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See the latest reader comments and hear John explain some of agriculture’s complex topics.
Oct 06, 2008
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Where is the E-85 Flex fuel Tractor and related ag. machines? It would be a great way to promote the fuel source.
Scott Bushnell - St. Joseph County, Ind:
I don’t seem to remember anyone clamoring to help farmers – especially those in the upper Midwest – in the late 1980s/early 1990s when banks and insurers foreclosed on farm mortgages. Few in Congress or the Treasury or even the US Department of Agriculture stood up to decry the ruined family farms when the combination of poorer-than-expected harvests and higher default rates converged. There wasn’t any movement in Congress to “bailout” families who had honored their legacy of providing food for America and the world. Yes, farmers had made a mistake in listening to their bankers and brokers in taking on greater debt in buying more land, newer equipment and greater risks. Insurance companies and bankers that wrote farm mortgages wanted better returns than they were getting from these investments. There were confrontations between police officers and farmers when the latter’s families were evicted from their land. But no bail out was discussed. The stink in the bailout of Wall Street is not manure; it’s the toxic waste of greed.
Frank Buckmaster - Fort Wayne, Ind:
I never miss your Saturday program. We get it on channel 21 out of Fort Wayne, IN. You and your team do a very good job. I am retired but help my sons in the summer and we got Florida for 4 months in winter. We farm 1700 acres corn-soybeans some wheat and feed out 500 steers. We are located about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne. Thank you for a job well done!
John, has there been any report on what shape the grain shipping facilities in Galveston, Texas are in? When I lived in Texas from 2001 to 2004, I used to see a lot of grain trains headed to Galveston on the Santa Fe and the Union Pacific. After Hurricane Ike made such a mess there, I wonder if there will be any grain shipped out of that location in the near future.
Steve & Mary:
My husband and I farm in Wa. state and we wonder why you have very little to say on the subject of wheat and where it's going and why. We realize that beans and corn are your bread and butter, but wheat and cattle are ours. We enjoy your program and watch it every Sunday.
***Editor's note: the following emails are referring to the U.S. Farm Report Mailbag Segment of September 27-28...here is a transcript of that segment for your reference:
Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report Mailbag...a few eyebrows were raised when I spoke last week about the European practice of licensing farmers, and not allowing those over 65 to operate farm equipment. From Larry Dynes - "In one breath you state they are ahead of us and then state they cannot get one at age 65. Who is ahead? How many farmers would we lose in this country and what about age discrimination?"
Larry thanks for writing. I find it interesting many producers feel children and seniors are desperately needed to operate farm equipment. That's not my experience. Moreover, the courts have ruled special driver's exam procedures for older people are justified, so I don't think this is age discrimination. As tractor safety experts in this country have pointed out, this attitude is a contributing factor to the fact that agriculture has a work fatality rate per worker five times the next most dangerous industry.
Older drivers do not have a disproportionate number of accidents but they are almost three times more likely to die from tractor accidents than other age groups. If nothing else, the European rule eliminates many senior deaths. In addition, licenses to apply pesticides in the U-S have not proven overly burdensome for operators.
The ide of licensing farmers makes many producer nervous because it attaches standards of competence to an occupation they feel should be open to all. I respectfully disagree. Farming is the only industry where we annually kill children on the job. I'm ready to inconvenience myself and others to end this sorry record.
Dear John - licensing farmers is a BAD idea. GET OVER IT. Your rant about putting another burden of licenses upon farmers was NOT received here in a good mood at all. That bad idea is just as stupid as it would be to require a license for commentators holding them responsible for stupid ideas like this one. MY LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL INJURES MORE STUDENTS IN SPORTS THAN FARMERS WHO ARE INJURED WHILE FARMING. While farming is an inherently dangerous business due to the multitude of different skills needed, there are very few bad accidents. On the other side children have knees, hips, backs and necks permanently damaged for WHAT PURPOSE? That injury will hinder them for a life time and make them more susceptible to other injury in any other profession they follow. That idea, licensing farmers is just another liberal way to subject farmers to city bureaucrat overlords. As an OLD farmer, I remember clearly when the universities were telling farmers to mix CERESAN into their wheat seed. CERESAN was compounded from mercury. I have no doubt that my body is full of mercury from the advice of some city bureaucrat, bad advice and now we must call a HAZMAT TEAM any time a bit of mercury is spilled. Just don't give me any more good advice like using mercury on my seed, and stop this city pushed crap on farmers over this license deal. You better first license mothers before they have a child. First you must license children before they participate in any sport. You first license anyone who works in the "TELL FARMERS WHAT TO DO" business, and REQUIRE they pass a farmer designed test first to see if they are suitable for the task.
Tom Jacques - Hartville, MO:
Are you (J. Phipps) from the People's Republic of Massachusetts? Don't we have enough government intruding into every facet of our lives. Next we'll have to weigh and be taxed on animal poop on the farm to pay for our "carbon footprint". The greens will have us eliminate all fossil fuel based fertilizers and pesticides. Fossil fuel powered tractors will be verboten (so European) and we will be buying farm equipment from the Amish along with their well trained methane exhausting power engines (possibility for more taxing of horse manure). Of course we will have to have buggy driving licenses for those under 65 and over 15 years of age. After that will come government installed dust anylizers and we will be taxed on the measured dust levels around the farm paying an increasing amount as our particulate per cubic nano-meter rises. I use the metric measurement since you are in love with Europe. Surely we should use Europeans as a shining mansion on the hill since they are the standard for efficiency and model social structures. They regulate your whole life and I guess you like that idea. And it is nice to know, if using their model, that the goverment will "allow" us to keep maybe 15% of our income. You will probably vote for Obama so we can have more erosion of our freedom as he and the democrats vote for what you seem to desire. Our founders fought and died for freedom which you are willing to quietly cede to a bunch of lunatics in Washington. It always amazes me that people like you are so willing to let greedy politicians who are incapable of running a two car funeral take over our very existence.