Deleting 2006, one e-mail at a time


The move from the big house to the smaller home a year ago brought a pint-sized office, three dozen banker boxes to replace nine, overfilled filing cabinets and a new, tiny-by-comparison work desk.
The new office also brought a new, clever strategy in the yet-to-win war against paper: If it arrives by e-mail, store protons, not pulp. Smart, eh?
Until now, anyway, the year’s end requires the hundreds of computer-crippling, saved e-mails be strained, separated, saved or spiked. The electronic salt mine, however, holds hard evidence that 2006 was a do-little year on key farm and food issues.
Immigration reform. A timely example is immigration reform. While Congress punted the issue around all year, federal officials capped it by raiding six Swift & Co. slaughtering plants Dec. 12.
The sweeps, called a “circus” by one local cop, shut down all of Swift’s cattle kills and 77 percent of its pork kills for a day.
Swift officials were furious, especially at Congress and the administration. They pointed the company finger, and then company Web site, at both to say Swift “had relied in good faith on (an immigrant labor) program explicitly held out by the president of the United States


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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.