Down on the Farm

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block.

Here I am on the farm in Illinois.  I will update you on what I see, but first I still have our Independence Day Celebration on my mind.  All the national attention and the President’s speech can make us proud.  On my radio program in 1995 – 24 years ago – here is what I had to say then.  “Listen to the speeches of our leaders.  Notice the respect for our military.  Military at the top.  Hollywood at the bottom.  The call is back to basics – education, personal responsibility, family values, the church.  Concern for our own people and nation and reduced willingness to pour billions of dollars into foreign countries.  We see a renewed emergence of the old “can do” independence.  It is not always government’s responsibility.  Get the government out of the way. We can do it.”  Those were my words 24 years ago.  I’m hoping for the same national spirit today.           

Now down on the farm our early corn planted by May 10th really looks good.  But then the rain came.  The rest of our corn and soybean planting was not in the ground until the first week of June.  That late planting corn was not knee high by the 4th of July.  This crop is in God’s hands now.  We can only hope for the best.

I’m so happy that our hogs are healthy.  African Swine Fever has devastated China’s hog industry.  With a pause in our trade war with China they say they will buy more pork.  We shall see.  While in Knoxville, I went to the park where they have a 1 room country school house.  I went to a 1 room school like that for 8 years.  We didn’t have any running water – just a well and a hand pump outside.  We had 9 or 10 students – 8th graders with a coal furnace in the room to keep us warm in the winter.  In the back we had 2 out houses – one for the girls and one for the boys.  We had a basketball hoop and played basketball outside weather permitting.  We played games against other grade schools from little towns.  My sisters played on the team because we didn’t have enough boys.  A lot of memories keep coming back.  Some of us would ride our ponies to school.  We had a little barn to tie them up while in class.  Those little country schools have been gone for years.  All the kids now come into town.  It’s good to be back home.

John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill.  If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to www.johnblockreports.com. 

Categories: USDA

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