From the Land Rich and Cash Poor to Mr. Republican, Sir
There is a place on our farm that you can stand and see everything we have.
Cows, hay barn, trees, pastures, and fields of clover and wheat just rising up, and the stumps from the last go round with the loggers.
Right now, our hopes for the year rest with a bumper crop to set off a seed cleaning season in June, but the burn bans are already up.
Being land rich means waiting for rain and shine in the right order, the right way. This year might be like last year — a lot of thumb twiddling.
Mr. Republican, sir, maybe you need to pay attention to those of us with a lot of land and very little cash. It might be a nice change.
We joke how with this many cattle on the farm, we can’t go hungry, but that doesn’t change the prices the feed lots give us and the difference we can see the supermarket charging.
There is seed to grind as well, wheat and rye to flour by the bag if we took the time, but then what would we plant next year?
Mr. Republican, sir, what happens if we eat all the seed corn? Without public seed, who do we turn to? Montanso and their chains of custody?
We have a lot of land by most standards, but that land is all we have. We scrimp and save to pay the tax, the loggers come in and log what they can, we sell what cows the feed lots will buy, and we clean our seed and other farmers’ seed when the demand is there.
Everyday, we work to stay here. I write my stories, late into the night when the muse strikes, and when needed, my husband works seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
We could sell it all, every acre and cow, but then where do we go? Our lives don’t start at 5 o’clock when we clock out of job we’ve taken.
Our lives start with breakfast and get lived all day long and into the night, until the orphan calf is fed, and the last of the seed is dried and cleaned for planting next year.
Mr. Republican, sir, where would you expect us to go? Where could we live that way, anywhere else in this great country?
My daughter’s greatest joy is to go feed the calves or the chickens, or check the wild pig traps, anything to follow behind her daddy, her papa, her granddaddy.
My husband drives me around to show what they are working on, my daughter riding in the back of Mule, this little cart we use to chase cows with. His pride is here in land owned by his grandfather.
We’ll never be rich. We have the land, and it gives us everything we need when we can trust the government to stay out of our business.
We are not asking for a handout, Mr. Republican, sir. We are asking that you remember you eat filet mignon because there is a small army of people willing to put in the effort to bring it to your table.
What happens to you, Mr. Repubican, sir, when we are no longer content to watch you truck food out of our counties, our towns? When we can no longer afford to sell it because we need it for ourselves?