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January 2011 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.

Viewers Give Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Jan 31, 2011

Editor's Note:  The following comments were received from viewers following the January 29-30, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

#1: Topic: Baxter Black

   I was so disappointed last week when Baxter was not on the program. He was so funny today - reminded me of the many times I have benn in that same situation here with goats and cows. Then you said the worse thing I have ever heard you say -- "Baxter Black will be back in 2 weeks". My husband and I both enjoy him very much and look forward to hearing him. If people don't like to hear him maybe they should leave the room at that time to get another cup of coffee, go to the restroom or just chill!
   None of the farmers around here are so anal as to object to having him on the program. He is a good stress reliever after seeing the cost of corn and wheat that we need in order to maintain our cattle and goats. We live on my husbands family farm and he has been working the farm since he was able to walk to the barn. There is no one that is more FARMER than him!
Thank you,
Yvonne Wakeman

#2: Topic: Baxter Black

   MSNBC finally had the courage to fire Keith Olberman.  When are you going to "man up" and fire the all pathetic Baxter Black?
Thomas Durigon
p.s.  You did finally eliminate the useless horse training bit from your show.


#3:  Topic:  Market Analysis

   Except for Mark Gold it's mostly useless jibberish ......week after week..I wonder if these guys could understand what they're saying if they listened to themselves. 
Dennis Kurc

A Tractor Tale

Jan 28, 2011

   Attached is a picture of my son, my mother and my father. The tractor in the background is a 1935 F12.  In 1946 after WWII when dad got out of the army Air Corps he bought his farm in Dracut, MA. Part of the deal for the farm was this tractor stays with my father. Dad used this tractor well into the early 70's for mowing hay and cutting fire wood.

   Around 1980 my brother John (US Farm Report did a segment of your show on him after 9/11, the was the AA pilot who was killed in the crash in the World trade center) and myself cut about 50 cords of wood with this tractor per year. I moved away in 1985 after graduating colege. Dad told me back then when he passed away I could have the tractor.  Last year I asked dad if I could come from MI to MA and take the tractor back to MI with me.  The picture was taken last Easter, the tractor hadn't run since the early 80's and the engine was froze.

   Dad turns 90 this year and at Easter we plan on having a party for him. The tractor engine has been rebuilt, and it is in for paint.  I will bring this tractor back to MA for dad to again drive it. Dad still farms putting in about 5000 square bales of hay per year.
Joe Ogonowski 
Newport, MI

ma dad kid tractor

Labor Dispute

Jan 27, 2011

   I disagree with the apple grower from Pennsylvania on the labor issue.  I think there are enough people out of work in this country that she should not have a problem hiring non-immigrant labor.  There are plenty of teens out there who need a job.  Why doesn't she promote to them? Have we ever considered that the way we approach the world is what we are teaching our children?  Have we really grown too lazy and proud to think that some jobs are beneath us when our families are struggling so hard?  I have more faith in our youth than that...I think given the chance they would gladly pick apples for a living, and they could do the job well.  There should be a great pride in being involved with the food chain, a very vital source of our existence, and I think the importance of this should be stressed more and more.  On this I agree with her.
Just asking to give the kids a chance


More Baxter Black Feedback

Jan 25, 2011

*Editors Note: Viewers continue to express their opinion on Baxter Black - below are several new comments...

I've seen and heard Baxter on several shows, programs, specials.  He is witty, funny, poet and entertaining, along with musical.  Your spot with him is a great touch to the fine arts side of country.  I hope he remaims on the program to enlighten all of us.  Thank You!  Big-D  (Dallas)

Hi John, 
Just a note to tell you how much we appreciate your program and a positive comment about Baxter Black. We enjoy his humor and like you, once in a while we don't 'get it'!  But that's o.k.  Really liked his words last week about frienship.  After all is said and done the most important thing in life is family and friends.  Bob and I have lived 80+ years and have come to that conclusion.  Keep up the good reporting and stories.  We love it!!!!

I use the Baxter Black segment of your Show to Brush my teeth, since I am up just getting ready for the day. I don’t want to lose any other part of your show, so it affords me to break, and get back to the TV for the “interesting” programs.  Thanks for listening.  Perry Prewett

Yes, John did have me scared last week, thinking we would be losing our dream guy, Baxter Black.  Glad for knowing he will still be "amongst us".  His epistle/poem, whatever, on Friendship was the neatest thing I have heard in a long time.....and I'm 84.  Your friend Judy Lewis, Waverly, Ohio....raised on an Indiana farm.

   Baxter Black adds a necessary balance to US Farm Report. Farming isn't all about production and profit. It's also a great lifestyle. Just like recess was an important part of grade school, a recess
to reflect on why we have chosen to farm is important. True, we don't wear the boots and hat,
but we do have our baseball caps, pickups, and coffee shops. Cowboy or farmer, a friend is a
friend. They are the family we get to choose. And regardless whether we farm 40 acres or 4000,
that pause to reflect on what's important helps us sort out what life is all about. Thanks, Baxter,
for helping me sort that out.
Stan Friedmann

I watch you nearly every Sunday am and always look forward to Baxter Black’s witticisms. I love the entire program as I was raised a country girl and at 75 I still miss it. Your program brings me back to my childhood years and I love everything about your program, including the business reports and the commodity discussions. I especially like the tractor showings. But I always look forward to Baxter’s few minutes. Let him stay. It’s a refreshing teeny break in the hour program of Ag Biz. Thanks...........................Jane

My husband and I started watching U S Farm Report just to see Baxter Black. We even record it
if we are unable to watch when it is on. We are not farmers but live in a rural area
and have learned a lot about farming by watching your show. It is interesting and informative.
We were shocked to learn that some viewers do not enjoy Baxter Black. Please do not remove
this segment from your show. We need all the humor we can get!
Lynn and Caryl Dafforn
Markle IN

When you live a jillion miles from town and there is a foot of snow on the ground and wind is blowing a steady 40 miles an hour, you need all the reasons to laugh you can get. We don't just like Baxter Black in our household, he is a necessity.
Thank you for having him on your show. – anonymous

I see that not everyone appreciates Mr. Black, but I really enjoy his dry wit and poetry. I row
cropped for 40 years, but I still can appreciate Baxter's humor. No one likes or enjoys every program on any station, so keep him coming.
Johnny Lawrence
Rayville, La.

I love the Baxter Black episodes of the show and think he is funny and needed on the show.
People need to lighten up and have a good time. I imagine the ones that have wrote asking for
Baxter to be removed have laughed a time or two at his stories and jokes.
Keep up the good work, Mr Black.
Ken Langford
Carthage, TX

After watching the segment yesterday (1/15/11) I was surprised to hear comments that some
individuals think that Baxter Black is a waste of show time. Personally I think he is great. The
first time I saw him on the show (a year or two ago) I was amazed. He is a great asset and relief
in these difficult times. It seems to me he used to be on every week but now only every other
week. I wish he was on MORE often rather than less or not at all, as some seem to suggest. I
guess they just don't appreciate creativity and talent. I am a 60 year old 'city boy in Iowa' and always have been a 'city' boy' but I watch your show religiously because I not only learn a lot but gives me insight as to what is going on nationally and internationally, not just in agriculture but other aspects too. I also follow politics closely and the effects it has on agriculture and how it affects the consumer such as the price of food. For years now I have become very frustrated at not only politicians but their appointed groups that have way too much power and answer to no one - such as the EPA. The EPA is an enemy of people and business. They try and justify their position (and money) by dreaming up schemes to hurt our country, and in my opinion, intentionally are trying to destroy the USA. Something needs to be done but I don't know what.
Daniel L. McWhinney

Good Morning! I enjoy your U.S. Farm Report program very much even though I've been away from farm life for a number of years; still enjoy keeping up with what's going on. I have to share with you that I really enjoy Baxter Black on your program; in my opinion he is a a modern day Mark Twain in many ways. For those who do not "get him", maybe if they just would "listen" they might.... God Bless - Faye Merdian

Just finished watching the Sunday 5 a.m. USFarm Report with John Phipps. Hearing that one of the viewers was complaining about having a small amount of humor a la Baxter Black on the program, concerns me greatly. Since each week I look forward especially to Baxter Black. To each his own, but "Laughter is the Best Medicine" has been proven. I feel sorry for that person
whose negative message was posted on the show. I am an 84 yr. old "girl" living in a pleasant, but not fancy retirement village in central southern Ohio (beef cattle, wheat and corn, and lumber (forests) area. My friends and I are still enjoying life by being able to laugh a lot ..... and here in the village, we are middle-aged. So you get the picture. –anonymous

Morning, folks. I've written before about Baxter's segment and have to admit that I am in the 'anti-Baxter' camp. When I lived in Arizona, I probably would have enjoyed having Mr.Black as a neighbor and spent countless hours on our front porches swapping lies together; but those
times are past now and I don't watch your show to be entertained (though I admit liking the "Tractor Tails" spot. Probably has something to do with being older than most of your 'antique' tractors !). Baxter's pieces rarely strike me as funny and few give me any new knowledge or
perspective. So, how about making both the 'For' and 'Against' Baxter camps unhappy? Like King Solomon of old, cut the baby in half ! Run Baxter every other week (if his contract permits) and use his time to teach us something we don't know. I would say 'stay warm up there' but John has told us that he now seems to spend more of his time in his(I assume cozy) office rather than out
in the fields mending fences in the snow and rain. So just don't get eye strain from watching these computer screens too long !
Have fun guys,
Tom Dietz
Spring Hill, FL

Dear Mr. Phipps,
Thank you for inviting my comments after your words about Baxter Black. You are right on target
that sometimes humor is hard to appreciate if you are not in the same situation as the comedian.
You are also right that good humor is hard to find in today's world. So much of what we see on
tv has no real redeeming value. I do think Mr. Black's piece today on friendship was fabulous.
Incidentally, I will be seeing an old college roommate today for the first time in 37 years. We lost
touch and life happened. My daughter was very ill and disabled for over a year that kept me
busy. When she suffered from a life threatening disease, the other roommate let me know and
we reconnected. Please keep Baxter in the lineup. As a nurse I know how important laughter is. I also know how important it is to enjoy humor that isn't raunchy, put downs of people, etc... Thank you again.

Wow, we love Baxter Black..... to us he is a wonderful addition to the program. "laughter is the best medicine" Thanks. John & Karen McKinney, Bourbon, Mo.

I watched your show this sorry to hear a lot of people don't care about Baxter....I think
he is so funny....a great cowboy....also a great writer....I don't know how he comes up with all
those stories...please don't let him go...he lightens up your show...sincerely,B.Beauchamp
We look forward to Baxter Black's submissions and can't imagine the U.S. Farm Report without
him. You're right .. . . . there are simply no "farmer poets" that I'm aware of! Thanks for an
entertaining and informative program.
Doug and Gail Yancey
Colorado Springs, CO

15 January 2011
Keep Baxter Black in your programming. I am not a farmer, but have many farmer friends.
I am 76 years old and Baxter Black is a breath of fresh air and enlightening. The next thing, some viewers will want to take is your country churches section out. I also enjoy "Tractor Tales".
I record all your programming on my DVR, that way, so if I'm out some place, I will not miss a program. I even watch some programs over again.
Thanks for a good program on RFD TV.
Bob Clemenson
Montrose, Iowa

Oh MY!!! Don't listen to the naysayers - PLEASE !!! Baxter Black is the best thing since , as he
would say: 'Velcro chaps'! He makes our week and our lives !! As a lover of all things Western
but married to a Pennsylvania farmer, he helps us bridge the gap and his philosophy applies to all
of us. His poem about friends in today's show was especially appreciated after the events of last
week in Tucson. Anyone who reminds us of the important things to hold dear, is special at this
time !
Thanks for a good show!
Peg Lehto
New Wilmington, PA

Good Morning
First let me tell you that my husband and I watch your program religiously every Saturday morning. I guess you could say we are hooked on it and we take away quite abit of information to use on our farm/ranch in North Dakota. Anyway this morning we were watching and Baxter Black did his part of the show with one of his poems about friends. My husbands reaction to it was "That
was great - I want you to read or play that at my funeral". I hope he doesn't die anytime soon but I would like to be prepared in case he goes to the Lord before me. Could you please tell me where I could get a copy of the video or is it in one of his books? The show was on Jan. 15th.
If you could share this information with me I would appreciate it very much.
Eileen Huseth

I'm writing in regards to the responses to Baxter Black. We all have opinions like "bellybuttons". I heard the negative response to Baxter which made me think that person needs to Lighten Up A Little and Live!.
We enjoy Baxter --- he is a Keeper!
Thank -you, Bob Spangler, Gettysburg, PA

I'm not one to chime in with my opinion about TV shows, but, concerning the vote on whether to
have Baxter Black as part of the farm report show, I could not sit silent. His segment is the main
reason I put off my chores until after his Saturday morning show. He has a way of mixing humor
with good life lessons that end the show on a happy note. Who doesn't need some of both of
Wendell Munson

Last week you had a letter from a viewer who commented that Baxter was neither funny,clever nor entertaining,or something to that effect. I think he is all the above. Maybe that's because I was raised on a small farm in southwest Missouri.We milked a few cows and raised beef cattle. I
understand problems with cows and the story about the lady who dropped her false teeth and the dog got them, I still laugh about. You don't cover the small farmer much and I understand why. So perhaps a minute or two of Baxter's folksy humor that , in my opinion, most mid-western farmers enjoy will even things out. Even if I don't always agree with you, I think you provide a valuable service, not only the farming community, but to people of all walks.

Dennis Tucker
Rogersville, Missouri

Please continue showing the Baxter Black segments. Even though he represents the
cattle and cowboy industry his views are still the same as most people associated with
the Ag industry. For me he is the highlight of the show. My wife does not leave for work
on Saturdays till she has watched Baxter Black.
Greg Winter, CCA

In regards to the mailbag segment concerning Baxter Black, I must add my 2 cents worth. I was born and raised in the city, and now at almost 53 years old, I would give anything to have been born in the country and lived on a farm. It seems as I get older, I am more envious of how
my life would have been if I could have seen into the future or would have had someone who would have directed me toward the life I could only dream of...but I didn't. I went to work when I was 15 years old in a grocery store, when bag boys would unload your grocery cart and carry out your groceries to your car, an act that is simply unheard of now. I have been in the workforce ever since. I came across US Farm Report show several years ago and my husband would always laugh at me, because I would try to figure out what y'all were talking about. I have gotten better about understanding some of the things, and there are still some things I don't understand, but I am still learning things from the show. I do love the Spirit of the Heartland segments, Tractor Tales and Church Salutes....and yes, I even like Baxter's segments. We live in a society that is instant....we have to have everything right now, don't want to work for anything, and we don't want to give time or attention to any person that we feel is "a waste of time". Well, there is nothing on US Farm Report that is a waste of time. I can only imagine how much more knowledge I would have from watching the show, if I only had a farm, or acreage or some farm animals and could apply things from the show. We don't know what is going to happen to our country or the world, except that it is going to get worse. At least I am able to have a small garden and won't go hungry because of your show. Some people just need to know that if they don't like what they are watching on the show, they can always change channels or just press the mute button! That is a very simple solution to their problem. Anyway, please keep up the good work....they are many of us from out there, that do enjoy all aspects of your show. God bless you!
Annie Heck
Harrison, Tennessee

I set the alarm early on Saturdays to catch the show which is well-done and keeps me in touch
with my farm roots. I am in the 50% NOT Baxter Black fans and agree with the viewer who said
the time could be better used. However, I did like John's commentary on the subject. Keep up
the good work and thanks for all the effort in building a quality show. Frank Klocke
South Bend, In

I am not a farmer but a retired math and physics teacher. I enjoy watching you show every
week. I've learned a lot from your show. Now here's the big BUT. I thought I was the only one who absolutely thought the Baxter Black segment was unfunny and basically for people with an IQ under 50. I now record your show and fast forward it past his segment. He is about as bad as the people who did the horse training segments that fortunately are no longer a part of you program.
T. Durigon

I was appalled when I heard negative feedback about Baxter Black. I watch all the time and am disappointed when I hear Baxter won't be on the following week. He is the highlight of
the show in my opinion. Don't even think about getting rid of him. Thank you.
Sam Steckly
Greiner Buildings

I am not normally up and listening to the farm report in the mornings. But today I was
and really enjoyed Mr. Black's ending about a friend. It really touched my memory and brought back many things where my friends were there for me. Then I heard the commentary where some
people were not happy with Mr. Black. Mr. Black is just down to earth and tells it like it
is and I hope that he continues and that when I wake up early that I can hear more for him.
Thanks to Mr. Baxter Black
JB from Bossier City

My vote is to keep showing Baxter Black. He is an original and connects back to the heritage we are so proud of.
Have a nice day……………….anonymous

I'm not a farmer, although my grandfather and uncle were when I was growing up, but I do
enjoy watching your program Saturday mornings. I thought it a bit ironic this morning when
having just enjoyed Baxter's commentary on friends and friendship, that you wouild post up that
"waste of valuable time" e-mail. I thoroughly enjoy, and look forward to, Baxter, just as I do
your final words on each show. It's never a "waste of time" to listen to differing ideas and
opinions. I hope you keep ol' Baxter around.
Terry Robertson
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I could not believe the email you read at the end of your show this morning. While some
may think Baxter is a waste of time, it is the major reason I get up early on Saturday
mornings, and the major reason I watch your show. I live in the Mid-West, I still get it!

Love Baxter Black and we do not think he is a waste of time on your show!! In fact, he is a big reason we watch--and are disappointed when we miss his portion of your show.
The Shermans

I watched your show this morning (1/15/2011 at 5:30 AM on WKTV, Utica, NY) and
loved the Baxter Black skit abt friends!!! As I was binging the skit to record and play it
for my daughter you talked abt people complaining abt wasting time with him. Do not
listen! He's great, maybe the best part of the show. Everybody can use a little levity, especially theese days! Alot of his skits have a funny and pertinant mesage, he is an old fashioned realist with a funny bone. Wise beyond his years!
If he has any stories abt fishing I'ld love to hear them!
Keep it up!




Bob and Louise Bowen 
Danvers, IL 

Reaction to China Commentary

Jan 24, 2011


   Why would China be concerned about our rules and regulations?   The real problem is not with China manufacturers but with the American companies that took the clay pots to China and told them to make them. The American consumer is ultimately to blame because we keep demanding lower and lower prices. When are we ever going to figure out the difference between price and cost?

Greg Cavener
   While the Chinese appropriating and copying local technology is what I call dirty pool at least they are furnishing a more affordable product for the masses.  Something that is even more destructive is what is going on with our local people.  The petty thieves and local governing bodies are destroying so many endeavors by ill thought up laws and actions that we are likely to have nothing left.  The thieves vandalize the enterprize of copper etc and law enforcement will then turn on the victim and with permits, regulations.fees  make it impossible to get back into operation.  With the burdensome regulation locally under the color of health, environment  or whatever  it is not likely that we will be able to get employment up and running.  And when the half spoiled imported food  is no longer available then we may have a local hunger problem.   When there is no longer bread then maybe the population can eat cake!!!!!!!!  If there are doubts about what is going up and down the countryside in regard to the taking of property  you will be surprised should you decide to look into it.  It ain't pretty.   
George Grogan        
Longview, Texas
***Editor's Note:  Both comments referred to John's commentary that aired the weekend of January 22-23, 2011...a transcript of his comments are below;

Thoughts on Social Media, Baxter Black & Ethanol

Jan 10, 2011

***Editor's Note:  The following comments were received following the January 8-9, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...


John Phipps and the great team at U.S. Farm Report,

    My work is in electronics. The computer, email, etc. are essential parts of my work and life and that's OK. I've never heard a more insightful commentary on the inherent problems with social media! Good communication is a tremendous thing, but I think social media is pretty limited for real communication. (Besides, like John, I don't have that much spare time
   I see your program on KSTC TV, channel 45 in the Minneapolis area. I was raised on a farm and enjoy your program tremendously.
Tom Lingbloom
   I would like to see the results of a study (there must be at least two ! ) about making ethanol from corn and whether using corn for ethanol decreases the food supply.   I would bet the food supply is enhanced a little because the stillage is good animal feed.  China just bought several million metric tons of dried stillage.  And there is a facility in Arizona that doesn’t dry the stillage --- they use it immediately as feed for holstein  feeder cattle.
Shirl Wray
Ok. That (Baxter Black's commentary on "Tracto" Therapy) was one of the funniest  ones yet. And I bet, some one will try setting up something like it.  Thanks for having him on you program.
Rita G
Will you be having another marketing rally  like the one December 2010 in the near future?
Thanks,  Scott Draper

***Editor's Note:  The 2011 Marketing Rally is tentatively planned for early December in Chicago - more details to come...

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