Farmer Offers Rental Cows On Internet

from the all-the-cheese-you-want dept

As has been said many times before, you can buy just about anything you want on the internet. Of course, we might need to adjust that to add an “or rent” to the equation. A dairy farmer in the Swiss Alps is now renting out cows. The renter gets the rights to all the cheese produced by the cow at the end of the summer for a little under $300. A few things are a bit odd about the story. First, there’s no indication where the website is. A quick Google search on (yes, so creative) “rent a cow” turns up this Swiss Rent A Cow page, but it’s unclear if it’s the same one being talked about in the article. Also, the article says that the cow owner in question doesn’t have any electricity, so you wonder exactly how he’s setting up his cow-rental website. Finally, the article happens to mention in passing, at the end, that based on the agreement, anyone who rents such a cow is required to “visit them at least once and spend four hours working in the fields.” So, unless you’re planning a trip to Switzerland in the next few months (and don’t mind a little hard labor), renting a cow online might not be for you.

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Comments on “Farmer Offers Rental Cows On Internet”

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Leah (user link) says:

I Leased a Cow From This Site - Totally Cool

I leased a cow from this site this summer, so I thought I’d share some information to clear up confusion.

It’s not a scam – you pay for the cow lease and then you choose how much cheese you want (I chose 30kg). At the end of the summer you get your cheese and you also pay for that – about 16 Swiss Francs per kg, which is a little over US $10 per kg. That’s really not bad for high quality cheese, even if you factor in the cost of the cow lease. And this is very, very good cheese. Probably the best cheese I’ve ever had.

As for visiting the cow and working, you are supposed to do that. But if you can’t you instead pay extra money, some very nominal amount. I visited my cow and did my work moving loose stones around the meadow. It was kinda fun. The Senn (dairyman) and his family gave us a tour of the hut where the cheesemaking and cheese storing takes place, and we spent some time just hanging around and chatting. I also watched as the cows were brought in from the meadows to be milked. That was very entertaining. And they invited me to stay for some food, which consisted mostly of a whole lot of really, really fresh dairy products.

As for the lack of electricity and the web site, you have to know a few things. These cows are only grazing in these mountain meadows for the summer. In fact, these meadows are completely covered by snow in the winter. They aren’t accessible by road. I had to park my car where the road ended (past what is a ski area in the winter) and walk for 35 – 45 minutes to get to the cows. It was an easy walk with absolutely beautiful scenery.

In the winter the cows live somewhere else. The Wylers (the cow owners, different from the dairyman) live in a town called Brienz. Brienz is a small town but is about a 5 minute drive from Interlaken, which is better known. This area is easily the most beautiful place I have ever been, and I have seen plenty of beautiful places in various parts of the world. So it’s true that there is no electricity where the cows are, but the Wylers manage their business from their home in Brienz.

In September I am going back to Brienz to get my cheese. I live in Germany, so all these trips to Switzerland aren’t a problem for me. If someone really wants to lease a cow but can’t visit a few times (or can only visit once), I am sure the Wylers would work that out. I’m trying to figure out the rules for shipping cheese to the states so I can reserve my cow for next summer and get my cheese before I move back to the US.

This was a really fun experience and I am really glad I did it. It’s become a big topic of conversation among my friends, many of whom think I am completely crazy. But everyone loves seeing the pictures and hearing the details, and I have gone places and done things I never would have done had I not leased my cow. If anyone has any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

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