Animal Rights, Energy Ideas and "Hog" Farmers

Published on: 11:00AM Jul 07, 2010
Dear John (I've always wanted to send a "Dear John" letter):
   In regard to the meeting of the minds of HSUS/OFB, I offer this comment from an 83-year-old guy raised on a mixed farming Macon County, Ill., farm who worked about 20 years in farm related equipment design and testing. IMHO, the agreeing of animal rights advocates and animal growers is a step toward returning to the humane treatment of animals that existed when most growers were small family farmers.
   Although I have no firm data to support my belief, as a boy on the farm, my perception was that all farmers who raised animals either for work or for food tried to treat them humanely. Nothing was more upsetting to most farm families than to have a neighbor who was guilty of an animal abuse situation. On my uncle's farm and my grandfather's farm, animals were treated humanely by the families and no one was allowed to abuse their animals, even through the rites of slaughter.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Don Hildebrand

John's Response:
   I think you have valid points. I also think we can make great strides toward better animal care with minimal economic loss. This could be a first step, but when you read the agreement it is not pretty. Basically, like all political solutions they shoved the problem down the road for 10-15 years.
   Still, I commend the effort and support their results. Thanks for watching.

    Worked on farms when I was a kid, and have always been into it as a novice. Your program is my Sunday morning coffee. Got a couple of questions I haven't seen addressed.
    Back in the '70s during the coffee and sugar shortage, a law was passed by Nader that you couldn't raise the price on commodities that were bought and stored before the shortage, to stop consumer gouging. Now oil is being traded as a commodity -- why is this not the rule? Couldn't get an answer out of Ralph. Why aren't farmers running hydro generators off the pumpout on their irrigation pumps, to run their own electricity? Why aren't electric vehicles running a generator to charge their own system? Why do they have to be plugged in to charge? Just seems simple to me. Enjoy your program.
Rick Salyer, real hot in Cibola, Ariz.

   This is the first time I've ever responded to a TV farm report, but today's statement on the program was more than a little shortsighted. The comment was, "I would like to challenge farmers to replace driving the gas guzzling trucks for a more economic truck."
   Obviously this person has not needed to go get his bags of seed or bagged fertilizer or haul hay, and I could go on and on. A little S-10 wouldn't cut it. If Dodge, GMC, Cheverolet, etc., would get with the program and make more fuel economy vehicles like modern technology should be able to do, farmers would have the type of vehicles they need to get their work done. I would like to see big corporate businessmen come out and try to make a living on today's farm with high gas, fertilizer and seed prices with today's low milk prices. When milk was down to $9 a hundredweight, it just about did local farmers in. I'm sorry, but your comment didn't set well with me. We don't squander our money. Repairs to our farm equipment takes almost everything we have.
Alice Schulte

   I'm relatively new to RFD-TV and your program (couple years), but I wanted to comment on a theory of mine passed down from the old people (my parents). 
   In Maryland, I was raised on a 275-acre dairy farm and we were sharecroppers. The start of the day was 6 a.m. before school, and when we got home from school we did it all over again after homework. Our 51-cow stable had no pipeline milkers. Ours was Surge 5-gallon that went under the cow and then dumped. From the time I was old enough to carry a bucket half full to the bulk tank, that was my start in dairy. Cleaning out the barn was really great too. The tractor drove between the cows and we loaded the manure spreader with a shovel. Then there was the first learned drive of our Oliver 77. I looked under the steering wheel and yelled to my big brother to stop loading the wire tie bales and turn the tractor around. And then the old John Deere wire tie baler would need a screwdriver and hammer to get the knots out of the knotter. I was small enough -- that was my job. Riding the two-row corn planter without a cylinder pulling the handle back at the end of the row and planting 75 acres at a time was real fun. Then picking corn in the fall was always a chore chiller. Dad would run the two-row John Deere A and I would be on the back of the wagon leveling the pile off to get a bigger load to shovel off at the corn crib elevator. 
   Now these are just a few things that I remember of days past. Now all you hear about is the crops didn't get in or did they get them off in time. And most of all, nowadays some farmers take off weekends and even go to church. I had little or no time, as did my family of four brothers, to have free time. All of those giant tractors in the shop just because of a little rain out west. We'd get hung up in the field and we'd go get the other tractor and pull it out and keep going. Thousands and thousands of acres just seems a little beyond their means. I guess what I'm saying is just walk a mile in the old times and figure out where being excessive leads today. If you can't get it in, then it's best lettin' it go at that, because you'll never get it out in the fall no matter how big your equipment is! Dad used to call them "hog" farmers -- living beyond their means.
Just a comment from an ol' dirt farmer in Maryland