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See the latest reader comments and hear John explain some of agriculture’s complex topics.
Lots of Letters
Feb 22, 2011
***Editor's Note: This viewer feedback was received following the February 19-20, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...
#1: I saw your program and commentary on Saturday, Feb 19 on our local Syracuse, NY station at 6:00 in the morning. I enjoy your show. I have never farmed but I grew up in the rural south (Al & Ga) and live in a heavily farmed area in Central NY. I prefer rural to city. I have gone to school and church with farmers all my 47 years. I couldn't agree more with your rebuttal to the fellow who thought large farms pushed people off the land. It is simple economics and no one has a gun to their head to sell their land. The math never lies. Just as a family can't make a living any longer owning one store or one gas station, it has become nearly impossible for one small farm to support a family. Times have changed. It appears that your minor in Economics still serves you well. Glad to know John that you are a former submariner. I was in the Air Force for 20 years, but now work with a bunch of former sailors at Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station near Oswego, NY.
John Hudgins, MBA - Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station
#2: The host of the 700 club -- Pat Robertson -- was talking about the rising food prices and the hoards of hungry people around the world --- then he said we should quit "using" corn for ethanol -- "we need that corn for food", he said. I think he is wrong -- very little of the corn kernel is used up for the ethanol: and, what's left, – the stillage – is good hog and/or cattle food and grows a lot of edible meat -- my gripe is that I can't prove it one way or another.......it's not as simple as taking government grazing land away from western ranchers. Surly there are some honest, non-political, reports that discuss this but I just can’t find them. Any good information you know about would be appreciated. S. D. Wray from Greentown, IN
#3: You know Florida clean drinking water is in danger. Oil drilling and pesticides will soon take over and make life unsustainable. Much more quickly than you think possible. Have you made arrangements for your children and grandchildren to live outside the USA, because all the other states have problems too? I watch the agriculture channels and I know how hard the chemical/fertilizer companies lobbied for this bill. Oil drillers can probe underground in a forty mile radius from the main drill site. After our aquifer is hit, we will all have to leave. Stop, please, think about it. What were your goals when you entered into politics? Edna Marshall
#4: In a recent session of Tractor Tales you did a story on a '36 Allis Chalmers tractor; in it you mentioned that the company also provided electric motors for submarines during WWII. Allis Chalmers was also active in the nuclear industry, designing and fabricating reactors, which came to be nicknamed "tractor reactors"; the website www.wisconsinhistory.org/wmh/ will bring you to an article by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Though I mainly watch your show for Baxter Black, Tractor Tales ( I don't farm) and Church Salute, I occasionally view other sections dealing with machinery; you have a fine show. Mark Gallistel
#5: John, I'd like to throw out a bit of info at your big time Farm Operators. I'm on the East Coast near by the EPA's Chesapeake Bay. Unless Obamas' scalpel knife cuts the EPA funds these little farmers out here are in a lot of trouble. One of my friends In Pa. had a 2500 head Hog Farm with consignments to Smithfield Hams in the south. Like all farmers his start up fees were astronomical so he sold a few lots to some city folks to put houses on, to offset and pay taxes up. Well wouldn't you know it those people complained about the Smells right after moving in. It just don't pay he told me to try to do the right thing. My cousin has a small Purebred Yorkshire Hog Operation in South Central Pennsylvania. His Grandmother my Aunt wanted to help him expand his Hog Business. The Township stopped them cold. Seems they had plans of the community to expand housing around their farm and no one want to take the chance on the smell. Now of course Pa. is a big Pork Eaters State but no one wants to live near them. So that being said I need to get to my main theme of this letter your Big Grain Producers out west. Your Neighbors and you need to take a trip out here to the East Coast and get some strategies together. You see there are big changes happening out here and it's called ORGANIC and NATURAL Foods. The Yuppies are influencing people that there is a big difference between your grain and the so called ORGANIC FOODS. I know you say there is room for all Farmers but you better take a look before the only people that’s buying you produce is other countries. The USDA said years ago that there is absolutely no difference between the Organic Stuff and Farmed with spray products to get better yields. The Government lets them (Organic People) use some sprays to keep down weeds but, not as much as you all do. Of course never mind that they have 40% less yields on the same ground you do either. There's not Grocery Store out here that's not selling All Natural Organic Foods and is selling produce like it's going out of style. All of the Grocery Stores have either added or expanded their departments in Organics. You say well that don't effect me, well maybe not yet but, at the rate they are expanding here it's only a matter of time till the Chinese, Russians and the European markets will be wanting the change to Organics. Then where will you be? So when is the best time to advertise against the new wave? Maybe just 5 years from now when your production yields are cut in half by the EPA restricting your usage of 24 D to 0. On that thought ask your wife if she may have been tempted to buy Organic because she saw you neighbor doing it in your grocery store... Just Thinking...
XDirtfarmer in Maryland