Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Good News

The Nicollet County Pork Producers will be holding their annual meeting on Saturday evening, Feb. 23. They have some good news to report.

Nicollet County ranks fourth the state for hog production. This past year, our county marketed 713,000 hogs. This generated $119.6 million in gross income and resulted in another $334 million in economic spinoff. In addition to the economic contributions to our rural communities, we utilized 7.48 million bushels of locally grown corn and 2.7 million bushels of soybeans. Across the state, pork production creates 22,500 jobs. Job well done!

What does this mean.  Here is a little bit more explanation.

More income means: farmers probably used the increased income to repair and upgrade equipment. They might have purchased a newer pickup, or tractors, skid steers, augers, loaders, wagons, combines, semi trucks, trailers, or many other types of equipment needed in a hog operation. They probably did upkeep on the buildings, feeders, manure storage areas etc.

Economic spinoff means: the added business generated from all of the above activity from farm supply and other businesses that sell to farmers.

Using the corn locally: the biggest benefit here is that energy is saved when the end use of the product is local. There is less wear and tear on local and regional highways than the alternative of hauling grain to a regional terminal. There is benefit to a local feed mill who grinds the grain to prepare it for feed. This means jobs and more economic benefit.

Local livestock: the benefit of raising livestock locally is the manure that goes back onto the nearby fields to fertilize next year's crop. It is a natural fertilizer and using it decreases our dependence on oil.

The big end result is job creation. end

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Heard on MPR

A couple of programs in the past 6 weeks on MPR have mentioned the financial mess of our country. Like what else are they talking about ad nauseoum? I listen because I prefer it to the other radio choices which are poor to very poor.

Every once in awhile some very interesting bits of information come out of my kitchen radio. Usually it is stuff that if we stop and think about it, we should know  already, but most of us never expand our minds that far. First tidbit was presented by an economist. One of the big reasons why the Social Security Trust Fund is losing money is because of the fact that a lot of people's salaries have surpassed the $170,000 per year cap at which they are to contribute to the fund.

He mentioned the percentage of wage earners 30 years ago who made $170,000 or over and the percentage today. The increase has been tremendous. With my hands in the bread dough, I did not get a chance to write it down. Naturally with fewer people contributing, there is less money. Makes sense.

Recently another economist stated that raising that cap to $180,000 of income would stabilize the trust fund for another 70 years. Seems like a no brainer. However, it also seems like Congress has no brains!  end

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Dear Mr. President:

Considering the state of things, this would be a good time to scale back in a BIG WAY your second inaugural party. Why not just do the swearing in thing and let your daughters hold the Bible? It would be such a lasting memory for them! Then hold a low key dinner and dance.

 Yes, the faithful party workers need to be rewarded and they should be. But rewards come in many different packages and lots of rewards don't have to be spendy and outlandish. I suppose there are lots of "corporate donors" out there who want to sponsor events. And I suppose you can say that these will not cost taxpayers anything! You can say that, but you would be wrong. Because those donors always expect something in return.

This year, just keep it simple and low key. All of America will think the better of you if you do that.

Yours truly,
Driver of Country Roads

P.S. The only way this writer would change my suggestion is if you or your advisers could figure out a way for a big celebration of any kind to create some permanent, good paying jobs in the private sector.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

From Cliff to Slide?

No body is happy with the bill! That should tell us that there might be something good in it for the majority of the American people! At least they did SOMETHING!

This is probably the first round. Lets see- I guess there are ten rounds in most boxing matches. I am not holding my breath. It will probably end with another draw at another "last bell". end

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Troubled Turkeys

This past summer and fall we have enjoyed watching a flock of turkeys roam our homestead. This summer, we usually saw five, but right around Thanksgiving time, a flock of between 35 to 50 showed up. On Christmas Day, we counted about 25 near our barn about 3:30 pm. Lately, they have become very bold, probably because of the thicker layer of snow and their inability to find nourishment easily. They also seem to have adopted the divide and conquer strategy. We no longer see the large flock - but smaller groups. They have no problem walking right up to our house and garage and bins.

I hear comments from others in our area of large numbers of turkeys also. Evidently the natural predators are not so abundant? It does seem we hear the coyotes howling at night the same as ever. This snow cover will be trouble for the big birds. end

Friday, November 30, 2012

Some things don't change

I recently finished Carl Sandburg's trilogy "Abraham Lincoln". It was interesting to read about Lincoln's re-election at the time of our recent election. Lincoln's opponent was McClellan, one of his former Generals who could not cut it and had to be relieved of command early in the war.

Sandburg writes: "It was formidable that 212 of the Electoral College votes should go to Lincoln, with McClellan getting only 21. But a study of three states with the largest electoral votes, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, showed Lincoln receiving 930,269 to 843,862 for McClellan, a difference of only 86,407 votes, but giving Lincoln 80 in the Electoral College. Had these three key states by their narrow margin gone for McClellan and been joined by two or three other states, McClellan would have been elected."

Even 148 years ago, the state of Ohio played an important role in the election of our president. Some things just don't seem to change. end

Friday, November 09, 2012

You Gotta Love Her!

"We will have equality when we have just as many stupid women elected officials as we have stupid men elected officials." This quote is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt. I love it!