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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.

Viewers Speak Out

Sep 20, 2010

***Editor's Note:  The following viewer comments were received following the September 18-19, 2010 edition of the program...

#1:

John,
   I enjoy your show. I try to watch it every Saturday morning.  On 9-18-2010 you had a story about playing Taps. Good story. But I would like to correct you on one thing.Taps is not played. The correct way to say it is to 'Sound Taps'.
   I am an ex-Vietnam Vet. My brother is also an ex-Vietnam era Vet who also went to a funeral of a fallen soldier where they played Taps on a tape recorder. Being a Trumpet player in high school he offered his talent to sound Taps for all Veterans funerals in Gillette, Wy.
   We were at  our Uncles Funeral at Black Duck, Mn last month. He was also a Vet. Brother Gary Sounded Taps in honor of him.  The next day was to be a dedication & memorial of one of my cousins cousin who was killed on Nam. All of the fellows that was in the squad in Nam on the day he was killed, were at this memorial. Gary was honored to Sound Taps.
    Sorry, just couldn't let that one slide.   Keep up the good work.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Sincerely,
Dale E. Rye

 

#2:

   I'm sorry. Could you please remind me as to when we last had a trade surplus. It's been so long that I cannot remember. Just last month we had a $50 Billion trade loss. Our trade losses in fact stretch back as far as the eye can see.
   Free trade is gutting out country.
David M. 
Azle, Texas

 

#3:

John,

   I listened to your rebuttal of my proposition, but I didn't find it convincing. I remember the Southern Corn Leaf Blight invasion of 1970, when a naturally-occurring pest exploited the fact that most hybrid corn producers used the Texas Male Sterile gene to eliminate detasseling. If your memory doesn't go back that far, here are a couple of links you might find interesting:

    This 12% loss in US corn production came without any intentional human intervention. The decision to use TMS germ plasm made good economic sense to the seed corn companies, much like the use of Roundup-Ready seed (and other transgenic traits - I'm not picking on Monsanto) makes sense to farmers today. It didn't take a sales pitch directed at farmers to get TMS into the fields. All it took was an attractive idea to the seed producers. Today we are distributing a single genetic trait much more widely than TMS ever was. And we can't guarantee that it is invulnerable.
Lyle Stephens
 

***Here is a transcript of John's comments on this issue:

   TIME NOW FOR OUR WEEKLY LOOK INSIDE THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....I HAVE REMARKED ABOUT HOW I THINK BIOTERRORISM FEARS ARE GROSSLY OVER OVER-INFLATED, AND LYLE STEPHENS TOOK EXCEPTION.

"IF AN ENTERPRISING GRADUATE STUDENT WERE TO FIND A WEAKNESS IN ROUNDUP READY GENETICS AND ADD A GENE TO EXPLOIT THAT WEAKNESS TO A COMMON INSECT, HE COULD CREATE A WIDESPREAD CROP FAILURE IN BOTH CORN AND SOYBEANS."
   ON THE SURFACE, LYLE, I WILL GRANT YOUR THEORY SOUNDS PLAUSIBLE, BUT LET'S BREAK IT DOWN JUST A LITTLE. FIRST, YOU NEED A PRETTY SAVVY GRADUATE STUDENT WITH NOT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, BUT POWERFUL TERRORIST TENDENCIES. THAT'S MY FIRST OBJECTION: MOST TERRORISTS ARE POORLY EDUCATED, AND INDEED ANTI-SCIENTIFIC FUNDAMENTALISTS.
   NEXT THE SOYBEAN TERRORIST WOULD HAVE TO FIND A WEAKNESS IN THE CURRENT GENETICS AND SIMULTANEOUSLY A CONCURRENT AND COMPATIBLE GENE EXPRESSION FOR SOME KIND OF INSECT ADVANTAGE. THE POSSIBILITY OF EITHER IS MINUTE, THE POSSIBILITY OF FINDING BOTH IS INFINITESIMAL.
   THEN THIS SOYBOMB VARIETY WOULD HAVE TO GO UNDETECTED DURING YEARS OF FIELD TRIALS. REMEMBER IS YOU WANT TO GET THESE THINGS PLANTED ON MILLIONS OF ACRES, IT CAN'T BE DONE IN A BACKYARD LAB AND SOLD BY MAIL.
   FINALLY, YOU HAVE TO GET THAT PARTICULAR VARIETY SOLD TO A BUNCH OF FARMERS. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. AT MOST, ONLY ONE VARIETY FROM ONE COMPANY WOULD BE AFFECTED.
  THE THREAT YOU DESCRIBE MAY BE POSSIBLE, BUT I RANK IT WITH THE EARTH GETTING HIT BY AN ASTEROID.
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