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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.

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Margaret J. Krauss is WESA's development and transportation reporter. She previously worked for Keystone Crossroads, a statewide reporting initiative that covers problems facing Pennsylvania's cities and possible solutions. Before joining Keystone Crossroads, Margaret produced a 48-part radio series about Pittsburgh's lesser-known history, biking 2,000 miles around the region to do so.