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A high price paid

By Staff | Feb 10, 2009

To the editor: This letter is responding to your editorial, “Iowa agriculture is a national treasure,” (issue Jan. 9). We have paid dearly for that treasure.

65 years ago, I was a flight instructor for the U.S. Navy. I found that many of our best and brightest aviation cadets came from rural and small town Midwest – loyal, determined, trustworthy and patriotic.

More than anything else they knew how to work. Those young people were, and still are, our most important product.

55 years ago I was trying to convince the Farm Bureau concerning Iowa’s need for industrial development to provide jobs for those people displaced from agriculture. I was ridiculed. They said, “We don’t need other industries. We have agriculture.” How stupid. How arrogant.

At that time we had 1.6 percent of the nation’s population. Now we have barely 1 percent. If it weren’t for immigrant workers, who come here to do the grunt work, we would have far less than 1 percent.

We have birthed, reared, educated and “churched” our young people and watched them move away to greener pastures. They were many of our best and brightest.

Our young people, who should be buying the land, have been priced out of the market.

Some years ago, three-fourths of our farmers were owner-operators. Now, in Iowa, three-fourths are renters. The farm used to be a way of life, as well as a business.

But with nine stinking hog houses across the road, and five former farmsteads within two miles plowed under in the past two years – we have paid a high price for the miracles of modern agriculture.

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