© 2022 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Why Cows And Humans Are Not That Different To Lowell Friedline: He Feeds Them Both

Margaret J. Krauss
90.5 WESA
In addition to working on the family dairy farm, Lowell Friedline is a director of the local rural electric cooperative in Somerset County.

Lowell Friedline struck out on his own as a dairy farmer in 1988 when he started buying his farm in installments from his dad. By the time his father died, Friedline was nearly debt-free. It’s been part of his philosophy ever since: don’t buy what you don’t know how to pay for. But for small farms like the one he and his family work, the margins are slim.

In 2014, what Friedline calls “a very good year,” 100 pounds of milk brought in $21-$22. By 2016, that price had dropped to $14.

“Anybody else took a cut like that in their wages, well, they’d scream bloody murder,” he said.

Friedline is older now; his granddaughter Paige Friedline is Walnutdale Farm’s herd manager. He said he mostly feeds the cows. It depends on the cow, but most get 80 pounds each day, of grass, alfalfa, corn, soybean meal and minerals.

Still Working is our podcast about how work shapes who we are and how we see the world.

Margaret J. Krauss is WESA’s senior reporter. She covers development and transportation, and has produced award-winning podcasts on housing, work, and Pittsburgh’s lesser-known history. Before joining the newsroom full time, she covered the challenges facing Pennsylvania cities as a statewide reporter, and spent another life as an assistant editor for National Geographic Kids Magazine in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at mkrauss@wesa.fm.