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A late salute to America’s farmers

National Ag Day reminds of our dependence

My apologies. I’m about two days late in mentioning National Ag Day. It was yesterday. I didn’t forget, I just got caught up in a meeting, a long drive and a late dinner. Here are my excuses for not getting to it earlier: Family emergency, long travel days, deadlines.

As I said, excuses, no good reasons. I have talked with farmers over the past three days, and I think I mentioned several times that I appreciate what they do.  I also appreciate that they let me ask them questions about their farms and ranches—and I am truly thankful that they answer.

I heard a farmer speak yesterday at the meeting I attended. He talked about how challenging his job is—drought, flood, wind, low prices, high costs—and then mentioned how much he loved it. I get that a lot. Even in years like this when prices at the beginning of the season show little potential for a profitable year—even if they make good crops—they mention that they would not be happy doing anything else.

I’ve thought a lot in the past two weeks about the farmers and ranchers up in the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas and northwest Oklahoma who lost rangeland and thousands of cattle to devastating wildfires. I’ve thought a lot about the folks who died trying to save their animals.

I can’t imagine the pain their family and friends are suffering.

I do know that most will not quit; most will regroup the best they can and find a way to start over.

I don’t how those of us who depend on farmers and ranchers to feed and clothe us can adequately think them for what they do. I can make a suggestion. Call your legislators and tell them not to cut the ag budget. It’s a hard time in farm country—prices are low—they need a decent safety net. After all, their lifeline is ours, too.

 

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