If only farmers could run the world


“As part of a training exercise, those newly-inducted were served orders that they could run the world as individuals for a full seven days. They tried their best to operate in an individual fashion, barking orders in their own way. The cadets fell all over themselves making one huge mistake after another until they reached the realization the world as we knew it would no longer exist if everyone had invincible powers for days on end.”
— Col. Gerard McCullem, Notes of a Leader

I remember hearing it once said that as much as we all think we would like to have the power to create our own weather, it is a very good thing that humans have no such capacity.

The golfer would pull for constant sunshine while the farmer would reach for rain during the dry spells, and we would find ourselves on one very jumbled-up planet.

One thing I have wished for recently, however, is something along these same lines. It is not a new wish, but it is a dream that has come to light once again as America goes through economic struggles.

As I watched the nightly news carrying reports of the airline industry struggling during this fuel crisis, I kept thinking of the enormous differences between the world of industry and the state of agriculture.

The news focused on one man who is considered a giant in the airline industry. He has brought enormous changes in the travel world, including such mundane things as removing banners from airplanes, replacing them with paint to lighten the weight.

The list of things went on: cutting down on the amount of fuel the planes each carry in order to lighten the load, much less unnecessary cargo which had once but put in place to cater to the traveling masses, no more freebies of any kind.


What struck me the most, I guess, is that the airline industry has increased the price of tickets, obviously, but it has also attached a surcharge to all sorts of things. Those traveling with certain airlines now pay to check each piece of luggage in to the cargo section of the plane, while other airlines allow one suitcase free but charge for additional items.

The weight is checked and cannot surpass whatever magic number has been pulled out of a hat, or there will be a fairly high additional charge.

Most of the travelers just shrugged their shoulders and basically all said, “Well, what are ya gonna do? They’ve got us over a barrel!”

Oh, if only farmers could run the world of agriculture for a season in this way! Imagine the raised eyebrows in the dairy aisle of the grocery store when a surcharge showed up for a gallon of milk based solely on the fact that the seed and fertilizer to produce the hay that fed the cow to produce the milk went through the roof.

Farm tax

Farmers could easily add their own form of “gas tax” based on how much diesel fuel drains their profit margins. Farmers could easily place a whopping fee on every single item produced, regardless of their farming specialty, based on tough working conditions — slaving through intense heat, extreme cold, rain, snow, sleet, hail.

An additional tax could be levied based on the stress of dealing with the unknown factors that will surely be thrown in to the mix during a particular growing season.

Yes, people would revolt, but they would still buy the burger, the sausage, milk, corn flakes, multi-grain breads, cheese, eggs, all the fruits and vegetables. While the surcharges added up, people would say, “Well, those farmers have us over a barrel, don’t they?”

Imagine the disbelief when pork chops, chicken and eggs carried a whopping tax for the unpleasant odor factor involved in working in the hog barns and chicken buildings.

“Oh, it’s the stinky tax,” the consumer could whine while writing the high-dollar check for chicken, eggs and chops. Ah, if only farmers could run the world, just for one season!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.



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