Rain brings relief for some farmers, but not all

# 373, July 28, 2005

HOYTVILLE, Ohio:  Last week I reminded you that for farmers, the relief they get from the sky is better than waiting for relief from Washington. Well, after going through a long dry spell, relief has arrived. A total of 6 inches of rain fell here in two weeks, so the crops have recovered and look mighty promising.

Now that don’t mean everybody got relief. There’s plenty of farms in this part of northwestern Ohio, and all across the Midwest that are still suffering. The rain clouds appear on the horizon, then just as they get close to your farm, they turn away.

About a hundred farmers gathered at this ag experiment station this evening to learn about fertilizer and tillage, and assorted bugs, weeds and other pests.

For some of you folks, spreading nitrogen on your lawn to keep it green is your only direct connection to fertilizer. And then you irrigate it to be sure you can’t go a week without mowing.

Well, these Ohio farmers don’t irrigate and they found out that about 100 to 125 pounds of nitrogen is all they need for good corn, as long as the rains come. Rain and other environmental conditions mainly determine how big the crop will be, not fertilizer.

And tillage doesn’t help. No-till did just as good for growing corn as a lot of tillage.

Farmers ain’t the only ones trying to solve their problems. NASA still can’t find a way to hold the foam to their fuel tanks. The big chunk that broke off didn’t appear to do any damage this time.

I reckon they have considered everything from Super Glue to Saran Wrap. But I bet they haven’t tried the one thing that’s been proven for at least a hundred years: baling wire. Any farmer could tell them: wrap those tanks with baling wire, and nothing will escape.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“Just been prowling around up in this country with the farmers. They have about given up hope of getting farm relief and have decided to fertilize instead.” DT # 494, Feb. 26, 1928.

Engineers, free food and a Cowboy holiday

# 372, July 21, 2005

TAMPA, Fla: The news down here, besides the heat and John Roberts being nominated for Supreme Court, is turn signals. Florida has a new law that says you have to signal when you change lanes.

From now on, they’ll fine you a hundred dollars if you don’t turn on your signal. No word yet on the penalty for the even bigger problem in Florida, which is leaving it on.

Agricultural engineers and biological engineers are meeting here this week. Now, you may not know about the work of these engineers, but you sure know the benefits. Their organization, called ASABE, has almost 10,000 members in a hundred countries, and for almost a hundred years they have been working to make our supply of food more abundant, safer, and cheaper no matter where you live.

At the same time, they protect our water and air from pollution, and help farmers and ranchers improve the soil so folks a hundred years from now can still have an ample supply. Naturally, there’s plenty of scientists and others contributing, from the ones developing new seeds, to the food processors and folks working in grocery stores.

All these people together are making so much progress that our young folks in 20 or 30 years will expect food to be like music is today, just download it for free. They’ll figure out a way to get on the internet, log on and download their daily nourishment from PigglyWiggly.com, and store it, not on an Ipod but through a tube directly into their veins. That way they eliminate the inconvenience of shopping for groceries and even the trouble of chomping, chewing, and digesting. They’ll have to take up gum chewing to exercise their jaw bones.

Food’s nearly free already, compared to what it was 100 years ago. It’s kinda like the little doodads you see advertised as “free”, where you just pay small charge of $6.95 for shipping and handling. With food, you pay for shipping and handling, and then the shippers and handlers pay a small percentage to the farmers to cover the cost of producing the raw materials they’re shipping and handling.

The Tampa Tribune says Florida will pay more for hurricane insurance. Home owners up north say they are tired of subsidizing the cost of folks rebuilding their houses on the beach every time a hurricane hits. Of course there’s tornados, but not so often, and floods, but these northerners say they don’t intentionally build a half-million dollar house on a river bank.

It’s hot in Tampa, but even hotter in the our southwestern states. And farmers from Texas to the Great Lakes are still suffering from drought. Of course those folks are accustomed to some inconvenience and are optimistic they’ll eventually get rain to relieve them.

Say, here’s some good news, and it was a long time coming. From now on, July 23 will be celebrated as the National Day for the American Cowboy. So put on your boots and Stetson hat, build a campfire, and sing some cowboy songs by the moonlight. Even if you don’t have a horse, and you’ve never roped a Longhorn steer, it’ll give you a thrill because there’s a little bit of cowboy in all of us.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“TAMPA, Fla.: One thing about farmers’ relief: It can’t last long, for the farmers ain’t got much more to be relieved of.
(signed) A farmer that knows,
Cocklebur Rogers”
 (DT #167, Feb. 11, 1927)

“Farmers are learning that the relief they get from the sky beats what they get from Washington.” DT #2445, June 4, 1934

“There is not a better day in the world to be spent than with a lot of wise old cowmen around (a campfire with) barbecued beef, black coffee and good (re-fried) beans.” DT #2430, May 17, 1934

Speakers and Hurricane Dennis Flood into Georgia

# 371, July 13, 2005

ATLANTA: Last Saturday Hurricane Dennis was headed north and I was headed south, and we kinda met in Atlanta. I’m here for the annual convention of the National Speakers Association, with about 1500 professional speakers. In case you’re wondering, the wind outside the convention center was offset by the wind inside, so no damage was done.

Georgia got mostly rain from Dennis, not much wind. Farmers up north, from Iowa to Ohio, are praying for rain, and will gladly accept a fairly strong breeze with it as long as the ground gets soaked.

You may want to know, when you get a huge room full of professional speakers, is anybody listening? Well, yes, because when one of these top people takes the platform, everybody else becomes a professional learner. We heard Ben Vereen, Bertice Berry, and the outstanding author Andy Andrews.

And humorists galore. Judy Carter, Mark Mayfield, Dale Irvin, Tim Gard, and George Campbell from Oklahoma, who you may know better as Joe Malarky, the world’s worst motivational speaker.

A bunch of these folks can sing as well as they speak, for instance Jana Stanfield. Mike Rayburn, Ladonna Gatlin and Willie Jolly.

There’s another fine group here that you’ve heard me talk about before. It’s the Tall Women speakers, and, yes, it’s growing. They added 5 more to the group, bringing the confirmed total up to around 40. So if you stand at least 5’11” in your bare feet, and you’re a speaker of the female persuasion, the National Speakers Association has a place for you. And if you get your picture taken here with a group, they don’t make you stand in the back row.

I’m trying to keep this short. You’ve got to save your reading energy for Harry Potter.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“AUGUSTA, Ga: Here is my Farm Relief bill: Every time a Southerner plants nothing on his farm but cotton year after year, and the Northerner nothing but wheat or corn, why, take a hammer and hit him twice right between the eyes.
You may dent your hammer, but it will do more real good than all the (farm) bills (Congress) can pass in a year.” 
DT #169, Feb. 13, 1927


Idaho offers history, water and some good news

# 370, July 8, 2005

TWIN FALLS, IDAHO: If you’ve never seen the Snake River first hand, this is a good place to start. Of course the river is about 500 feet below this town, at the bottom of a canyon. There’s a magnificent bridge across the canyon heading north that connects these folks to civilization in the rest of Idaho. Otherwise about the only way out of town is by way of Nevada.

The Oregon Trail ran near here, and those old pioneers had a rough go across this barren land. West of here about 50 miles is a little town called Glenns Ferry and those folks forded the Snake River there, long before anyone thought of building a ferryboat. We have it easy today with highways and airplanes; it’s impossible to imagine how rough those folks had it. There was quite a few that entered that river that never made it across.

Water from the Snake is the lifeblood for this part of Idaho. And if it wasn’t for the big dams upstream, it would have dried up by April. You look around and any place that’s green you can bet is being irrigated from the river. That water grows great potatoes and a whole line up of other crops from alfalfa to corn to barley. That eminent domain decision the Supreme Court handed down didn’t seem to upset folks much here, because it applied to land. But try to take away a man’s water rights, and you’ll have a real fight.

The big news out here was finding that little girl up in Coeur d’Alene. Folks are so mad at that Duncan fellow for what he did to Shasta Groene, they almost forget he murdered 4 people.

Yesterday, bin Laden struck again. This time it was London. He seems to be working his way west… You know, if we could just trick him into eating at a Denny’s Restaurant, I think we would get him. Those big countries meeting over in Scotland promised to send $3 Billion to the Palestinians and $50 Billion to Africa, even after the attack. They tell me there’s quite a few Muslims living in those places. Wonder how much bin Laden has donated to help those folks.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I would just go… out to Idaho every few years… Boise is a mighty pretty little Town; I been there. Ground kinder sandy, built in on a right pretty creek, bluff up on one side.” Saturday Evening Post, Feb. 27, 1932

“POCATELLO, Idah It took me forty-eight States to do it, but I finally arrived in one where every one knows who one of their Senators is. I go to Borah’s home town (Boise) tomorrow. I want to see this place before it is made a shrine for honoring the only man in public life in his time with independent thought, when everybody else’s ideas are as standardized as Ford parts.” DT #201, March 18, 1927

“Calvin (President Coolidge) did a mighty fine job of dam dedicating here this afternoon (at Globe, Arizona). He made a dam good speech favoring dams.

The dam will open up 1,000,000 acres of new land, and there is 1,000,000 farmers starving to death all over our country on farms that’s all ready open, so it all depends on where you live, as to how you look at it.” DT #1125, March 4, 1930