20 August 2017 - No Politics in Agriculture? Think Again!

After reading through the e-mails responding to my Samuelson Sez a few weeks ago that some of you decided were political. They weren’t political on my part, but I have learned over my decades in the broadcasting business that people often hear what they want to hear, not what is actually said.

After going through those e-mails that said - “Orion, you are dumber than a rock. You know about agriculture so stay out of politics,” I was surprised by several e-mails from people who made their criticism (and taught me some new bad words I hadn’t heard before) and then said - “Agriculture and politics do not mix, there is no such thing as politics in agriculture.”

Well, now, wait a minute . . . you will, indeed, find politics in the world of agriculture. This year is a prime example, as once again, we are charged with writing a new Farm Bill. Right now the Secretary of Agriculture as well as the Republican and Democratic leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are holding listening sessions around the country to hear what you want to see in the new Farm Bill. Go and share your feelings, briefly and politely.

At the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL on August 30th, Secretary Perdue will hold one of those sessions, and that is where you need to make your feelings known. It will have far more impact than your daily discussions at the local coffee shop in your community.

As producers of food, fiber and energy, you need to be involved in the political world; that is how our system works. And as the agricultural community gets smaller in this country, our political voice gets smaller, and I wonder how much longer we will even be able to write a new Farm Bill.

We live in an international political world and that is why it is even more important for all of us to be involved. No politics in agriculture? How about immigration, environmental regulations, trade agreements, national security, and tax reform, including estate tax reform?

Now, back to the people who said - “ . . . there are no politics in Agriculture”. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth, so let your feelings be known and as I said earlier, ‘briefly and politely’. When you communicate in anger, you only put heat on the subject, no light.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.