Re: Help Please@ Wheaties:Farmer 5,Tiger Wood

From: Alex McGregor (waldenfarm@sprintmail.com)
Date: Sat Jan 22 2000 - 11:34:48 EST


Laura,

Thanks for saying this for us! I'm a SE farmer, not Midwest, but the reality is
the same. I teach in the winter (college, special topics Biology) and my wife
works as a massage therapist full time. All this so we can farm.

It's a reality today that most farmers have to have off farm jobs to be able to
afford to farm. We farm because that's our calling. And we're willing to do
what's necessary to be able to farm. I doubt that there are many agency and
corporate people out there that would work another job to support their families
to be able to hold their present jobs and be paid very little for it.

And it doesn't make any sense to grow wheat and buy Wheaties or corn and Buy Corn
Flakes, but that's what USDA and everyone else tells us to do. Farmers are
supposed to live like city folks- houses, cars, clothes, food... Just look at the
propaganda that's put out. We've been told that, if we don't, we'll be considered
rubes and ignorant rustics.

Just another hick,
Alex

"Laura K. Paine" wrote:

> Dear Donna and others,
>
> I've got to protest your characterization of Midwestern farmers. Having
> grown up in Illinois and having worked with farmers here in Wisconsin for a
> number of years, I know of no farmers, grain or livestock that have the
> easy, relaxed life you describe. If it were that easy, we'd all be
> flocking to farming as a profession, right?
>
> Obviously, there are many fewer mixed livestock and crop farms and fewer
> gardens on farms these days, but then, far fewer farmers are able to earn a
> reasonable living from their farming and many spouses must, or wish to,
> work off-farm (think about who traditionally does the gardening and food
> preservation).
>
> Somehow we think that, because a person farms, they should be
> self-sufficient. Many of the farm families I know have very busy,
> two-career lives, with active, busy kids. Food processing and preservation
> is very time consuming. If farmers don't garden or raise livestock, it's
> not because they're lazy. They've simply budgeted their limited time to
> those things that are most important to them.
>
> Kindest regards,
>
> Laura
>
> At 07:18 AM 1/22/2000 -0600, you wrote:
> >Good question and the same one I asked when I moved to Illinois 7 years ago.
> >The farmers work long hours in the field twice a year for 6-8 week periods.
> >For a month prior to these events they work on their machines to get them
> >ready.
> >
> >If they do not have a day job they spend the rest of the time-every
> >morning-at the local cafe shooting the bull. Gardening and family livestock
> >are too much work and the garden looks ratty anyway by August.
> >
> >The common midwest farmer is as detached from his food source as an
> >urbanite.
> >
> >Donna Fezler
> >GCR
> >Jacksonville, IL
> >
> >http://www.rhealiving.com
> >
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: owner-sanet-mg@ces.ncsu.edu [mailto:owner-sanet-mg@ces.ncsu.edu]On
> >Behalf Of Roberto Verzola
> >Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2000 10:10 AM
> >To: gwg2@cornell.edu
> >Subject: Re: RE: Help Please@ Wheaties:Farmer 5,Tiger Wood
> >
> >
> > >at the current price, the net is probably negative. Thus, farm families
> > >growing corn would starve to death if they depended on growing corn to
> >feed
> > >themselves. If they are eating, it is probably because of subsidies from
> > >the government, off-farm work, and depletion of capital, rather than the
> > >corn they produce.
> >
> >Am I missing anything? Why don't they just set aside a portion of the
> >land to plant or grow whatever they need to eat, and use only the rest
> >of the land for their cash crop? Then they don't have to starve to
> >death. More than that, they will find themselves in a better
> >negotiating position (because they won't go hungry if they won't sell
> >at a loss).
> >
> >Roberto Verzola
> >
> >
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> Laura Paine
> Crops and Soils Agent
> Columbia County Agriculture Center
> 120 West Conant Street
> PO Box 567
> Portage, WI 53901-0567
> 608/742-9680
> FAX: 608/742-9862
> laura.paine@ces.uwex.edu
>
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