The first political wisdom ever sent my way came from the gravelly throat of Everett Dirksen. During Dirksen’s 1968 reelection stop in my southern Illinois hometown, I asked the white-maned Senate Minority Leader how he’d outflank Mayor Daley’s Chicago vote machine.
Just as the noisy presidential campaign reached its October crescendo, the biggest, most bitter issue in farm country – Rabobank’s bid to buy Omaha’s Farm Credit Services of America (FCSA) – skidded to a quiet end.
In what many are calling a power grab, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman used authority given the USDA in the 2002 Farm Bill to propose new guidelines that alter the composition and shorten the terms of locally-elected county Farm Service Agency (FSA) committees.
The most important election in farm country this fall won’t be in presidential swing states like Iowa and Wisconsin nor will it involve mad cows, angry Brazilians or even promise-spewing, glad-handing politicians.
Alan Guebert was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1980, he served as a writer and editor at Professional Farmers of America, Successful Farming magazine and Farm Journal magazine. His syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File, began in June, 1993, and now appears weekly in more than 70 publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. He and spouse Catherine, a social worker, have two adult children. farmandfoodfile.com