Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Wealthy Farmers"

This past week I have heard two different times the term "wealthy farmers"mentioned. The first was our very own President. He wanted to cut payments to "wealthy farmers". The second was Bill Maher talking about the corn lobby and "wealthy farmers". I grew up the son of a farmer and my family and I farm now, and we are far from wealthy.

So Mr. President and Mr. Maher (both of whom are much, much more wealthy than any farmer I know) let me tell you about the life of privilege I grew up in and am raising my kids in. My parents scrimped and saved for everything they have and it took a lifetime of hard work. They built their farm during the crisis of the 80s when many of our neighbors went broke. Not because of farm payments, but because they knew how to not spend more than they made (Mr. President that is a lesson you should learn).

My sister and I may not have had designer clothes, new vehicles or the latest toy but we did learn the value of hard work and the love of family. We learned to appreciate the blessings we had been given and not worry about things we did not have. We learned to appreciate the meaning of a gift and not the value. Christmas and birthdays were often simple, practical gifts, not exactly the extravagance of the wealth you think exists.

Now my children have learned the value of hard earned money and the satisfaction of a job well done. They understand having a job you love and not working to get rich. Mr. Maher, yes we do produce corn, but that is often a break-even proposition at best. We take pride in feeding a world with an ever growing population and producing ethanol to power America. We don't do this for money but out of a sense of duty to our fellow man and a love for the land.

So I guess on second inspection, maybe we are "wealthy farmers" although I suspect not in the same way many of the Washington and L.A. elite think. We are wealthy in terms of integrity, love of family and a love for our country. While our bank account may not indicate any great wealth. Farmers are among the wealthiest people I know, just not because of those government subsidies.

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