Perhaps a famine would be good

Ag Days is coming up next weekend in Brandon. 
Perhaps it’s the unseasonably warm weather, perhaps it’s the usual optimism of a new year, not sure, but there is a lot of optimism out there about farming.
There should always be optimism about farming but that’s certainly not always been the case. Having experienced my parents’ despair with the drought year of 1961 and having watched them at various times struggle to make the mortgage payment, I was raised in a cycle of determination, optimism and outright despair.
In later years, in our own farming experiences, we experienced drought nearly as bad as 1961, years of good crops and some years of flooded out disasters. There’s always been the cycle.
Now, to observe the cycle, all I have to do is start selling ads. We have doubled the number of ads for our Ag Days edition this year. More dealers and ag industry people want to get the word out that they have the solution to farm challenges. It’s been a good run this past few days as several new advertisers have joined our more regular ones to get the word out to the public in our readership area. Now if an event like Ag Days is on in Brandon, it makes sense to advertise in the Neepawa Banner and Rivers Banner. South-western Manitoba is divided into roughly four quarters. The quarter served by the Neepawa Banner and Rivers Banner has the largest population, the best land base and the most mixed farming base and has the highest incomes. When it comes to the ag industry, the Neepawa-Minnedosa, Carberry-Rivers area leads the way.
As stated above, there should be optimism in agriculture and it should be there all the time. After air and water, food is the next most needed commodity in our lives. Can’t go too many days without it. Some of us have trouble going more than a few hours. 
I am maintaining a long habit of reading Canadian history books. I particularly like books about western Canada and the political decisions that have been made. Quite frankly, agriculture has never had the respect it deserves, both in the farming communities and in the cities. It’s not likely to happen, but if Canada had a famine, perhaps we would look at what’s on our dinner plate with a bit more awe and respect. Put another way, “Don’t complain about the farmers when your mouth is full.”
And speaking of history, it would seem that in the 140 plus years we have officially been a country, that agriculture gets better treatment from conservative leaning governments rather than liberal leaning governments. There should be no difference as it doesn’t matter what your politics are, you have to eat and hopefully eat well. Food is not an option and so food production and all that is attached to that production should be treated more sensitively and seriously than other industries.
It seems odd that governments can pour money, by the hundreds of millions of dollars, into big city stadiums, human rights museums and arenas but can’t get the roads and bridges fixed that allow our food to be hauled to the cities. 
Perhaps our senior governments could use a reality check. Or maybe a short famine.

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