Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Farming for support

Dear Editors:

The United States of America was founded on the premise that control of one’s own destiny is essential to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but as a sixth-generation farmer, I am concerned this is no longer the case for today’s food producers, who face increased government interference and severe economic pressure.

Without question, the economic health of American agriculture must be of paramount concern to all of us; and it is essential we start considering from where our foods will come if America’s farmers and ranchers are forced to exit the business because it is no longer profitable.

I am not going to tell anyone that the day is coming when we will walk into the grocery store to find empty shelves, but if something doesn’t change, the stores will be stocked with imported food.I also remind you that food security is not a new concern. In fact, it was Henry Kissinger, who in 1970 said, “Control oil, you control nations; control food and you control people.” Today’s elected officials have simply lost touch with reality, and I fear are unaware of the risks associated with not being able to provide nutrition for one’s own citizens. By mandating regulations that increase costs, not only in animal agriculture but the general cost of doing business, they put even greater pressure on profits at the farm level.

I recently visited a feedlot in Nebraska where the owner showed me the latest government-mandated environmental quality protection that is costing him $50 per head to implement. All the while he was on the phone selling a pen of cattle that he was happy to only lose $100 per head feeding.

In early June, pork producers were losing $30/head for every pig raised. Likewise, I’ve been on three dairies in the past month where the owners have told me they were losing between $50-60 per cow, per day.

Let me do a little cowboy arithmetic for you. A father/son 200-cow dairy will lose $300,000 in 2009,and the really sad fact is that if corn prices are $5/bushel come fall, I am not sure the corn farmer is going to be profitable either. Then there is the new “cow tax,” which some are estimating will add another $10 million annually in costs to the U.S.livestock industry.4

The Heritage Foundation has estimated that the current global warming legislation moving through Congress would cause a significant decline in farmers’ net income. Farm income is expected to drop $8 billion in 2012, $25 billion in 2024 and more than $50 billion in 2035.

Also being overlooked are the significant efficiency gains made by U.S. agriculture over the years. For instance, in the 1930s it took 100 man-hours to produce 100 bushels of wheat, and it now only takes one hour. The production of a gallon of milk required 65 percent more water, 90 percent more landmass and resulted in 63 percent more carbon output in 1944 than at present. The caloric requirement for a pound of gain in a chicken has gone from 3,018 calories of feed to only 2,672 calories. Similarly, pork producers have moved from 4 pounds of feed per pound of gain to only 2.8 pounds of feed; a 30 percent improvement in efficiency.

American agriculture is sustainable and green, unlike any other segment of our society. Our farmers and ranchers know what it takes to provide for our food security while protecting our environment, but to continue with that responsibility they must have, and deserve, the support and trust of our elected officials and American citizens.

– Trent Loos, via email

A transparent request

Dear Eds,

As a public service, could the Telegraph list the websites where we can find all of the congressional and senate bills posted five days before they are voted on? And, how about the website where we can track the stimulus money allocation and the number and type of jobs the money creates and saves? Ain’t transparency wonderful!

– Dennis Pierce, Durango

You’re not the boss of me!

Dear editors,

The Declaration of Independence basically amounted to a bunch of guys telling their king, “You’re not the boss of us.” The Declaration was an act of treason, written by a bunch of tax cheats and lawbreakers. It wasn’t merely some people whining or petitioning the government to do something different. In fact, the Declaration describes how they had already tried that, and it hadn’t worked. So they resorted to open disobedience. And it wasn’t just one protest or demonstration, to make a point or try to convince their masters to change; it was a declaration that they were completely and permanently denying the right of the standing regime to rule them at all, ever again. And that’s a pretty darn radical thing to do.

For all the parades, fireworks, picnics and other events that happened on July 4 to celebrate “Independence Day,” how many Americans dare capable of even contemplating the possibility of engaging in “illegal” resistance against “authority?” Not many.

What would the equivalent of the Declaration of Independence look like today? Well, we would have a lot MORE to complain about than the colonists did, with far higher taxes, far more intrusive regulation, and a much higher level of oppression all around. But what would the conclusion be? It wouldn’t be, “So you better change those laws!” It would be more like this: “Dear Federal Government, you’re fired! We’re not paying your taxes anymore, not obeying your laws ever again, and from now on, we will resist your thugs when you try to enforce your will on us.”

How many Americans would dare to even THINK such a thing, much less say it out loud, or write it down and send it to the feds? Very few, indeed. The truth is, the spirit of resistance is all but dead in this country. Even among those in the pro-freedom movement, the vast majority of efforts revolve around begging the masters to be nice, petitioning for or against this or that legislation, arguing over WHICH politician should run our lives and take our money.

I have a better idea. How about if a few million of us send one message – and only one – to those pretending to be our “representatives,” those who claim to have the right to rule us: “Legislate whatever you want; I will not obey. And when you send your thugs to punish me, I will resist.” THAT is the message of the Declaration of Independence. But on this July 4th, how many Americans do you think even dared to THINK such a thing – even quietly and to themselves?

What this country needs is not a change in legislation, or a change of parties or candidates. It doesn’t need another election, or another protest or demonstration, or another group lobbying the government for this or that. What it needs is a people with a fundamentally different mindset. What it needs is a population capable of saying, “You’re not the boss of us!” But NOTHING the people ever hear from the mainstream media, or from those in government, or from the talking heads and political pundits, will ever endorse such an attitude. On the contrary, the only message you’ll ever hear in the papers, on the radio or on the TV, from academia or from the government, will boil down to this: “You can whine and complain about what the government is doing to you, and you can beg your masters to change, but you must never disobey!”

As long as obedience to authority is taught as the highest principle, this will be a nation of pathetic slaves perpetually yet fruitlessly whining at their sadistic, power-happy masters. Maybe this country should be something better than that.

Please order a few copies of “The Iron Web” and start “corrupting” the people you know by exposing them to the radical idea that they own themselves, and that they don’t NEED the permission of tyrants in order to be free. Yes, understanding freedom requires a dramatic shift in mindset from the conformism that now plagues this country. On the other hand, it’s getting downright embarrassing watching all the robbed, regulated and restricted American slaves wildly cheering about how free they are.

– Heather Snow, Durango



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows