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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.

Viewer's Turn

Apr 26, 2010
***The following viewer feedback was received following the April 24-25, 2010 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

John,
    Your program this morning was most interesting to us at the Mastel Farms at Edgeley ND.  We:  My wife and I are retired but love farming.  We only have 2 quarters and 80 beef cows.  Good care for the cows keep us in good health.  I guess it pays off as we have sold over 100% calf crop for the last few years.  The dirt farming not so good.  This year won't be be as much fun to try and market wheat and beans that are in over supply.
   My real concern is, as your program indicated this morning.  The young farmers are going by the wayside and it hurts us as many are our good friends.  I don't think any thing can be done about it. A big farmer commented. "If I can pencil out $10 and acre I will rent that extra quarter or two".   Kind of pathetic. 
Charlie Mastel
PS:  Keep up the good program...


   Thank you, folks for my “15 seconds of fame” when John read my email concerning the $800 tractor on this morning’s (4/25) show. My point was that at the time a farmer would have bought that tractor new, it would have been a major ‘hard cash’ outlay for his family farm of the day and the story would have had more impact if it were put into that context but hey, thanks for the air time!
  
I noticed that when John was talking about that $300,000 ‘self navigating robot farmer’, he had a certain gleam in his eye. I don’t know if John is a science fiction fan or not, but I would suggest that he watch a showing of the 1984 movie  “Running” staring Tom Selleck. Mr. Selleck’s character was a cyber cop of sorts whose main task was to track down and disable malfunctioning robots. In the opening scenes; Selleck is trying to disable a runaway farm robot which was destroying a farm (corn I think) and killing all comers.  As a retired electronic engineer (dealing mainly with product testing); I caution John to be careful of what he craves, for he just might get it! The automated farm of John’s son's future will be brought to him by the same fine folks that write today's software for Microsoft and Toyota (one more thing to keep you up at night).
Tom Dietz
Spring Hill, Florida
***Editor's Note:  Below is a transcript of the Farm Report Mailbag Segment Tom referred to in his comments...
   TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....TOM DIETZ HAS A THOUGHT ABOUT TRACTOR PRICES.
   "JOHN QUOTED THE PURCHASE PRICE "NEW" OF THE TRACTOR (I THINK IT WAS $800). NOW, ON THE FACE OF IT I SAID "WOW" AND I'M LOOKING AT BUYING A $4500 LAWN MOWER THAT JUST CUTS GRASS! I STOPPED TO THINK (AND I HOPE THAT MANY OF YOUR VIEWERS DO TOO) WHAT IS THAT IN TODAY'S DOLLARS AND I WONDER WHAT THE FARMER WHO WOULD SPEND $800 OF HIS HARD EARNED MONEY MADE THAT YEAR."
      JOHN, I'M OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE THE SAME REACTIONS, ESPECIALLY SINCE I REMEMBER WHEN MANY OF THOSE ANTIQUES WERE NEW MACHINES. OF COURSE, SIMPLE INFLATION INCREASES THE COST, BUT THERE ARE OTHER FACTORS THAT MAKE THE OLD PRICES HARD TO PUT IN PERSPECTIVE.
      FOR ONE THING, THAT LAWN MOWER YOU ARE BUYING LIKELY HAS MORE HORSEPOWER THAN THE STEAM BEHEMOTHS WE OFTEN SHOW. THE FIRST TRACTOR I REMEMBER RIDING WAS ONLY 45 HP, AND WHEN THE FIRST 100 HORSE TRACTORS CAME OUT WE MARVELED AT ONE FROM THE SCHOOL BUS AS AN ENORMOUS POWERHOUSE.
      PRICES SHOULD BE PUT IN CONTEXT AS YOU SAY. FARMERS OFTEN POINT OUT HOW EXPENSIVE SAY, A NEW COMBINE IS - WHICH CAN RUN TO 300-400 THOUSAND DOLLARS. BUT THESE MACHINES DO THE WORK OF HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS OF HUMANS, WHILE DRIVING THEMSELVES, KEEPING DETAILED MAPS OF YIELDS AND METICULOUSLY AND GENTLY THRESHING THE CROP.
      MOST TOOLS COST AND DO MORE. AND AS WE DEPLOY EVEN MORE TECHNOLOGY WE DO SO BECAUSE IT MAKES GOOD ECONOMIC SENSE. THE TRICKY QUESTION IS HOW MUCH TECHNOLOGY WILL REPLACE HOW MANY HUMANS IN OUR PROFESSION.
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