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Farmer shares the real story

Recently I had the opportunity to read the Feb. 27, 2014, edition of the Echo Journal. I was, to say the least, more than disappointed to read the article by your columnist, Pete Abler, where he said, “We just passed a farm bill to pay some farmers for not growing any crops. I think that’s because they are trying to stabilize prices of certain commodities.”

So why does this farmer, with 42 years of experience, object to Abler’s comment? First of all, I’ve been led to believe that some people actually believe what they read in a newspaper. Thus, they should be provided with the truth. And Abler is at least two decades beyond reality. The last time the U.S. farm bill paid farmers to not grow crops was in the 1980s!

But, hey, perpetuate the myth when you have an ax to grind. Or just do it out of ignorance because you know the audience likes to hear it. So easy to bellyache, on a full stomach.

Abler is just one columnist, but what is the impact when one person spews a lie? Uninformed people perpetuate it.

Why call it a farm bill when about 85 percent of the dollars go to welfare through the food stamp program? About 15 percent of the current measure goes to farmers through conservation programs and crop insurance programs. Direct payments, which were based on recent cropping history, not prices, have been eliminated. As a farmer, I think that is a good thing. We need stability.

We’ve had a few years of good commodity prices (at the expense of livestock farmers), but we know they don’t last. Some people might still think we get $8/bushel for corn (we didn’t), but I had many years of selling corn for under $2.

The public is fickle and always looking for a scapegoat. So easy to call us “dumb farmers,” make stupid jokes about planting a tree by the mailbox so we can sit in the shade, waiting for the next check.

As dairy farmers for 30 years, we worked seven days a week, our kids doing barn chores since second grade (how many of your kids do chores?). We averaged one day off per year and hired help to operate the farm in our absence.

Meanwhile, the public generally works a five-day week and gets paid vacation.

Am I bitter? No! Just tired of the lies put out by people who should be credible, and read by the gullible. After all, shouldn’t a columnist be credible? Doesn’t it reflect on the publication?

Jim Schreifels,


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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