"I’m From the Government & I’m Here to Help."

President Ronald Reagan once said these are the scariest 9 words in the English language.  (Our current president would say 8 words, but we will not go there.)  

Today a customer came in to purchase parts for his combine. He also works for a major university and, along with nine others, just returned from a trip to Europe to assist the European Union (EU) with some issues in their production agricultural enterprises. 

I asked him to give us the Reader’s Digest version of the trip. He said the EU asked for advice as to why its cow/calf operations were suffering from slow weight gain, poor feed conversion rates and severe calf scours (diarrhea). The team traveled to several farms and found all the cow herds that were having issues were kept under roof to collect the methane. There were outlying areas that had open range herds but they were few as Europe, and especially Italy, where they were taken, is highly populated.  There are EU laws that state no cattle operations are allowed except in outside containment sites in populated areas. They assessed the problem and told them the issue was the latch on the gate.

If they would open it and let the cows out it would cure the problems. The farmers just looked at the EU Government Ag Specialists who were always present and shrugged their shoulders. I asked what an EU Ag Specialist was. As it turned out, the contingent couldn’t go anywhere without the EU Government Ag Representatives with them.

I asked my customer if he was in Italy or China, to which he rolled his eyes and shrugged, “beatin’ist thing we ever saw.” He went on to say if they ever got a chance to get away from the “EU spies,”  the farmers opened up as to the repressive government regulations. Hogs are not allowed on concrete as it was “inhumane.” Instead, they were suffering from issues from mud and manure that was the medium they found the piggies were living in — a manure pit.  

All the grain that was for human consumption had to be non-GMO. A farmer told him his wheat yields had dropped from 90 bushels to 30 bushels an acre due to not being allowed to use fungicide, pesticides or herbicides — yet they imported grain from Ukraine that uses everything legally and maybe some that’s not on their wheat. The EU has outlawed almost all chemicals, so no-till farming is all but impossible. They are plowing up hillsides and the erosion is catastrophic. The solution is to build subsidized walls at the bottom of the hills and each year scoop up the silt and redistribute it back on the top! The horror stories continued.  

His statement was, “In my opinion the EU will be in a famine in just a few years.”    What does this have to do with “US?” We are going down the same path in some areas. 

"Call your representatives, tell our story, tell them we are open minded as to protecting our environment, but not open to the point where our brains fall out...

My daughter, who is much smarter and degreed  than me, worked in Washington for the American Pork Producers as an “expert” and was called on to testify on behalf of a pro-farm lobbyist. She made a presentation back when they were trying to tax farm animal burps and farts to the EPA committee. (Just saw where this is still being taunted.) 

She was pointing out the difference between pig and ruminant animals when an aid to a lady senator stopped her and stated, “Young lady, you are trying to confuse us — what you do not understand is that agricultural pollution is destroying this nation and if we don’t find a way to shut down these farms and import our food we will all perish!” All the legislators and  EPA members nodded in agreement! My daughter was in disbelief. 

She later asked the EPA deputy director how much of the pollution we are trying to control is being contributed by off-road diesel tractors, dozers, track-hoes, etc. He told her, “We know those figures, but they are so insignificant, the run time hours are so low, that they are not measurable.” 

She stated her dad was a tractor dealer so why did the tractors he sold then have to have expensive pollution controls. The reply was “When a diesel engine is built, we do not know if they are going into a tractor, car or over-the-road truck.” She stated “Surely you are not that stupid.” When you call the assistant director of the EPA stupid, the conversation is pretty much over. (She inherited my inability to keep one’s mouth shut.)   

So why are we in the industry saddled with this emission laden product lineup? Refer to the first sentence in this literary attempt. We were at an upscale grocery store in Virginia Beach a year ago where non-GMO milk was selling for $5.95/gal and regular 2% was $2.99 and people were buying the non-GMO (whatever that is) milk and then picking up a free seedless watermelon (now that’s certainly GMO) with a $20 purchase. 

We are becoming a nation of idiots led by idiots — I am one of them for not doing more to inform/educate our leaders to the truth from farmers and dealers instead of the talking heads who are leading us into the abyss our European leaders have fallen into.  

Call your representatives, tell our story, tell them we are open minded as to protecting our environment, but not open to the point where our brains fall out (OK leave out that last statement). 

Until next time, wishing you miles of pollution free smiles and prosperity.    

Told from the perspective of an in-the-trenches owner/operator — Tim Brannon of B&G Equipment, Paris, Tenn. —  Equipment Dealer Tips, Tales & Takeaways shares knowledge, experiences and tips/lessons with fellow rural equipment dealerships throughout North America. Covering all aspects required of an equipment dealership general manager, Brannon will inform, entertain and provide a teachable moment for current — and future — leaders within equipment dealerships.



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