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the American Farmer

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HAY MAKER

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To the American Farmer -- Take a Stand!
An Editorial Comment by Keith Bolin, President
American Corn Growers Association - September 9, 2005
This is an open letter to the American farmer and farmers around the world. Over half of the people on the Earth are farmers. They create real wealth with God's blessing and help. You are a respected and sacred group of people, just as our teachers, healers and preachers are also. This letter is about God's blessings on farmers. Many cultures in history have turned their backs on their agrarian roots. Many declining cultures mistakenly devalued farmers' importance as providers of food and nourishment. That mistake was always fatal.

Thomas Jefferson also warned us of this very thing. Agriculture is a way of life, not just a bottom line figure. Many do not understand that there is more than money at stake. We, the American farmers do not desire subsidies from our government or from the taxpayer. However, ending subsidies alone, without major reform of farm and trade policy, will simply destroy farmers.

What we need and demand is a fair, free, open, transparent, competitive marketplace to sell our products above the cost of production. A fair and competitive market is where the consumer (processor and retailer) pays a fair price, not the taxpayer subsidizing processor and retailer purchases. The role of our government and the farm program is market place referee, providing the marketing tools to establish fair commodity prices for farmers. That scenario would be a real working marketplace. We do not have a fair and competitive marketplace. What we presently have is a colluding and predatory marketplace that uses the taxpayer and the farmer to line retailers' and processors' pockets. The American farmer, consumer and taxpayer deserve reverence not irreverence. This we demand and expect.

One day we will sit on our porches with our small grandchildren. They will ask innocently, "What did you do Grandpa when the family farm was under attack? Where did all the farmers go Grandpa? Why are all our streams polluted now? What was it like to have farmed, Grandpa? Were farmers proud, tough people?" At that moment, maybe thirty years from now, would you then long for today so you could fight for the future of America?

Today we seem to have forgotten respect and reverence. Before Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist was even buried, there was a struggle about his replacement. It appears he is merely a position to be replaced. Where is the reverence in that? I wish to connect this issue with farmers this way; examples of the irreverence towards the people on the land and the lack of respect for our fellow man. Our actions shape the future and define who we are as a people. Do you like what you see? To the powerful, the farmer has become a cost to be squeezed, and the position of Chief Justice is simply their tool.

To the American farmer, "Listen to your heart and take a stand. Do not sit on the sidelines. Take stock in the history, truth, and life of this country, and carry it into the future. Do not take action just for yourself, but act for justice and the generations after you.

The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) NEEDS you in this fight, NOW! We need you and you need ACGA. ACGA will fight alongside you, and with many other allies, but this is your fight to win or lose. We have the power, truth, and the public on our side, the side of the family farmer.

If we are to end subsidies, we must first have a fair, competitive, transparent and working market for our products. We proudly demand to be paid in the market place by the user of our goods, not by the taxpayer. This helps the government (which is all of us) by being paid by the user in trade. The clamor to replace a fair and working marketplace with "risk management" or insurance is a fool's dream. They are both still disguised subsidies to the user and the insurance industry. We must demand to be paid a fair price in the market place.

Keith Bolin of Manlius, Ill., has farmed at his present location since 1978. He and his wife, Barbara, have been married for 27 years and have 4 children; David-26, Darcy-22, and Dyan-18, and Dana-10, and 1 grandson Nevin Keith Bolin. They own and operate the family farm where Keith and his three older brothers grew up. They have an outside farrow to finish hog operation, a cow/calf herd, and raise corn, oats, and alfalfa.
 

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