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3/21/2005

Agriculture Day

I’m not always up to date on goin’s on around the state of Kansas. Driving in to Ellsworth today the announcer on the radio informed me that today, March 21, 2005, is Kansas Agricultural Day. Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky has taken the opportunity to invite all Kansans to join the state’s agricultural groups and Governor Kathleen Sebelius in celebrating Kansas Agriculture Day at the capitol building in Topeka.  
 
Agriculture is, of course, the leading industry in the Sunflower State.  
To mark the event, Governor Sebelius will sign a proclamation declaring March 21 Kansas Agriculture Day. She also will meet the winners of the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom’s annual agricultural art contest for kindergarten though sixth grade students.  
 
This focus of this year’s event will extend beyond food production and include information about biobased products, including fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. 
 
"Kansas continues to steadily expand its biobased fuel production, which is good for Kansas farmers and our environment," Secretary Polansky said. "Clean-burning, renewable fuels like ethanol promote better air quality and increase the value of grains grown by Kansas farmers." 
 
It turns out this all conincides with national efforts to draw attention to the importance of agricultural production in our lives. The day-long celebration is a collaboration of the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Department of Commerce’s agriculture marketing division. Kansas Ag Day is a local event held in conjunction with National Ag Week to raise awareness of the significance of U.S. agriculture in our national and global economies. National Ag Weeks runs from March 20 to 26. 
 
"Agriculture is incredibly important to the Kansas economy and our day-to-day lives," Polansky said. "Farmers provide the food we eat and the ingredients needed for products used in transportation, energy production, health care, construction, manufacturing, printing, personal care, education and sports." 
 
So, you’ve heard what the politicians have had to say about agriculture. Now yer gonna get the Cowboy perspective. It is all well and good that someone at the state and national level take the time to communicate the importance of agriculture; the words are nice and rosey. To hear them talk there’s not a thing wrong out on our farms and ranches. Everyone wants to get on the bandwagon that says America’s farmers are feeding the world and are technologically turning food production into a great science that we should all be grateful for. 
 
Where are the observations that rural America is disappearing from the framework of the nation we hold dear? Farmers and ranchers have been delegated to a slave society that produces our needs no matter what the cost to the producer. Not one politician has challenged his own little mind to truly find answers to the loss of independent production of food. There are answers, to be sure. The problem with those answers is that they rock the boat of corporate profits. Corporate agri-business has nearly taken complete control of the market. The agricultural community that was once the mainstay of American vigor has nearly disappeared while our leaders stick their heads into the sand and pay homage to the corporate lions.  
 
Lets just take biodiesel as one example. Where is the research that contributes the the independece of the farmer who produces the raw materials that are turned into biodeisel? No, the research is geared toward corporate production which keeps that farmer from independently producing his own fuel, thus cutting the ties to his corporate overlords. Don't look for anyone to say that farmers and ranchers should be independent in this age of advanced technology. Instead let the politicians speak of celebrating the agriculture that supplies the basic needs of people.  
 
Celebrate? We should be playing dirges. When the last family gives up that last family farm or ranch. We’ll look back with nostalgia and wonder, but who will even consider that it didn’t have to happen. 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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