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November 2011 Archive for 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.

Is the Electoral College Still a Good Idea?

Nov 28, 2011

***Editor's Note:  Viewers reacted to John's comments on the Electoral College...we're  posting his commentary, followed by viewer reaction:

*John's World:

   BEEF PRODUCERS HAVE BEEN TWIDDLING THEIR COLLECTIVE THUMBS, IMPATIENTLY WAITING FOR THEIR LARGEST CUSTOMER - JAPAN - TO LIFT AGE RESTRICTIONS ON IMPORTED BEEF, FULLY OPENING THIS KEY MARKET. IT DOES SEEM TO BE TAKING A LONG TIME TO RESOLVE. BUT TO BE FAIR, PRACTICALLY EVERY DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT AROUND THE WORLD HAS FOUND THEIR PROCESSES SLOWED BY RULES AND PROCEDURES DESIGNED TO PROTECT MINORITIES AND INSURE ALL VOICES ARE HEARD.

   HERE IN THE U.S., WE HAVE ARCANE SENATE RULES THAT PERMIT A HANDFUL OR EVEN ONE SENATOR TO BRING THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS TO A HALT. WE CONTINUE THE OUTDATED ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM THAT A LARGE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS FAVOR ABOLISHING AS A WAY TO PROTECT SMALL STATE INTERESTS. IN SHORT, THE RULES DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE TYRANNY OF A MAJORITY HAVE BEEN CONVERTED INTO PARALYZING AGENTS FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS. THE BOTTOM LINE IS NORMALLY SLOW PROCESSES BECOME GLACIAL. MEANWHILE, THE REST OF THE WORLD IS OPERATING IN NANOSECONDS, AS TRADE AND FINANCE FLIT AROUND THE GLOBE IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE.

   I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO SEES THE MISMATCH HERE. PRESSURES ARE BUILDING FOR WORK-AROUNDS TO AVOID GOVERNMENTAL LOGJAMS OF OUR OWN MAKING. WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO SEE THE INFLUENCE OF POWERFUL PLAYERS LIKE LARGE CORPORATIONS OR TECHNOLOGY PROVIDERS GROW SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY CAN STILL WORK IN SOMETHING CLOSE TO REAL TIME. GRADUALLY IT IS DAWNING ON US THAT SLOW GOVERNMENT IS NO GOVERNMENT.

*Viewer Reaction:

 

#1:  The Electoral College is a masterful creation of our Founding Fathers to protect us from a few states controlling the majority of states. It's a protection to rural America, and so are the Senate rules you talked about. Slow-moving federal government was designed by our Founding Fathers. Don't destroy the greatest form of government in the world because of a lack of leadership in Washington that is now trying to duplicate the failed European economic model.
 
Wesley R. Belter
State Representative, North Dakota

 

#2:  The Electoral College isn't a way to protect small states' interest, it is a way to ensure that all states have a say in our government. I thank God our Founding Fathers created the system we have that you referred to as outdated, otherwise Los Angeles and New York City would decide who runs this country and what rules and laws the rest of us live by. A communist country can make laws and policies fast and without debate on the issue. I suggest you take a good look at North Korea before trying to change the Electoral College. I agree our government operates at a snail's pace at times, but faster isn't always better.

Respectfully,
Jeff Church - Ohio beef farmer

#3:  I listened to Thanksgiving Weekend's edition of "John's World" with much dismay.  So our system of government we have used for over 200 years is now "archaic" and we should do away with things like the electoral college?   What is wrong today with our system of government isn't the system, its the PEOPLE we send to Washington, D.C and we ALL share the blame in that since we are the ones who elect the politicians in the first place and then not take them to task for not making the hard decisions needed for our country.  Just imagine a political system where simply majorities rule on every issues...Do you think trade deals would ever be agreed upon that would benefit agriculture over labor unions (much less a group of farm state legislators being able to craft a farm bill when the vast majority of this country has very little to do with agriculture)?  I shudder to think of the relative ease "simply majorities" would have in raising taxes (include John's and my property taxes on our farm land) or installing harsh environmental controls on farming (think Chesapeake watershed or dust regulation). As someone who grew up on a family farm in Iowa and now serves as a Soldier I know how truly great this country is and how blessed we are to be in it.  True times are tough and things like the FTAs take FOREVER to pass, but what is important is that we never stop trying to live up to the ideals our founding fathers instilled in this country and remind our politicians to do what is in the best interest of the country and not themselves or their top campaign donors.  My only hope is that people will realize that EVERYONE will need to sacrifice to get our country back on track. U.S. Farm Report is my favorite farm show and I normally enjoy Mr. Phipps' take on issues, but this week I hope he didn't truly mean what he said.  Joel C. Heinzeroth - Current Army Soldier and Future Oklahoma Rancher

#4:  The “outdated electoral college” is still the best idea we have. The founding fathers did it because they knew about stuffing the ballot box, like was done by the democrat Chicago’s Mayor Daily’s “machine” for many decades and still goes on a little today. The electoral college prevents this by limiting the stuffing effect to only one state. There has been many others like Mass., etc..  I personally think we should hold national elections for all congress, right now we have far too many self interests(PAC’s) that must be ELIMINATED or we will cease to exist as an independent country. All donations to political “causes” needs to be limited to $100 per year for each registered legal voter in the USA! No more PAC’s or legal bribery. I remember when I was young and my father told me about PAC’s “donations”, I quickly flipped to him that it’s bribery and he said “basically, yep”! Forgive me if I was too young to “understand” the game, but I understand how Rome fell too! We are going the way Rome did, only in the information-age we are going far faster!  On a different note, we need to eliminate public employee unions! Public employment was to be a last resort not a lazy man/woman’s way of milking the taxpayer to death!  Good luck to us all!  Les Odgers - Arizona

                             

The Impact of Large Farms

Nov 21, 2011

***Editor's Note:  The following comments were received in response to the November 19-20, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

#1: John...just wanted to comment on your editorial in part of your Sunday November 20th show. You made a statement regarding the role of the USDA, perhaps connected with the existing farm programs. Although you need to be commended for raising the question, my thoughts about it, however does not fit the entire situation.  I do see things happening that should be looked at, but the question always before us is who should do the looking.  I personally have been involved with the NRCS part, formerly the Soil Conservation Service, preparing soil surveys mostly throughout SE Minnesota. I now serve in an elected position as a Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor for my local county, which I do voluntarily.  I was also asked to chair the Hiawatha Valley Resource and Development Council, which is a part of a series of 370 councils that were formed as a part of a program started by the former secretary of the USDA, Orville Freeman and administered under the NRCS budget. The latter part of the 2011 USDA's budget year zeroed out funding for this organization, which was a real disappointment  for me for a number of reasons.  

    What I saw with these RC&D's is a direct link between local and federal governments and the states coming in as partners to the programs offered.  The members of these various councils included locally elected soil conservation supervisors, a commissioner representative from each of the member counties and a person appointed at large from each of the counties. This past June the Obama administration issued an executive order regarding the need to work with rural America and my thought was, why wasn't there a need to refund these RC&D organizations, especially when one of the elements or responsibilities included community development.  What I find concerning to me is when much of your programming is directed to the large farms, which does rather little for help to these small communities.  I see this with the number of their store closings, but one could argue that this is not fully related to the large farms because more of the activity is directed to the larger towns. 
 
   Part of the problem that we are seeing with these large operations is the release of unused nutrients and fertility generated in the runoff to the streams and infiltration to our underlying ground water.  We already have one small community with its well having excessive levels of nitrates in them according to health standards. In places where the ethanol plants are operating, there is also considerable depletion  of our ground water to develop ethanol.  Too often, I see these large producers ignoring this situation, mainly to further their operations. 
 
   I think some of your programming should start looking at these situations more, especially when some of the evidence of their activities is well expressed in the Gulf.  I don't have any answers, but you ask for some thoughts so I thought that I would send you mine.  By the way I do enjoy your programming.  George Poch
 
#2:  Good Morning!  I just watched the Sunday morning show, and I really enjoyed the Farmall tractor story. I didn't know they had made white tractors. I also applaud your Country Church Salute. These days that kind of thing is rare. Keep up the great work!
Best Regards,
Charlie Noah
Independence MO

 

Viewers Speak: Elk Herd & Hay Costs

Nov 14, 2011

***Editor's Note:  The following comments were received in response to the November 12-13, 2011 edition of U.S. Farm Report...

#1: After watching the farm report on CBS this morning, I was curious about the costs relative to hay transportation. Consider the dehydration of hay into pellets, such as in Freemont, NE, the DEHY Company...back in 1964, I worked for that company driving truck loads of chopped alpha hay dumped into a mill. The process produced the alpha pellets which provided all the benefits of the hay without the bulk. Other forms of edible protein could make up the bulk requirement, usually there are other forms of locally grown filler to add to the pellets.  John Merryman - Ocean View, DE

#2:  You reported that Colorado has the largest elk herd in the U.S.  Did you mean the lower 48?  Surely Alaska has a larger herd than Colorado.  I believe you misspoke.  Noreen Zurek - Reed City, MI

***Editor's Note:  According to data from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Colorado does indeed lead the nation in the number of elk - details provided in this link:  http://www.rmef.org/NewsandMedia/NewsReleases/2009/ElkPopulations.htm 

 

 

Look Who's Driving the Grain Cart...

Nov 07, 2011

I have been 'Captain Combine' for years... tried running the grain cart and found you are so correct.. he is the most important and overworked person on the crew.  Patience and caution along with the ability to fill on a slope while not being able to see into the truck are the top priorites for the operator. I have had 4 or 5 cart operators running next to me over the last 30 years.. this is not a task you master in the first year or two, which adds some source of frustration and entertainment to the combine operators day. You are spot on with your asessment of the harvest dance.
Husker50
South Central Nebraska
 
 
 
#2:  My name is Barb Dennison of Cato, NY.  Yesterday my husband and I were watching U.S. Farm Report when you were discussing your "promotion" to cart operator.  It was great!  We joke with each other a lot about who has the more important job.  Well, I am the cart operator and he runs the combine.  I am always telling him how I have to keep up with the combine.  Running back and forth filling trucks.  Making sure you are always in the center when filling.  All kidding a side, we work quite well together. Anyways, we really enjoy the show.  Keep up the good work and Happy Harvesting! Barb Dennison

#3:  I enjoyed your comments this morning regarding your "promotion" to the operation of the grain cart, but I fear I must respectfully disagree.  Far from having the most important harvest job, I believe you may be perilously close to being labeled as "extraneous."  I refer you to the Kinze Mfg. Autonomy Project.  Your job may soon be taken over by a laptop computer or possibly even a smartphone.

   I would therefore like to nominate the true hero of the harvest operation, that unsung heroine who stays so much in the background that she gets taken for granted, the farm wife.  Who else in the operation of the farm would be willing to be the parts runner, prepare delicious hot meals brought to the field, fill in as occasional combine, grain cart, OR truck operator, have an encouraging word and a hug when you've had the fourth or fifth breakdown of the day, and handle all the farm business, all while juggling the kids' school and activity schedules, PTA, and keeping the house for you while you're out in the field?  I would dare to say she is seriously underpaid, except how many wives get paid at all?

   So I'll close by saying that if your wife (or daughter, or daughter-in-law, etc) has done even a few of the things listed above, consider getting her a dozen roses (or something really nice) after harvest is done.  You'll be banking up more appreciation from her than you can possibly imagine.  In the greater scheme of things, isn't she worth at least as much as that $300,000 combine you're chasing around?
 
Hope everyone is having a safe harvest season.
Kent Wagoner
Parma, Idaho
 
#4: 
Dear Mr. Phipps,
    I really enjoyed your piece on driving the grain buggy.  My husband does that for a local farm family since he retired from farm management.  The joke most places is "How much does Mary pay them to let you work?"
    I write a weekly devotional blog and the last two weeks have been on harvest.  The one posted Nov. 4 showed pictures of Bill and compared God to a combine. If you would like to read it, please go to: www.mary-marysmoments.blogspot.com
    Thank you for the excellent farm show you present.  I love that farmers are represented honestly, as business people who have to make very expensive decisions, instead of the usual old truck/chickens in the yard/housewife with dress and socks/old tractors/no modern buildings/etc that most people see in commercials or movies about farmers.
Mary Earle
North Manchester IN
 
 
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