As we look around the country, there appears not to be much to be thankful for. And, yet for the exception of parts of Texas and North Dakota, we who are involved in agriculture have much to be thankful.

The drought in the south and the flooding in the north have taken their toll on ranchers and farmers alike. And we can’t turn a blind eye to those extreme differences that have caused many to suffer at the expense of those that have benefited from the heat and water. As unfair as it all seems, there is actually enough agricultural wealth to keep every American farmer afloat.


Though the idea of neighbor helping neighbor is as foreign to some as it is to our congressmen in Washington.


Every time this kind of foolish thinking is mentioned, it’s “shot down” as being a form of social conservatism. How about it being referred to as a form of Christianity? Actually capitalism is what has made our country great, but it was never intended to be at the expense of the down trodden.


There is a difference between those that have failed at the hands of their own discretion, and those that are a victim of circumstances completely out of their control. Isn’t this where government should step in with discretionary spending to help; instead of continuing with entitlement programs that seem to only help the rich get richer? This is the philosophy of the liberal extremists that seem to not want to take personal responsibility for anything.


If Congress and the White House can’t get along in a neighborly fashion, how is it probable that we would expect the rest of the country to act neighborly towards one another? There are actually cases where “gestures of giving” are happening everyday. Hay is being shipped south — free gratuitous, and neighbors are hiring neighbors where it is to wet to attempt to plant a crop. But these are the exceptions rather than the rule. You might ask yourself where you stack up in this season of Thanksgiving.


The neighborly thing is more prevalent than you might imagine, so why is it so difficult for Washington to get it right? Are they so political, self-serving, and dishonest that they can’t see beyond their own self-serving interests?


Most of the agricultural government programs are designed to entice the corrupt, not the farmer or rancher that is down on his luck and needs some help. For as many people who need help, there are just as many or more that are taking unfair advantage of the available ag programs. There are those that have mudded in just enough acres to qualify for disaster subsidy, and those that have culled their herds of the poorest producers in order to qualify for premium priced subsidy payments. There are so many loop-holes in our government entitlement programs that only the wealthiest of the wealthy can afford to take advantage of them. Only those that can afford a business staff inclusive of accountants and lawyers can take advantage of all the government hand-outs.


If Washington is trying to figure out how to spend less money maybe they should start with their entitlement programs. If there is this much waste in agriculture, imagine how much there must be in big business, especially the gas and oil industry. Most of the “government gifts” have only made things worse. Propping up ethanol is a good example, as it is an industry that is doomed to fail. The billions of dollars from Washington have only been a charade of false security that will eventually destroy more investors than it will help. This infinite wisdom of Washington caused more hardship for livestock producers than it should have. When the cost of production becomes higher than the original cost of the animal, Washington hasn’t done much to help!


If a farm or ranch business model is centered around the programs of government, then we are no longer in control of our own destiny. We’re farming the mailbox more than we are the land. When government payments are bigger than our marketing proceeds, we are simply becoming so dependent that we have lost our independence.


It’s time to get agriculture working competitively again and stand on its own mandated referendums; for which government has to comply instead of the other way around.  Washington need not be our care taker, nor do we have to accept our current circumstances. We’ll take care of ourselves! Unlike farmers and ranchers who don’t have much of a title, but like what they do, politicians seem to want the title, but don’t know how to do the job. Let’s put ‘em down on the farm to see what it’s like to have to make economical, life changing decisions every day!


If we stand up and fight, you and I can be the source of the solutions that will not only make us proud to be an American, but even prouder to be America’s source of food!


Give thanks that we may be looking to a greater tomorrow. The test for thankfulness is not what you have to be thankful for, but whether anyone else has reason to be thankful that you are here.


Ken E. Knight is the author of the “Knightro Report”, a nationally syndicated livestock-marketing column, which is featured in this publication on a regular basis. Mr. Knight is a graduate of North Dakota State University, with a major BS Degree in Meat and Animal Science and a minor in Communications. In addition to being a professional auctioneer, public speaker and livestock judge, he brings many years of corporate level meat and livestock market management and expertise to the industry for which he now serves as an independent voice of shared knowledge and experience.


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For more in-depth information regarding the topics that have been touched upon in this report, Knightro conducts livestock marketing seminars on a regular basis. To schedule a seminar, auction, judging, or speaking engagement, please contact Ken Knight, Knightro, W11911 County Road FF,  River  Falls,  WI 54022,  phone  toll free 1-877-KNIGTRO, phone 715-262-8480,  fax 715-262-8480, e-mail [email protected]; or contact the Midwest Farm & Livestock Directory at [email protected]

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