I generally avoid blogging political matters as my readers are fully capable of making their minds up without another amateur pundit suggesting he knows more than they do. That being said, I reserve the right to take shots at the inherent insanity of today’s political process, as evidenced by the dance of death the Democrats are currently engaged in. At some point, candidate Bloomberg has suggested the occupation of farming was an exercise in simplicity, requiring little more than the ability to drop a seed into a hole, step back and watch a plant grow. I have enjoyed a long career separating pompous jackasses from ordinary people and cannot pass on this opportunity to do so again. Today, we are going to talk about “farming” as I pen a rebuttal to Mr. Bloomberg’s asinine assertion.
I spent many of my younger years on a small farm in South Carolina where one of the smartest gentlemen that I have ever known raised a modest crop of cotton and tobacco. My grandfather, Mr. Ernest C. Cooke, was a hard working, temperate man, who possessed a number of skills necessary to the production of a cash crop. Those days, farming was an intensely laborious business with tobacco set out by hand and both tobacco and cotton cropped by hand. Mr. Cooke, as he was known, managed a sizable number of field hands that required the utmost in interpersonal skill and a refined sense of fair play. He was also a keen observer of market conditions, a mechanic, carpenter and amateur agronomist with an exceptional working knowledge of meteorology. His skill set is in high demand today, as some things never change.
Mr. Bloomberg has parlayed exceptional business skill into a fortune and here we must give him credit. Along with prodigious wealth he has developed an air of superiority that apparently gives him license to speak about matters that he knows less about than a corner post. Farming is one of those matters. I spent several years of vacations and weekends on Sharon’s family farm, a row crop operation producing mostly soybeans, wheat and corn. If you like big words, this type of farming is referred to as arable as opposed to pastoral or mixed. The USDA classified this farm as a small farm, under 1,421 acres. Today in America, in spite of the corporate acquisition of farms, 88% of our farms are still classified as small farms. I have never worked harder, not at planting and harvesting, which will wear you out, but in the allied skills of market analysis, mechanics, time management, seed science, the vagaries of weather analysis and risk management. To this mix, you are required to have a working knowledge of chemical application and suitability, soil analysis and genetics. These skills are necessary if you are to reap between 1k and 250K a year or……maybe have to rely on crop insurance to feed your family. Farming is a family business, with farm wives and children playing an essential role in their incessant support of the man or woman on the combine. Some of the finest meals that I have ever enjoyed were served on the tailgate of a truck.
If you are a farmer or rancher that is in the pastoral business, it is necessary to add even more knowledge to the mix noted above, with veterinary science, pasture rotation and management and a healthy amount of compassion for the critters you are responsible for. You must understand the forage sciences, genetics, animal husbandry and have a willingness to forgo a nights sleep in sub freezing temperatures to tend to your charges. Farming is a high asset business with the cost of land and equipment unbelievably high in relation to the return on your investment. Ranchers, like my good friend Marvin Proctor, the owner of the Triple P cattle ranch, are among the hardest working folks on planet earth.
Mr. Bloomberg might be surprised that successful farmers have been relying on a tried and proven concept that fighter pilots use; the OODA loop.They observe, orient, decide and act every day the Master gives them. They do this to manage our crops, orchards, vineyards, poultry and livestock operations all under the guise of “Farming”. Farmers do not take a can of corn or a prime midwestern cut of beef for granted, as they have the intimate knowledge of just how that fare made it to your table.
In closing, I will stifle the urge to display a prominent middle finger to the pompous excuse for a Presidential candidate that Mr. Bloomberg represents. I will always place my lot with the hard working men and women who are our nations farmers. Denim and manure never smelled better…….
Have a great weekend!