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July 2010 Archive for U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

RSS By: U.S. Farm Report, US Farm Report

Comments, questions, opinions...this is your chance to speak out regarding anything and everything reported on U.S. Farm Report. Viewer feedback updated regularly.

Comments & Questions

Jul 19, 2010
***Editor's Note:  The following viewer comments were received following the July 17-18, 2010 edition of U.S. Farm Report....

#1:
   The experts on U.S. Farm Report opined that farmers, as a group, wanted to and did treat their animals humanly. 
That is true, in my experience.  The problem is that most of our animals and poultry are NOT grown by "FARMERS" ANYMORE.
The production and practices in the meat, dairy, and poultry industries are guided and controlled by FACTORY OWNERS and MANAGERS who do not live with nor seldom see the animals under their control. Those OWNERS and MANAGERS do need SOME CONTROL for humane treatment to occur!
Don Hildebrand
 
New Braunfels, Texas

#2:
   I just watched the show -July 18th, and saw an episode on passing on the farm.  I thought it said that the group who help set up the change was called Off the Farm.  But I can't find them on the internet.  Could you give me who this was?  We are at that stage and need to get help.  Thanks
Diane Weber
Weber Beef, Inc.
***Editor's Note:  The company Diane is looking for is Legacy by Design...

#3:
   I have been planning on starting a meat goat ranch on some 30 acres of hilly pasture and I want/need more information on caprine livestock husbandry.  I have checked out books, subscribed to magazines, rubbed shoulders at the local livestock market, spoke with the local extension office, and searched the internet until the information started to repeat for a third time.  I have also performed a few experiments by fencing in about 3/4 of an acre near my home to see how well my pasture grasses and small amount of browse I currently have will support them.  Needless to say they impressed me.
   So, as you can see I'm not going in blind but I still get the feeling there is something important I am missing.  I have almost 30 years experience with beef cattle and that is what I am weighing all the information against.  I have searched the U.S. Farm Report web site as well and found a few mentions on goats and was wondering if one of your anchors would do a spot on them, possibly start-up to established businesses?  With lessons learned?
Earl Dodd

A Fourth of July Follow-up

Jul 08, 2010
   John didn't quote sources for his disparaging comment about the backers of the U.S. Constitution. Appears to be his sources were in line with the liberal line that wants to dig for dirt on famous Americans in the past. In my opinion, this commentary on the earthly fathers of this nation do not deserve this guessing about personal motive of people 200 years ago. I know John meant well, but this subject was best left unsaid.   

***Editor's Note: John did in fact quote a source for his comments. Below is the transcript of the "John's World" segment the viewer is talking about.

John's World: July 3-4, 2010
   THIS FOURTH OF JULY, THERE WILL BE MANY SOLEMN WORDS RIGHTFULLY HONORING THIS REMARKABLE EVENT. BUT THE FOURTH OF JULY MAY BE ALL THE MORE SIGNIFICANT WHEN WE STUDY THE MUNDANE FACTS SURROUNDING THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
   ONE ASPECT HAS BEEN HIGHLIGHTED BY HISTORIAN ROBERT ALLISON. WHILE WE HAVE LIONIZED THE FOUNDING FATHERS INTO GIANTS OF FORESIGHT AND VIRTUE, THE DETAILS ARE MORE AMBIGUOUS. THE VIRGINIA DELEGATION, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS DOMINATED BY LARGE FARMOWNERS WHO, UNLIKE THEIR YANKEE COMPATRIOTS, LONGED TO ASCEND INTO THE ENGLISH ARISTOCRACY. SOME, LIKE GEORGE WASHINGTON, PURSUED A COMMISSION IN THE ENGLISH ARMY AS THE PATH TO THE GENTRY, BUT MANY OTHERS CHOSE TO SIMPLY MIMIC THE BRITISH UPPER CLASS -- IN THE PROCESS LIVING WELL BEYOND THEIR MEANS. SOUNDS FAMILIAR.
   BY THE MID-1700S, THEIR DEBT LOAD TO ENGLISH BANKS AND INVESTORS HAD BECOME PROBLEMATIC. SO WHEN THE FIERY DELEGATIONS FROM NORTHERN COLONIES PROPOSED INDEPENDENCE AS A WAY TO STOP OVERSEAS INTERFERENCE, MANY OF THE VIRGINIANS SAW A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO CANCEL HUGE DEBTS. THAT WAS THE KEY FACTOR IN THEIR SUPPORT OF THE DECLARATION. I FOUND THIS REVELATION UPLIFTING. IF SO MUCH GOOD HAS COME FROM MIXED MOTIVES AND BRAVE BUT FLAWED CITIZENS, WE TOO ARE CAPABLE OF GREAT ACTS. IN FACT, THIS MAY BE OUR MOMENT TO WRITE HISTORY.
 

Animal Rights, Energy Ideas and "Hog" Farmers

Jul 07, 2010
*LETTER #1:
Dear John (I've always wanted to send a "Dear John" letter):
   In regard to the meeting of the minds of HSUS/OFB, I offer this comment from an 83-year-old guy raised on a mixed farming Macon County, Ill., farm who worked about 20 years in farm related equipment design and testing. IMHO, the agreeing of animal rights advocates and animal growers is a step toward returning to the humane treatment of animals that existed when most growers were small family farmers.
   Although I have no firm data to support my belief, as a boy on the farm, my perception was that all farmers who raised animals either for work or for food tried to treat them humanely. Nothing was more upsetting to most farm families than to have a neighbor who was guilty of an animal abuse situation. On my uncle's farm and my grandfather's farm, animals were treated humanely by the families and no one was allowed to abuse their animals, even through the rites of slaughter.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Don Hildebrand

John's Response:
Don, 
   I think you have valid points. I also think we can make great strides toward better animal care with minimal economic loss. This could be a first step, but when you read the agreement it is not pretty. Basically, like all political solutions they shoved the problem down the road for 10-15 years.
   Still, I commend the effort and support their results. Thanks for watching.
John

*LETTER #2:
    Worked on farms when I was a kid, and have always been into it as a novice. Your program is my Sunday morning coffee. Got a couple of questions I haven't seen addressed.
    Back in the '70s during the coffee and sugar shortage, a law was passed by Nader that you couldn't raise the price on commodities that were bought and stored before the shortage, to stop consumer gouging. Now oil is being traded as a commodity -- why is this not the rule? Couldn't get an answer out of Ralph. Why aren't farmers running hydro generators off the pumpout on their irrigation pumps, to run their own electricity? Why aren't electric vehicles running a generator to charge their own system? Why do they have to be plugged in to charge? Just seems simple to me. Enjoy your program.
Rick Salyer, real hot in Cibola, Ariz.

*LETTER #3:
   This is the first time I've ever responded to a TV farm report, but today's statement on the program was more than a little shortsighted. The comment was, "I would like to challenge farmers to replace driving the gas guzzling trucks for a more economic truck."
   Obviously this person has not needed to go get his bags of seed or bagged fertilizer or haul hay, and I could go on and on. A little S-10 wouldn't cut it. If Dodge, GMC, Cheverolet, etc., would get with the program and make more fuel economy vehicles like modern technology should be able to do, farmers would have the type of vehicles they need to get their work done. I would like to see big corporate businessmen come out and try to make a living on today's farm with high gas, fertilizer and seed prices with today's low milk prices. When milk was down to $9 a hundredweight, it just about did local farmers in. I'm sorry, but your comment didn't set well with me. We don't squander our money. Repairs to our farm equipment takes almost everything we have.
Sincerely,
Alice Schulte

*LETTER #4:
John, 
   I'm relatively new to RFD-TV and your program (couple years), but I wanted to comment on a theory of mine passed down from the old people (my parents). 
   In Maryland, I was raised on a 275-acre dairy farm and we were sharecroppers. The start of the day was 6 a.m. before school, and when we got home from school we did it all over again after homework. Our 51-cow stable had no pipeline milkers. Ours was Surge 5-gallon that went under the cow and then dumped. From the time I was old enough to carry a bucket half full to the bulk tank, that was my start in dairy. Cleaning out the barn was really great too. The tractor drove between the cows and we loaded the manure spreader with a shovel. Then there was the first learned drive of our Oliver 77. I looked under the steering wheel and yelled to my big brother to stop loading the wire tie bales and turn the tractor around. And then the old John Deere wire tie baler would need a screwdriver and hammer to get the knots out of the knotter. I was small enough -- that was my job. Riding the two-row corn planter without a cylinder pulling the handle back at the end of the row and planting 75 acres at a time was real fun. Then picking corn in the fall was always a chore chiller. Dad would run the two-row John Deere A and I would be on the back of the wagon leveling the pile off to get a bigger load to shovel off at the corn crib elevator. 
   Now these are just a few things that I remember of days past. Now all you hear about is the crops didn't get in or did they get them off in time. And most of all, nowadays some farmers take off weekends and even go to church. I had little or no time, as did my family of four brothers, to have free time. All of those giant tractors in the shop just because of a little rain out west. We'd get hung up in the field and we'd go get the other tractor and pull it out and keep going. Thousands and thousands of acres just seems a little beyond their means. I guess what I'm saying is just walk a mile in the old times and figure out where being excessive leads today. If you can't get it in, then it's best lettin' it go at that, because you'll never get it out in the fall no matter how big your equipment is! Dad used to call them "hog" farmers -- living beyond their means.
Just a comment from an ol' dirt farmer in Maryland


 
 

 

 

A Mowing Alternative

Jul 06, 2010
John Phipps,
   You mentioned that you needed to get a larger mower to do more and more mowing to make things look nice. Why not sell that big mower and get some big bluestem and other prairie seeds and plant them and save all of that time, energy and wildlife. Wouldn't you rather see a nest of meadowlarks or field sparrows than short mowed grass? That is, unless you have nothing better to do and enjoy spending that time mowing! I am trying to get some bluestem growing in grass waterways and roadsides on our farm.
Ed Schott 
Warren County, Illinois, farmer

***Editor's Note:  John responded to Ed's suggestion in the Mailbag Segment:

   ED, YOU ARE OF COURSE CORRECT. AND WHEN I VISIT FRIENDS IN EUROPE, I ENVY THEIR PICTURESQUE COUNTRYSIDE WITH NARROW FLOWERED ROADSIDES. HOWEVER, I ALSO REMIND MYSELF THAT EUROPEAN FARM EQUIPMENT CAN BE NO WIDER THAN 10 FEET. THERE ARE EFFORTS TO BREAK THIS WASTEFUL HABIT, BUT FRANKLY, IN THE HYPERCOMPETITIVE LAND RENTAL MARKET, IT'S REALLY RISKY TO BE THE ONLY FARMER IN YOUR AREA WHOSE CROP CAN'T BE SEEN UNTIL LATE JULY. THE MASTER GARDENER I LIVE WITH STRUGGLES WITH THE SAME CHOICE BETWEEN ORDER AND NATURAL CHAOS. LIKE ME, SHE HAS DISCOVERED NATURE CAN GET A LITTLE WILDER THAN WE ANTICIPATE. YOU DON'T ALWAYS GET THE PRAIRIE GRASSES AND FLOWERS -- YOU GET CANADIAN THISTLE, FOR EXAMPLE. THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES WITH GRASS FIRES AND INTERSECTION VISIBILITY. BUT ONE ARGUMENT I WOULD DISPUTE IS HOW MUCH FUEL COULD BE SAVED. THE IRS COULD DO MORE BY ALTERING THE INSANE RECORD-KEEPING RULES WHICH NUDGE FARMERS TO BUY OVERSIZED GAS GUZZLERS INSTEAD OF SMALL PICKUPS. PERHAPS TOO MANY OF US LINK FINICKY NEATNESS TO PROFESSIONALISM, BUT WHEN ALL THE OTHER KIDS ARE DOING IT, SOME OF US JUST NEVER GROW UP.
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