Phipps: Why "The Farmer Across the Road" Will Get "Serious Attention"

November 14, 2016 08:26 AM

I waited to record this John’s World until Wednesday morning for obvious reasons. As surprised and dismayed as I am about the outcome, like engineers tend to do, I had at least given a little thought to what would be the impact on my farm should Mr. Trump win. It’s not much consolation, but it keeps me from a lot of useless circular thinking.

It is ironic that we had just completed delicate negotiations with landowners for rents for next year and beyond. And I can’t remember a more intense and anxiety-laden exercise in my career.

As cash rents become more transparent and operators from far away increase the competition, this process was even more harrowing that my fretting about the voting. And it does bring up one salient point about what is really mission critical for our farm.

While the elections will have very real impact on farmers, perhaps even enormously so, our unrelenting challenge hasn’t really changed since yesterday: we have to compete somehow with formidable competition to stay in business.

Since government policy affects all of us pretty much the same, nothing that happens in the White House or Congress will determine the course of our future as much as that constant local struggle.

Looking to Washington for economic security has always been a questionable strategy, but I can see growing pressure for farm program changes when the new administration takes office.

I frankly have no idea how such pleas will be received, but getting distracted by that undoubtedly rowdy debate may use up more brain time than it deserves. Nothing away from our farm will be more important than finding a way to keep up with competitors who seem to be playing above the rim compared to me.

So while I will continue to puzzle over how President-elect Trump’s actions will play out on our farm, it is the farmer across the road that will attract my most serious attention.

Watch John's World every weekend on U.S. Farm Report. Check out his blog here.


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