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9/18/2004

The Flickering Fire

The recent Cowboy Commentaries “Fences Are For Grownups” continue to spark memories of a time that has nearly disappeared from American culture. I hate to say it, but I’m becoming an old Cowboy with very little relevance to our times. Yet, it seems to me that the future does not have to become the sterile environment that it seems to be headed for. There are surely ways to promote the BEST of what we once had.  
 
When I was that young kid first discovering the world outside that fence, agriculture was still a vital economic force in America. Today, counterfeit agriculturalists want you to believe that agriculture is an economic power, but the plain truth of the matter is that agriculture has been usurped by the Dark Force known as agri-business.  
 
Agri-business has come into power by squeezing all of the culture out of agriculture and subjecting it to the accountant’s sterile legion of numbers. Culture represents life. Business represents cold, hard figures. Well, let me give you some cold, hard figures. 
 
When I was that youngster seeking to discover all that could be known beyond my father’s fence there were 9 homes within one mile of my own. Today, even my own family home stands empty. While I still farm and ranch on the property, I live three miles away in a dying prairie town. Only one of those homes is lived in today. I am still holding out but very few of the original families have anything to do with the land that once supported 10 families.  
 
Agri-business has forced those families off the land and in return has turned agriculturally based rural communities into ghost towns. In an age that has become so concerned with homeland security, do you think this type of “culture’ is secure? We are on the verge of giving up all that is secure to a few conglomerate agri-business companies that have no interest in American security. Their only interest is in cold, hard numbers. Culture and security go hand in hand. When culture dies, security dies.  
 
Never think for even one moment that agri-business has any intentions of maintaining a stable farm and ranch structure in the United States. Their efforts are global and their goal is ONLY the bottom line. We are all fiddling while Rome burns. We have become hypnotized by the treadmill that the great world conglomerates have subjected us to.  
 
As for me, I still live in a world that believes agriculture can somehow be saved. I believe that if we act now while there is still a flickering fire in the heart of agriculture the dark force can be repelled. Maybe I’m a dreamer… May I’m just an old Cowboy… What do you think? 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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