There’s an old saying that suggests that farmers wear baseball caps with the brim shaped like a mail-box, because they spend more time with their head in the mail-box than they do in the field. This could be true, but I believe it’s just more about more handouts.

You see, with every six digit check they write to one of their suppliers, they get at least, a nice new cap that proudly bears the company logo. Increase the size of the check, and they might even throw in a jacket that is a walking billboard.

The reason most farmers walk around with holes in their shoes, is because suppliers  seem to draw the line there.

Draw a line in the sand — between that of being a frugal buyer and that of wearing a nice new cap and jacket —  and the company logo wins every time.

We all know someone that fits this description. You can spot ’em at the local coffee shop, at the football game, or sometimes even in church.  Considering that’s all they have to show for such a big investment, I guess it’s not too high a price to pay.

But  for  we the  taxpayers, what’s wrong with this picture? We’re not only subsidizing many who don’t need it, but indirectly we’re subsidizing the seed corn company,  the fertilizer company, the equipment dealer, and every other supplier of goods and services that gets plugged into the needs of the farmer.  It’s too high a price to pay, when so much of the middleman gets such a big bite of the check.

Legitimate costs are one thing, but when the discretionary spending gets to be more about the frills than it does about the necessities of running the ranch, it just may be time to go bare-footed or wear a less distinctive cap.

Maybe I’m just a little envious of those who get to farm the mailbox. All I get is bills and invitations to donate to the next election.

But life is all about choices, little did I know fifty years ago that Uncle Sam was going to be so generous with your money. Had I known, I probably would have stayed in North Dakota to reap the benefit of a bountiful harvest and a mail box full of government checks. Then again, I would have missed this journey of life that has paid greater dividends of the heart, than a mailbox full of unearned payments from Uncle Sam.

Unbridled Memories

"PONY TALES by" Ponty is written by Ken E. Knight, the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in the "Farm And Livestock Directory" every month.