American Hero

December 9, 2021

December 9, 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now today’s commentary-

Senator Bob Dole, after 98 years of service to his country, died December 5 th at age 98. There have been many articles written about his service in the military, service injuries in World War II, and as Senator from Kansas. He was a great American.

I would not have ever been selected as US Secretary of Agriculture for President Reagan if not
for Bob Dole. There I was sitting at my desk as Illinois State Director of Agriculture in
December 1981. I picked up the Wall Street Journal and started reading. Senator Dole had been
interviewed and he offered a list of 10 individuals that he said should be considered for President
Reagan’s Secretary of Agriculture. My name was on the list. I could not believe it, but I called
the Senator’s office in Washington and his secretary scheduled me to come to D.C. and meet
with the Senator. We had never met before I flew to Washington. We had a good discussion, and
I headed back to Illinois. At this time, little did I know, but after our meeting Senator Dole
prepared a map listing all the cabinet members President Reagan had chosen so far. Secretary of
Agriculture was not on the map. All the other selections were from the East Coast and West

Senator Dole asked President-Elect Reagan to consider John Block – farmer from the Heartland, as Secretary of Agriculture. Two days later I received an invitation from President Reagan to fly to California and meet with him. I went to his home in Pacific Palisades, California. The President had 3 staff officials with him. After 2 hours I returned to my hotel. The phone rang, and President Reagan asked, “will you serve as my Secretary of Agriculture?” I said I will be proud to serve. I am so grateful. Thank you, Senator Bob Dole.

Turn to another issue of the day. During Obama’s Presidency the EPA issued a very restrictive
water rule that farmers hated. When Donald Trump was elected, he changed it. Now the Biden
Administration published a new EPA rule defining “Waters of the US.” This new rule seeks to
trash Donald Trump’s rule and also President Obama’s rule. We will go back to the rule that we
lived by on the farm for more than 30 years. What a relief. Farmers don’t need the Federal
government telling us how to manage every wetland on our farms. This EPA proposal still must
go through a period of review. We shall see.

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