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Dr. Farmer Expresses Appreciation For Rural Life

Rural folks understand and appreciate community life. Not only does it take a village to raise a child, it takes a village to sustain people and families. A village contributes to a high quality of life. People pitch in to give support and leadership in order for vital community functions to continue to exist. The importance of community with its institutions, celebrations and traditions helps define who people are and what they stand for. They cherish a common history and look forward with hope to a future together. They understand and support community events and traditions that make a community a community. Rural leaders.  I stand in awe of community-minded local leaders who are unselfish, visionary, inclusive and skillful at organizing themselves. They have a gift of social and political skills to balance the interests of those who depend on each other over a lifetime. They trust each other. They cooperate. They put in long hours behind the scenes. Their example of civic responsibility inspires subsequent generations of leaders who know how to work together for the good of the whole. Rural leaders cut through obstacles and red tape with a “can do” attitude. In the process, they enjoy light-hearted fun, friendships and camaraderie. They do it because it needs to be done and their hands are needed. They are the glue, the vision and the life-blood for the...

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Is the bag half-full, or half-empty?

Download Related File Does the old “principled” adage about the glass being half-empty or half-full have as much application to groceries as it does about attitude? In-spite of those that took umbrage with me after reading my last column, I believe it does… Is the bag half-full, or half-empty?  (Groceries, that is.) Does the old “principled” adage about the glass being half-empty or half-full have as much application to groceries as it does about attitude? In-spite of those that took umbrage with me after reading my last column, I believe it does. Commodity prices are still high and there is uncertainty about a late spring and forecasted growing conditions. But the argument about high commodity prices having much affect on our grocery bill, still doesn’t hold much water; especially pre-packaged, fabricated product. As pointed out in my last article, meat is still the exception. Livestock producers don’t have the luxury of pseudo economics. The price of feed is still his biggest expenditure. The ratio of grain input in his cost of production is totally upside-down in comparison to that of producing a box of corn flakes. Consumers should be more concerned about things like the drought in Texas cattle country, and high grain prices forcing livestock producers out of business. The pennies involved in the cost of a bag of groceries are inconsequential compared to that of the farmers...

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Is The Glass Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

My daughter (Pam) and I were sitting in the Doctor’s office waiting for her name to be called. As we sat there visiting, we made a point of acknowledging the gentleman sitting next to us. He was a gregarious sort of guy that seemed to have more than a passing interest in our conversation. We were commenting on a magazine article that was focused on “Is the glass half-empty or half-full?”. He had a unique take on the concept and didn’t hesitate to expound upon his theory. He was quick to point out that if you ever look at the glass as half-empty, you may as well as haven’t even looked, as you will see no hope. A half-full glass would give no more hope than one that is empty. And if your perception of fullness is based on an illusion, it will crash on the emptiness of reality. Taken to another level, it has since helped to explain the trouble I got into when I was a little boy – sent to get a bag of groceries. The bag was half-full, half-empty, full, and empty – all in the same trip. The trip to the grocery store was most unique, as part of our farm was located in the city limits. This wasn’t a very big town, and my Dad (Harland) was mayor. So it wasn’t like walking...

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Are people just lazy these days?

The unemployment rate in this country is officially almost 10%, and is probably double that if you count all the folks that have just flat-out “quit looking”. Yet, I so often hear from small business owners that they simply cannot find anyone willing to work.  It seems that nobody (meaning the younger people) want to work in the service industries – and the excuses – to quote a dear friend, would make a dog laugh! Here are some examples: “I would have to work too hard!” “The jobs don’t pay enough to make it worthwhile” “I would get dirty!” “The job is too hard – you have to lift stuff!” “I’d have to get up too early in the morning!” “I wouldn’t have time to hang out at the pool with my friends! “They (the boss) won’t let me use my cell phone even for texting while I work. I have to put it in my locker or leave it at home!” Good Grief! Have we actually taught our young people that they are too good or too proud to get their hands dirty and earn a day’s wages? I grew up in a small town of about 800 souls along a tourist corridor to the Badlands, Black Hills, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton park systems, and almost every kid in town over the age of 10 or...

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The New Estate Tax

Dear Michael: Recently, you talked about using grain, grain contracts, livestock as a part of what might be considered ‘non-farm’ assets. However, if something should happen to us, our son would need to use these so that he wouldn’t have to borrow so much money against his operating costs. After all, he helped us put these assets aside… Dear Michael: Recently, you talked about using grain, grain contracts, livestock as a part of what might be considered ‘non-farm’ assets. However, if something should happen to us, our son would need to use these so that he wouldn’t have to borrow so much money against his operating costs. After all, he helped us put these assets aside – how do we tell him we want to use these assets to go to his non-farming siblings? – Grains Held. Dear Grains: Over the last decade, farming has gone through an evolution of sorts – and whether or not it’s temporary or permanent remains to be seen. This will be especially true this year with the late planting season. If the late planting – or no planting – leads to higher values on farm commodities this coming fall and winter, there are plenty of farms with enough set aside commodities to make more money on the grain they’ve held then what they would have done farming. I have clients who make two...

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