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By Staff | Sep 7, 2012

When it comes to complaining about the government, I can be one of its harshest critics.

On almost any subject, somewhere I will point out a problem and say, “See, that is what happens when the government gets involved. They mess it up.”

In general, my criticism extends to both political parties because neither of them is that far apart. I am not sure I trust either of them.

Having said that, in recent weeks I have found myself praising certain things our government does right.

The weather can be both capricious and unfair, and there is little we can do about it. I can say the same thing about our government, but there are times when it’s important to praise those things that are well run by good people who show up for work every day and care about their jobs.

One of my favorite programs for many years has been the Conservation Reserve Program. I have several fields enrolled in CRP.

I applaud the government’s decision that says we do not have to farm every acre and there is some ground that, due to its nature, should not be farmed.

Because of this summer’s drought, the Farm Services Agency allowed haying on CRP acres, and my neighbor baled the allowed acres from my CRP. It did not seem like very good hay, but he told me that when mixed with corn, it will provide the bulk his cows need.

Baling rough ground that has not been tilled for 10 or more years was a tough, but he got the job done and has added to his hay supply for this winter.

This year, I am learning about crop insurance first hand and it is another program where the government and the private sector are cooperating to provide a valuable service.

I am afraid that like many things, the politicians are going to step in and fix the crop insurance program that is not in need of fixing.

This would be a good time to continue my praise for the Extension service. I am always impressed with the dedication and helpfulness of everyone from the 4-H program to research to just plain getting out the information by print, the Internet or public meetings.

The list can continue to grow from here. I have shown where the government helps me be a better farmer.

Several times a week I drive by a state Department of Transportation building with the people and equipment that keeps highways safe all year long. I do not envy them their jobs during hazardous winter weather or during the summer, working while cars and trucks drive by them only a few feet away.

Yes, I still complain about that nagging sound my vehicle makes every time I turn the key on and my seat belt is not fastened. Fortunately, I have not been in a situation yet where a seat belt was necessary, but that can change in mere seconds with no time to prepare.

Vehicles can be replaced, but the health and lives of my family, friends and myself are not so easily replaced. I will buckle up, but I do reserve the right to complain while doing so.

Maybe at this time of year where we have seen one party hold its political convention and the other party having theirs this week, it would be a good time to remind ourselves that both the weather and our government are easy targets for complaining.

We can not do anything about the weather, but with our votes we can direct our government and remember as it lurches along, our government and its employees do things well much of the time and we need to be fair in our criticism.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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