"This year at the State Fair, I will once again go through the Ag buildings to marvel at what our farmers and ranchers have produced. And yes, I will have some sweet corn, dripping with melted butter and black pepper."
We do live in a wonderful country. Especially this time of year, when one can drive for hours and hours and hours, and see nothing but food being grown. Once again this year, the corn and the soy bears look very healthy. Almost 90% of the corn in Minnesota is in the good to excellent category; spring wheat and soybeans, in the mid 80% range. That is good and bad at the same time for farmers. Good - lots of food to go to market with. Bad - depressed crop prices once again.
Much is being made out of the trade war which China is using to target our farmers with. But guess what? China has 1.4 billion people with a small percentage of the world's farmland. They are pulling out every trick in the book to squeeze more and more productivity out of every square inch of precious farmland. Where rich, productive farmland is abundant in America, it is much more scarce in China. China has a lot of mountains and a whole lot of deserts.
Besides all of which, the Chinese diet is changing. They are starting to acquire more tastes like we have. Not totally, but some. But enough so much, they have needed to import some food items. They can trade with Brazil, Argentina and Australia - all of which are having some very dry years. Or they can trade with the United States. Bottom line? We have excellent and abundant soy beans to sell, and the Chinese love our pork. I think that very soon, cooler heads will prevail - especially in China. Then there will be a lessening of many of the long held tariffs China has used on our goods. Chalk up another win for President Trump.
Who gets the credit and/or the blame for our abundant harvests as well as depressed crop prices? You can start with the University of Minnesota. Over the years, the University as well as other colleges and research labs, have taken native maize, and using hybrid technology, have come up with a corn plant which is disease resistant, drought resistant, prolific in production, and can live a healthy life on a very small chunk of soil. Mix in some herbicides, fertilizers, farmer "know-how", and of course, adequate moisture, and you have today's miracle corn. Not just a little of it - "bin busters" full of it.
For years now, every time I see a police officer or first responder, I thank them for what they do to keep us safe. Maybe it would be a good idea to start thanking farmers also. For many who own and operate small farms, this occupation is not for the weak or weak willed. It is more work than I could ever imagine. Some say that farmers complain a lot. Maybe they do. With what they have to put up with day by day, they are entitled to bitch every now and again. The bottom line is this. Farmers make up a small percentage of our population, yet not only feed all of us, but grow enough to sell or share world wide.
This year at the State Fair, I will once again go through the Ag buildings to marvel at what our farmers and ranchers have produced. And yes, I will have some sweet corn, dripping with melted butter and black pepper. Enjoy those first bites folks - the sweet corn in Minnesota is about as fine as it gets!