Prescott farmers’ story told in recently published book

Nancy Bellville, of Prescott, recently completed "If Dead Cows Could Talk," which chronicles a heard health issue on she and her husband Brian's farm.

By Tim Barnum
News Editor | news@ogemawherald.com
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RICHLAND TWP. — The Bellvilles’ farm in Richland Township used to be a dairy operation about 12 years ago, but the farmers sold their cattle in 2000. Their story is told in Nancy Bellville’s book “If Dead Cows Could Talk.”

Nancy and her husband Brian Bellville experienced an issue with their herd in the late ’90s, she said.

“We ran into a health problem with our animals,” she said. “We researched it to find out if there was a disease affecting our animals, and found it was an electrical issue.”

According to Nancy, stray electricity was the culprit of the herd’s failing health. She said wires were run down utility poles and buried in the ground to get rid of excess electricity. Nancy said the electrical issues caused the Bellvilles to lose five cows in one week in 1999. In 2000, the Bellvilles sold their dairy cattle, she said.

Several television and newspaper outlets documented the plight of the farm, Nancy said. After that, she said the word spread and the problem came to light nationally.

“As a result, I got calls from farmers across the country,” she said. “It’s not just a Michigan problem.”

Nancy said farmers from upstate New York, Iowa, Missouri and several other states contacted her about similar problems. The problem was even international, she added, as farmers from Canada also had cows die due to perceived in-ground electricity issues.

Even after many people took notice, the dilemma did not end, Nancy said.

“We tried to get it resolved, and to this day, it’s not resolved,” she said.

With so many farmers having trouble and not getting results, Nancy said she wanted to tell the story for everyone dealing with the predicament.

“One of the reasons for writing the book was telling the story, not just for us, but for other farmers,” she said. “The public needs to know this is happening, and it’s not just farms where it’s happening.”

She added people could also experience health issues caused by stray in-ground electricity. Nancy said many farmers on farms where the cattle are suffering from electrical concerns also have health problems.

“People need to understand this is going on, and it needs to be fixed,” she said.

Nancy said she spent three or four years working on the book, which was published by AB Publishing, Inc., of Ithaca.

“I’ve been working on it for probably three, four years — off and on,” she said.

Although the book took a few years to complete, Nancy said once she got started, the words flowed onto the pages.

“When I sat down, the words just came,” she said. “Basically, the book wrote itself.”

AB Publishing supplied Nancy with an editor who corrected spelling and grammar in the book, she said. Nancy said she has copies of the book for sale, and AB Publishing has also placed copies of the book in stores the publisher services.

Whether this will be her last book is unknown, Nancy said.

“I never intended to write a book,” she said. “It’s always been in God’s hands, so where it goes from here isn’t up to me.”

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