Laugh Tracks in the Dust 6-15-09 |

Laugh Tracks in the Dust 6-15-09

Why is it that agriculture always gets kicked in the shorts whenever there’s an opportunity for the media and the general public to do so? My peeve for this week is the “swine flu” name tagged to the spreading H1N1 virus.

To the very best of my knowledge, there “ain’t” been one single sick pig or dead pig in the entire United States of America from the H1N1 virus.

So, why the “swine flu” tag? My guess is because it’s a handy, attention-getting moniker that the news managers, news reporters, science alarmists and an assortment of ill-informed decision-makers like to use – even though it has caused untold economic and “image” damage to the folks who raise hogs. They apparently care more about their news ratings and their own self image than they care about the truth.

Now, I’m not a big fan of vertically-integrated “Boss Hog” global pork corporations. I think they’re near the bottom-end on the self-responsibility scale – right down there swilling around in the muck and the mud with the big dirty bankers, investment firms and politicians.

But, I do like to eat pork, and I do have a lot of empathy for the “little guys” who are raising hogs for the big guys – or still raising hogs on their own – and just trying to make a living on their farms.

These folks deserve better than to be branded as the perpetrators of this harmful virus because it “ain’t” true.

The damage to hog farmers has largely been done already, but in the interest of the truth and fairness, quit calling the H1N1 virus the “I-won’t-say-it-again Flu.”


While I’m on the subject of ag getting kicked in the shorts, I might as well move to my second peeve of the week – the National Animal Identification System public hearings being held throughout the nation.

From all eyewitness accounts I’ve heard and read about, these hearings are “dog and pony shows” that USDA would like to end up showing folks are predominantly favorable to NAIS.

All-in-all it’s just what I expected from the big government and exactly like similar hearings I personally attended back in the 1980s – lots of hoops to jump through for those testifying and plenty of security folks on hand to keep order. Nuthin’ changes much.

But, thankfully, NAIS opponents are not being easily intimidated. They are insistent on having their say at the microphones, on the Internet and in the media after the hearings.

More power to them. Let’s hope Secretary of Ag Tom Vilsack is listening equally well to both sides of the NAIS issue because the big majority of testifiers oppose NAIS. It’s a classic “big guys” versus “little guys” situation, and the little guys deserve to be heard.

I’ll get off my soap box now and get back to the stuff you enjoy reading from me.


We’ve been working on a major landscaping project around our Damphewmore Acres home. My wife ol’ Nevah Yield and my tumbling-pigeon-raising buddy, ol’ Rollin Birdz, have been working on the project, too, and we’ve finally got it done.

One day while Rollin and I were working, we both wore holes in the right-hand fingers of our leather gloves. I commented that I had a whole drawer full of perfectly good left-handed leather gloves and Rollin laughed and said he had the same thing at his home.

We both agreed that we needed to find left-handed buddies we could swap our non-wornout gloves with and not have to buy expensive new pairs of leather gloves so often.

Any left-handers got a bunch of good right-handed gloves I could swap for?


Have you noticed that economic forecasters never lose their jobs, even though their predictions are seldom right?

So, I asked my tenured ol’ ag econ buddy at Kansas State University, Dr. Reed M. Chartz, what the secret of his career longevity wuz and here’s his answer:

“Milo, the secret to a successful career as an economic forecaster is to give out a number or give out a date, but never give out a number and a date at the same time.”


A good reader from Nebraska sent me this funny tidbit. He said he went to his kids’ rural school’s musical program and one of the youngsters sang John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” song.

At the end of the song, the Nebraskan notices that the gal sitting next to him is dabbing tears from the corners of her eyes.

So, he asks her, “You are so emotional about that song, I guess you must be from Colorado?”

The gal replies, “No, a vocal musician.”


If you have to read any more of this column, you’ll probably be dabbing at your eyes, too, so I’ll close with these words of wisdom about the Constitution from former president Abraham Lincoln: “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

Have a good ‘un.

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