Family Farms

August 5, 2010

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Wal-Mart Stores, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Here I am on the family farm in Illinois. The weather has been absolutely perfect. Hasn’t been that way most of the year. We still have yellow spots in our corn fields where it has been too wet. It is obvious that all of the water has resulted in a loss of nitrogen and our yield will suffer some. Still, I expect to harvest an acceptable crop – perhaps about as good as last year. You will recall that year was a very difficult year. Let’s hope we’re not still picking corn come Christmas this year.

On an encouraging note, our soybeans look terrific. Our pigs are happy and healthy. Their self esteem is off the chart. All of us are happier if we feel that we are appreciated. And these high hog prices are just what it takes to move that happy hog needle.

Being on the farm affords the opportunity to meet and talk to neighbors and farmer friends. Just drive up and down the road. Look at the fields of corn and soybeans. The wheat has been harvested already. Cattle grazing. You can see some pigs in the field. These are family farms. Some have been in the families for generations. The truth is 95 percent of our farms are family businesses. You wouldn’t know that from reading the big city newspapers. They would lead you to believe that all of our farms are owned and operated by big corporations.

That kind of false information diminishes the support for the farm business as we know it today. Our citizens are easily influenced by such misleading information. Think about it. Turn back the calendar just 50 years and almost everyone – even in the city – had some family farm connection. Not the case today. In fact, every new generation is further removed from rural America. Farms are bigger today. We can produce more with less – less land, less energy, less labor, and the food costs less money. It has been an amazing transformation – freeing up millions of farm workers to do other productive work – like building the internet. Agriculture, like most other industries, has had to change to remain competitive.

There are those that would like for us to go back to low yield inefficient agriculture of yesterday.

We’re not going there.

Until next week I am John block down on the farm.