Those of you who don't favor corn ethanol should be careful of what you wish for. What will you do with 12 billion bu. of corn?
The government helps Big Oil in order to keep energy prices down. You can't build an ethanol plant for $140 million, then cut the help that was promised — what was 51¢/gal. is now 46¢.
If the cellulose ethanol takes off as many predict it eventually will, there will be no need for fences, cows or towns. Custom cutters will just come in every 30 days or so with 10, 30-ft. hay bines, cut the grass and haul all the jobs away from rural America. You'll be left with no jobs, no cows, no fences, no towns and no fertilizer — just another big dust bowl.
A salute to Amanda
I recently read an article in Progressive Farmer entitled, “The Voice of Ag,” which talked about Amanda Nolz and what she has done to promote agriculture and the beef industry. This included her passion to see that Carrie Underwood is exposed as someone who doesn't represent the best interests of animal agriculture. It was very refreshing to see someone so young step forward and not be afraid to put our industry first and her own well-being second.
A few years ago, I was a township supervisor when we had a 2,100-head dairy proposed to locate in our township. Our township board spent almost two years studying the issue to ensure the facility would have a positive impact on the surrounding area. We approved the plan with one of the conditions being that the dairy would utilize a methane digester to process the manure into an acceptable product to greatly reduce the facility's odor.
Our plan was approved unanimously by every board to which it was presented — six in all — from our local board to the state level. Still, that didn't prevent a moratorium on new livestock facilities from being enacted a week before the dairy began construction. The end result is a zoning ordinance that severely limits size and location to the point no one will probably expand their livestock operations in this area.
An activist group called Land Stewardship Project came in and basically brainwashed area residents into believing this project would terribly affect their quality of life. Most hurtful was that the local citizens believed this outside group over those of us who have lived here all our lives and make our living in this business. In the end, despite expenditures of $400,000 on the project and approvals from every board necessary, we were left empty-handed.
It's a trend that seems to be slowly spreading throughout Minnesota. More and more townships are incorporating their own planning and zoning ordinances, aided by the lack of voting power among those of us left in production agriculture.
Thus, you can imagine my pleasure in reading the article about Amanda and her willingness as a young person to step forward and put herself on the line. I can fully relate to what she is going through. I'm sure she has received phone calls and criticism much like I have for speaking out — comments that are hurtful, degrading and at times cause you to question your commitment.
Too many in our industry are willing to sit back and let a handful of our counterparts defend and promote our business. I want to personally thank Amanda for her efforts and encourage her to continue to speak out. I hope that someday she might even consider politics.
Find more letters from fellow readers at the BEEF mailbag, www.beefmagazine.com.