money instead."

Yah, like I'm going to buy things my family won't eat???

I said this months ago, & I'm gonna say it again. Feel free to stockpile T.V.'s, video games, VCR's, C.D.'s, autos, small appliances, and whatever junk your TV/Radio/Newsrag/Magazine is trying to sell you, but for goodness sake don't buy extra food. Gag me.

Let them eat money.

-- Deborah (, March 26, 1999.

My husband owned a dairy for many years before we met. I had him read this post. He said he always had back up generators as our climate once had ice bad icestorms. Also, unless you have hundreds of cows, you should know how to milk by hand and have other people on call to hand milk in an emergency. Large temperature controlled holding tanks are also a must. Extra feed should always be on hand and the feed rotated if not used during the emergency. He said if you have a dairy you should always be prepared for power outages if you "have any brains."

Personally I don't drink cows milk and haven't since Monsanto polluted it with carcinogenic rBGH. This is a good time to mention that soy milk is delicious and a much healthier than milk. It comes in flavors such as vanilla (great for rice or other cereals) chocolate or plain. Soy products ares the reason that for years Japanese were not inclined to get cancer until they adopted our top heavy diet of animal products.

Also, I buy soy milk by the case, it does not require refrigeration, and the shelf life of milk I'm using now is 12-99. I have six cases with a shelf life of 1-00 and I continue to buy three cases per month. It can be bought in cartons, about quart size, or powdered, to mix with with water. I like the powdered just as well, but prefer the convenience of the premixed.

I'v experimented with it being left open an unrefrigerated. We have a small basement which stays at 55 degrees year round. I opened a carton, used a small amount and put it in the basement. It was fine for three days. I suppose it would last longer, but by then it was all used. If y2k is of long duration I will have the powder to mix with water. I've saved glass juice bottles in which to mix it up. Children like the vanilla and chocolate very much.

-- gilda jessie (, March 27, 1999.


There may well be a point of diminishing returns to stockpiling, and I think this is worth some consideration. Assume Ed Yourdon's expectations prove accurate. In that case, we don't have long power outages or outright chaos. We have some delays and screwups, which result in maddening inconveniences and make planning very difficult in some ways. But enough will be available for people to get by without much of a stockpile -- if they have the money to buy it.

However, Yourdon expects depression. This means extended periods of unemployment for many many people. Meanwhile, bill collectors are still alive and limping. Taxes will still be due, and it's very doubtful you can trade excess food or a generator for rent or mortgage payments, insurance premiums, phone or power bills, etc.

This, to me, is the main reason we try so hard to grasp the shape of the problems to come. If Yourdon is right, perhaps two weeks worth of food is realistic (and probably not for 14 straight days of nothing available, more likely a day's worth of food at a time for 14 times when the stores get late shipments, which might be spread over several months). And the rest of your y2k preparation funds should be in the form of a nest egg of cash, which will prove invaluable if you should suffer a prolonged period of no income.

I tend to agree with Yourdon that very hard economic times appear more likely than a total breakdown of everything for many months. This means there will be things to buy, what's critical is being able to afford them. Nobody is saying "don't prepare". You should instead prepare wisely.

-- Flint (, March 27, 1999.

When I was a slave I learned to like soy milk a little better than cow's milk:

"F. and I were in the barn. Again. I checked the udder of a cow to see if it were empty. It was hard, rock hard, and there was little milk in the machine, even though it had been milking for a long time. I asked my mentor:

"Why won't the milk come out of this cow?"

F. came over, lovingly stroked her bag, yanked and pulled a teat, forcing out a stringy chunk.

"She has mastitis," the vet concluded, "I'll milk her by hand."

He yanked her teats vigorously and when he was finished, he placed the result by the entrance. It was always my job to carry the milk up to the milkhouse.

"What shall I do with this milk?" I asked him later.

"Pour it into the tank."

"But it's unhealthy," I ventured.

"Waste not, want not," the ancient wisdom came back.

His greed prevented him from discarding infected milk. It was illegal to ship to the creamery because it could make people sick. I followed his order and emptied this strepto-bacteria-loaded milk into the funnel bowl. It had a paper filter wedged over its bottom screen through which the milk drained into the tank. Then I returned to the barn.

When I came back later the funnel was still full. Mastitis chunks, hair and cowshit had clogged its filter. Unwittingly I became an accessory to a crime.

I returned to the barn to inform my master, "The filter is plugged. What shall I do?"

"I'll show you."

He came up and wrapped an arm around the bowl. Lifted it so he could check its flow as he rapped its side with a piece of iron hoping to dislodge the crud. I watched him beat ever more vigorously until the filter broke loose, emptying milk and additives into the milk tank. I was convinced that more than two hundred gallons of fresher refresher were now ruined.

But I was wrong. This was no problem for F.. He simply put a new filter into the bowl and scooped it through the milk tank to recover the additives. Afterwards he added a handful of chlorine powder and water for good measure.

The creamery tested each shipment of milk for bacteria and butterfat.

The wrappers said: Color Added Seasonally.

Since I have color-confused vision, I could not be sure which color was added, although I had positively learned that cowshit was green. I remembered that my masters harvested milk for their own consumption and that I drank it also, au naturel, unpasteurized, with selected additives, and that is why I think Im full of it. "

-- Not Again! (, March 27, 1999.

Does anyone know what benevolent humans add to soy milk, powder?

-- Not Again! (, March 27, 1999.

i'm in agreement with flint, who is in agreement with ed: the biggest concern for me is, and really has always been, primarily economic. you'll note how often this concern showed up, for instance, in my interview with rick cowles, in discussing y2k & electric power, something most people associate with personal, rather than professional/economic, hardship.

the economic risks of y2k are, to put it ever so mildly, significant.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (, March 27, 1999.

In the case of Y2K, uniquely, I don't believe it is possible to separate classic economic effects from potential supply chain breakdown. I agree that it is vital to consider how one will make a living (some people think TEOTWAWKI means no world, which is silly) and I have put a lot of thought/effort into that. But I DO NOT agree that two weeks or a month of supply prep is sound, as witness this very thread's theme.

-- BigDog (, March 27, 1999.

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