September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

McGovern remembered, new breed at World Dairy Expo

By Ron Johnson- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Another presidential election is quickly sneaking up on us. The looming election and the recent news of former South Dakota Senator George McGovern's death got me to remembering: I interviewed him.
It wasn't during McGovern's 1972 election bid. I was a sophomore in college at the University of Wisconsin-Richland, at Richland Center, concentrating more on history, psychology and philosophy than on politics. Truth be told, I'm still not a great fan of politics.
If I didn't sit down with the senator in 1972, it must have been during his second presidential bid, in 1984. At that time I was in my eighth year as an agricultural journalist.
The place of our conversation was a dairy farm in central Wisconsin's Clark County. I can't tell you for sure exactly what McGovern and I talked about, but I'm sure the election, the farm bill, and dairy programs were included.
What I do clearly remember, some 28 years later, are my impressions of Mr. McGovern. He was very kind and very patient. He seemed to be the polar opposite of what we see in many of the candidates these days.
By the time the senator and I got to chat, all the other newspaper, radio and television people who invaded that quiet farm for a few hours had left. We sat at a picnic table in the front yard, the evening sun beginning to yawn, as shadows lengthened.
Mr. McGovern seemed in no hurry. We must have talked an hour or more.
I taped that interview. It seemed to me like it could be important - or at least interesting - to hear again years later. I've seen that tape, but not in quite a while. Maybe I'll find it some cold winter night, as I dig through still-packed boxes from our last move, 10 months ago.
When I do find that tape, I'll listen closely. Maybe I'll share with you bits of that conversation with George Stanley McGovern.

Wood stoves happy
Our two wood stoves seem happy, thanks in part to the elections. Six days a week, without fail, my walk up the driveway to the mailbox brings new connoisseurial delights for the stoves' unending appetites.
One day it's a flier bashing the Republicans. The next day it's a pamphlet attacking the Democrats. Other days bring glossy morsels about Wisconsin's two U.S. Senate candidates calling each other playground names.
Our two stoves - Sophie the soapstone in the living room, and Elvis the fat, steel stove in the basement - gobble all the postal paper up in a blaze of orange. Thank-you, politicians all. Even if you do not deliver on any of your many campaign promises, you have already trimmed my heating bill.

New breed at Expo
My annual foray to World Dairy Expo in early October was once again educational, enjoyable and enlightening. Besides getting to meet many dairy farmers and faithful Dairy Star readers, I learned about a new dairy breed.
I was in the media center on the second floor of the Alliant Energy Center. As I sipped coffee, I happened to pick up a copy of a large, well-known, Madison daily newspaper.
In it was a short article about cows of various breeds vying for the coveted title of supreme champion at Expo. The article mentioned breeds you and I know quite well - Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Jersey, Holstein, and Red and White.
But the name of a breed I'd never seen or even heard about caught my eye: Milking Shorthair.
I asked my wife, Jessica, about this new breed. She knows quite a bit about dogs, so she speculated that it might be related to a German Shorthair, a hunting pooch.
That got me to wondering whether this new breed of cow might be the result of some exotic cross, a product of genetic engineering, or simply a new prank Ma Nature decided to pull.
To try to find out more about this new, Milking Shorthair breed, I scoured the barns at World Dairy Expo, asking cattle judges, dairy producers and farm kids alike. All denied having any knowledge whatsoever about the elusive Milking Shorthair.
Internet searches have failed to turn up a shred of evidence about the Milking Shorthair. But the breed must exist: It's mentioned right there on page A3 of the Oct. 6 edition of that big-city paper.
If any of you know anything at all about the Milking Shorthair, please, please notify me. This puzzle is keeping me awake at night.
I'm guessing that a Milking Shorthair might be a tri-purpose breed: milk, meat and hunting companion all rolled into one. Sort of like the dual-purpose Milking Shorthorn.

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