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U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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

A Quote Comment

Mar 03, 2009
   I've watched the U.S. Farm Report every Saturday morning for several years. It is a fine program full of interesting news and valuable information. I also look forward to the weather forecasts, American rural lore and weekly quotes of wisdom as well. I can usually find no fault in any episode but on Saturday, February 28th a quote by the Feminist author Jilly Cooper raised the hackles on the back of my neck: "The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness, can be trained to do most things." Whether spoken in jest or tongue-in-cheek, had it been said by a male about the female gender the Feminists would've been quick to denounce it as sexist and yet another example of male arrogance and insensitivity. Apparently, we males aren't the only ones who practice what may only be perceived as a double standard.
Yours truly, 
Rick Coleman
Flint, MI

John's Response:
   Rick - thanks for watching and for your feedback.  I choose the quotes myself, so it is my sense of humor that is at issue.  I have noticed over the last few months a distinct increase in our sensitivity to umbrage.  My guess is the changes we have witnessed have put us all more on edge and less likely to laugh off suspected slights.  
   I accept your criticism, but find the quote in question to be about par for my selections. No offense was intended.
Thanks for writing.

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COMMENTS (4 Comments)

John Phipps
Anons all:

I hesitated to respond and seem defensive (heaven knows I heard worse criticism from family) but one point needs to be made.

The definition of real is in the eye of the beholder, but mine is: Is this guy a competitor for my land? To the extent the I claim to be authentic, here are the facts, and you can ask my neighbors if they are true.

Until Aaron returned to the farm last year, Jan and I alone farmed 1700 cash grain acres - we provide all the labor. It was not easy, but if you recall we had some fairly uncomplicated seasons then. We have also poured serious $$ into good machinery and storage. Finally 95% of our farm is in one township.

My work with USFR requires about 70 days a year (Thu/Fri) and my work speaking takes another 50-60 days (mostly in winter).

One thing that preserves mucho time is we have bins that 80% of our harvest goes into, and we do hire friends with semi's to haul out. Otherwise, I do all the spraying, NH3, and other operations. Jan does much of the tillage and we alternate on the combine.

Since Aaron returned we have expanded to 2100 acres and Jan is doing more Grandma duty.

Whether this is "real" can be determined by others, but the remarks I make about my farm are based on my own personal experience. I have cared for this farm for 35 years and am happy to see the transition to a 7th generation in view.

As for the intellectual-wannabee charge: guilty. I enjoy learning and my strategy is to keep trying to do so to mitigate possible dementia/Alzheimer's which runs in my family. I also simply enjoy finding our new information.

I suppose "intellectual" was meant as an epithet, but I consider it a compliment.

The more interesting thing is the common idea of what farmers should look like. I'm finding the answer is evolving as we speak. In fact, the non-conventional farm families often present the more viable business models.

Regardless, thanks for your comments and reading my work.

8:50 AM Mar 4th
John, pay attention to 2:12PM Anonymous. It's best for us 'real' farmers not to think too much. If you have an opinion, save it for the bar or coffee shop. Let Rush do the intellectualizing stuff.
4:40 PM Mar 3rd
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