Hokkaido is the northernmost and second largest island in Japan. Just off the Siberian peninsula winters are long, cold and harsh. The main industries are fishing, timber products and farming. With a short growing and cropping season, from May to September vegetable farmers can generally manage just one crop a year instead of three in some areas of the rest of Japan. So many farmers opt instead for livestock farms – primarily cattle (Hokkaido is often termed ‘milkland’) and to a lesser extent pigs. Traditionally farms were family businesses, small with simple equipment and wooden buildings to house and feed a relatively small number of cattle. Over time the successful farmers grew their businesses. And infrastructures, and the others continued until retirement but children took to other professions – often moving to the cities. As a consequence the countryside contains scatted remains of these old small cattle farms, disintegrating silos, milking sheds, grain and equipment stores, rapidly collapsing and becoming scarce now as the weather and large-scale farmers wipe the slate clean.