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See the latest reader comments and hear John explain some of agriculture’s complex topics.
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Jan 08, 2013
***Editor’s Note: The following comments were received following the January 5-6, 2013 edition of U.S. Farm Report…
Viewers respond to John’s comments on the Ag Census:
#1: I have long enjoyed John Phipps reports, common sense, practical solutions. Total agreement about the census taking. These people already have this information, at your local FSA office. Acres are certified, wheat, barley, CRP. One government entity realizes this, the IRS! Perhaps this is a place to help balance the budget, do away with this bueauracy, if they can't interpert available information, why have them? I am retired, farmed dry land wheat in the Columbia Basin 48 years, summer fallow rotation. Times are changing, I have picture of my dad at 13 years old, driving 27 horses pulling a combined harvester, (ground powered). I have 60 years of experience driving tractor, yet my daughter in law drives just as good as I do. GPS auto steer, auto boom on sprayer. Tom Eakin
#2: I agree, John. I have always thought it bassackwards that we in production agriculture are expected to play the game with all our cards showing!! Dick House - Arthur, IL
#3: Three cheers to you, John! Enabling USDA gains nothing but a continuation of poor performance and perpetuation of bureaucratic inefficiency. And, when will farmers get the message that the government programs serve to keep food prices low. Is it not amazing that there was talk of $7-$8 milk without a dairy program in the farm bill? Be it anti-terrorism or farm programs, we pay a dear price when we sell out for security. Keep up the good work. Charlie Fox – Wheeling, WV
#4: THANK YOU!!!! I was thrilled to see someone as yourself also received a census questionnaire. If I had known the fine for not sending it was only $100, I might have considered paying it to prove my point....I feel they are useless and a severe waste of money. I received one now two years in a row. I refused to return it last year and they sent me a second form and to get rid of the threatening phone calls to my house I returned it rather than go to jail. I again received one this year. I ask people of my church if anyone else had received one of these forms and no one had ever seen one. I started getting the threatening calls again. They have someone call that can't even speak English and by the time I got tired of asking her to repeat what she said so I could understand her. I told her to go ahead and send someone to my home and pick me up as I could enjoy a break from house cleaning and cooking for 3 Hots and a Cot. She didn't find it amusing and I ask to speak to her supervisor or a phone number so I could call and threaten them during their Saturday....not possible. The questions on the form are about the same that are on our tax form. I pay my taxes and feel the gov't has the same information on both forms. Our gov't cannot balance a budget and I can see why. They have nothing better to do than ask questions of someone who is honest enough to pay their taxes and they have money to waste in mailing these forms. I should have taken the form to the post office and had it weighed...as I again received not one but two of these forms again this year. Thank you for posting your comment as I felt better to know you also received one and feel the same as I do. Keep up the show. I can't wait to get up on Saturday and grab that cup of coffee and watch your show. If my antenna messes up to the tv I am not able to get the show my entire week is off. I have a friend that has about 20 tractors in his pole barn that he and his grandson have. They use their tractors, collect them and do tractor pulls as a family. I think tractors are an American sign of what used to be....hard work and dedication that America used to have...God bless our farmers.
Viewers on Conventional vs. Organic Production Practices
#1: Whether using Organic or Conventional methods, we should have a common goal for Environmentalism, Sustainability and Food Security. Most farmers feel Organic methods are a scam, but have you done the research? Kae Yowell
#2: In a response to a comment in this weeks 'mailbag', John stated "industrial farmers like myself do not spray poisons and we have overwhelming proof of this". Please consider your "proof". To my knowledge, which is extensive, there has never been a study determining the safety - long term - of any of the things that you spray. In fact, the things you spray have huge warnings cautioning against the short term and long term effects of improper usage. Some are even labeled "poison". All have references to the poison control center. There have been studies done calling into question the "safety" of the things you spray. The studies done concluding their safety are, at best, short sighted. Perhaps, it is the word 'safety' that has been mitigated. If it's safe, than a toddler could play in it. But that's not your definition. Your definition seems to be - "they say it's okay and even though I have to wear protective gear and not spray when it's windy and I can't let my kids, pets, or livestock near it. It's safe. As long as too much of it doesn't get in one spot, or on me. Safe. Even though enough evidence has been amassed for other countries to ban some of these things, those other countries are dumb, it's safe." I realize my comments will more than likely never see your show, but that's not the point. The point is to get you, John, to look outside your own box. People create boxes for their own safety, but you are on national TV, your safety should not be your concern on TV. I understand to whom your show speaks. I would suggest that you simply avoid broadcasting issues that require you to take a side of an argument when taking a side either makes you appear ignorant or involves alienating your entire audience. If you really believe what you said, you must not be investigating the issue with all of your points in hand. Thanks for listening. Yvonne
#1: The above noted subject line (Beekeepers are farmers too) basically states my opinion. While I try to catch your program every Sunday morning (broadcast in my area at 7 a.m.) I have yet to see a segment on the plight of the American beekeeper. I even went into your archive and couldn't pull up but a few posts from 2009. I am a side-liner who sells honey at my local farmer's market and not a large full time commercial operator. If the dairy industry, pork industry and cattle industry lost 30-35% of their herds each year you folks would be all over that story. The same with a 35% annual drop in good old corn and wheat production. I have the same problem here in Wisconsin: if it's not black and white and says moo nobody is interested. Climate change is here; beekeepers are good weather watchers, and along with declining honeybee populations plant pollination looks a bit grim. Honeybees pollinate a huge number of both fruits and agricultural plants (think alfalfa). The next time you bite into an apple take a moment to consider the beekeeper who helped make it. You notice I didn't blast Monsanto, or any of your other sponsors? Bob Martin - Superior, WI
#2: On your most recent U.S. Farm Report episode I found it interesting to listen to the reasons for the decline in exports of U.S. products. While there were some potentially valid reasons given I was wondering if the dependence on genetically modified crops has some impact on international exports. I found it interesting to learn that many countries are reluctant to introduce GM crops into their internal agriculture. Could this reliance in the U.S. on GM products be a potential problem for exports? Mark