Thursday, June 27, 2013

Old Mac Dee Dee Had a Farm . . .

The Dee Dee's at their farm. They have a wide range of animals and plants here and best of all, everything is organic!
We all know the rest of the famous song, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”: “. . . e-i-e-i-o. And on that farm he had some chickens, e-i-e-i-o. With a cluck here and a cluck there . . .” When you think of your typical farm , you think of a rooster crowing at the crack of dawn to wake up the farmer and his family. So they can do their chores. The happy cows are in the barn ready for milking, eggs need to be collected from happy chickens, happy pigs and happy turkeys need to be fed, happy sheep need to be sheathed and etc. This is what many people think farms look like. But the way we've made farms has changed drastically over the years! This is how farms were decades ago. Unlike the fairytale big red farms of people's imagination, most real farms are huge (gray, brown or some other color) buildings that house the animals and crops once they've finished growing.  These large buildings are no more than storehouses. The poor animals on most modern farms are cooped together, often in dark and crammed conditions. Most of these animals don't see sunlight and are kept in tiny cages filled with manure and germs. Farmers spray special chemicals so most of the animals don't get sick, and when some do get sick, they're kept with the healthy animals! This is not the farms of yesteryear! And I won't even get into how many farms kill their animals! It's just plain cruel! Instead of just killing them without misery, chickens for instance are boiled in boiling hot water to take their feathers off . . . while still alive! Oops! I guess I did start explaining how they're killed, didn't I? But I'd say that I made my point – modern farms aren't the once we grow up with. Now don't get me wrong, not all modern farms are as cruel as the ones I described, but that's probably the majority of modern farms and they're increasing by the hundreds. And this isn't healthy for us, the consumers either. The growth hormones they use to make the animals as big as they get are actually carried on even in death, and guess who receives the effect of the growth hormones: us! No wonder many of us are giants today!

Well, some farmers don't want to make farms like the ones described. Take the new one that's opening up just outside of Riverville, New York. The farm, entitled Mac Dee Dee Farm, is run by Mac Dee Dee and he intends on making a type of new generation farm. My trusty junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater and I decided to check him out for an interview. “Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a farmer,” says Dee Dee. “But when I read about all the awful stuff going on with many modern farms and how the food they put in grocery stores is affecting people's bodies, I felt my calling was to do something about it and make a change.” Dee Dee's farm is a large 50,000 acre property and has all the things a typical farm has: cows, chickens, turkeys, geese, pigs, horses, sheep, goats and he even has a few alpacas. He runs his farm with the rest of his family: his wife Mrs. Jules Dee Dee, their kids, James and Timothy Dee Dee and some volunteered helpers.

So why is Dee Dee's farm different from most others? Mr. Dee Dee is quoted for saying, “Well, first of all, we don't use growth hormones and pesticides and all that other garbage. All the stuff we put into our food – plant or animal – such as growth hormones and pesticides is still present and active in the organism after death and we humans buy this food and consume not only the food, but the hormones and pesticides as well. Most, but not all, modern farmers want the more money, and they get more money by making these animals and plants bigger than they should be. Some of the animals that receive growth hormones get so big they can't even stand, let alone walk around because their body can't support their weight. We don't give any of our products, plant or animal, growth hormones or pesticides. Second of all, we don't keep the animals cooped up in these large barns with no room to move around. This isn't healthy for the animals, or the people who will eat the animals.” Mac Dee Dee instead keeps his animals free-roaming, so his farm is called a “Free-Roam Farm”. Now unlike even most free-roam farms today, the animals have a large enclosure and are allowed to eat grass and behave like their wild counterparts. When it comes time to killing the animals, he kills quickly so they don't suffer and before taking the skin and feathers off. As I already said, some farms do this while they're still alive. “And we rarely have a problem with wild carnivores,” says Dee Dee. “But on the occasions we have coyotes or bears attacking the livestock, I don't kill them. They have a right to live too. Besides, most of them make a kill and move on. We haven't really had a problem with them sticking around to eat much livestock, but if we ever do, I'm just going to have the wildlife specialists move them to a different location. Too many farmers just shoot their problems away when the wild ecosystems need their top predator.” When asked what her opinion on helping her husband run the farm, Mrs. Jules says, “I enjoy it, I really do. I mean, it's one of the few true free-roam farms and it's just nice to run a farm like they did when my grandparents were growing up.” Running a farm like the Dee Dee's may not bring all that much money in the short run, but in the long run, these kinds of farms do the best. It's my hope that other farms around the country will do the same.

Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan and Joy Hammond


We here at Smiley’s News, I have been working night and day to get articles ready. I could really use some help! So we are looking for people interested in writing (especially kids and teens). If you are interested, PLEASE(!) send an email to and save me from working night and day! I’m exhausted!

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