I don’t pick it or grow it, weed it or water it, spray it or till it. I don’t stay up nights to make sure the wind machines and water are running to keep it from freezing. I don’t worry about the rain during the spring bloom or the late-summer harvest. I don’t stress over whether to buy millions of dollars of insurance to cover crop damage from thunderstorms and hail. I don’t worry about the fluctuations of feed prices and milk prices, or even about the availability of bees to pollinate my orchards.
As an American consumer I, like all other American consumers, take for granted that my grocery store shelves will be stocked with ample supplies of safe and healthy food produced here in the United States. My only concern when I peruse the bins of fruits and vegetables in the store is the source of my broccoli, apples or melons (did American farmers grow them or were they imported from foreign countries?). I’m appreciative of labeling laws that make it so I can make an educated choice of whether to buy fruit that was grown in Chile or in the United States.
What I do worry about is my country’s ability to sovereignly govern itself. I worry that my country is losing its sovereignty through policies that believe we’re better off buying oil from foreign nations than mining our own domestic sources of oil; I also worry that these same mental midgets and their political supporters will someday soon regulate the American farmer out of existence and force us to go begging for food from third-world nations. The irony is that some of these same political supporters are the very farmers that right now feed this nation.
I know many farmers. I’ve worked closely with farmers as a journalist and even worked with them for a period of time to promote American agriculture. They appear to be hard working and honest people. They prefer the farm to stuffy meetings and they would much rather do what it takes to produce quality agricultural commodities than have to wade through piles of regulations that stifle productivity and cut profits.
So why do farmers continue to support politicians who regularly vote to cut their water supplies, take their land, and regulate their ability to do business because some well-paid whiner claims that growing the food that feeds the nation isn’t as important as some bug, fish, mammal or reptile?
Today the California Farm Bureau Federation announced its support for Carly Fiorina for US Senate to replace Barbara Boxer. While I’m not arguing that Boxer doesn’t need to be sent out to pasture herself, the choice of Fiorina is certainly puzzling, given her reluctance to really come out and tell the voters what she stands for. What we do know about her is she’s closely tied with Arizona Senator John McCain, who we all know would run from his own shadow if it appeared to his right. That alliance alone makes me as a voter suspicious of her and much more likely to vote for one of the other Republican candidates for US Senate.
I’ve long been puzzled by agriculture’s decisions to financially support Liberal politicians, then a year or two later when those same Liberals vote to shut off water supplies or for more stringent rules to the Endangered Species Act, or for some other anti-business, anti-farming piece of legislation, they complain as if that vote came as a complete shock and surprise.
Maybe it’s because farmers are coy and they know that Liberal politicians like to spend money that’s not theirs to buy favors that will help them during their reelection campaigns, and maybe, if farmers don’t squirm too much and agree to pay ample amounts of protection money for the reelection campaigns of these same politicians, then maybe a well-placed farmer might be awarded with a political appointment or some other financial stocking stuffer.
Meanwhile, America’s ability to be agriculturally self-sufficient suffers and it becomes more necessary for us to import food from nations that are a military coup away from deciding that the United States is not a favored trading partner anymore and should pay much more if we want to buy the food they produce.
We know what it’s like to be held hostage by the price of a barrel of oil that’s set by a cartel that doesn’t have America’s best interest in mind when it meets in secret. Imagine a world where similar tyrants gather in seclusion to decide who gets to buy the food supply they control and how much that food will cost. Sadly, we appear to be on the slippery slope to that end, and the announcement by California’s leading farm organization to support another Liberal politician (albeit one with an “R” behind her name) is just that much more grease on the slide.