View from the Hill
Written by Paul Penner Wednesday, 28 November 2007 01:32Farmers, November 2007 is nearly gone and current farm bill legislation is about to expire. Do you know where your new farm bill is? More importantly, do you know why debate over the farm bill is stalled in the Senate?
From a historical perspective, the farm bill usually passes the House and Senate, not to mention out of the conference committee and through the final voting process, arriving at the president’s desk for his signature before the Christmas recess.
In my opinion, the bill may not even make it to the final vote before February 2008, even if the current deadlock is resolved.
In fact, odds are good that an extension of the 2002 Farm Bill will be approved, preventing permanent legislation of the Agricultural Adjustment Act...
Written by Paul Penner Wednesday, 24 October 2007 11:04Perception is reality. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty facts of life, whatever I believe to be true and real is more important than knowing the truth. That’s how most people view the world they live in.
The word on the streets in most rural towns of central Kansas suggests most farmers are reaping high profits on their farms, thanks to the high prices for their crops. Wheat prices topping $9 per bushel is one for the record books, to be sure. However, one’s enthusiasm needs an appropriate adjustment in perspective.
In response to people asking about my newfound prosperity with $9 wheat, I reply, “I’ll get back to you when I have wheat to sell at that price.”
The primary reason for today’s high wheat prices can be...
Written by Paul Penner Wednesday, 26 September 2007 08:08Back in October 2004, I wrote about a slightly satirical, fictional debate between two political candidates. I never published it, until now.
As I re-read this piece, I reflected on the events that transpired from then until now. It was enlightening to say the least. Perhaps it will be that way, too, for you. The column begins, slightly abridged to fit into limited space.
In the past few months, I imagined the unthinkable: What would the election be like if the political campaign was more positive and uplifting?
What if both candidates actually got “religion” and refrained from mudslinging and misquoting the facts?
What if they admitted to making mistakes and were willing to be held accountable for their past mistakes?
Written by Paul Penner Wednesday, 22 August 2007 06:24In Marion County, the subject of economic development and the question of what to do about it draws little press these days. Not that there is any interest in the subject, however. It’s just not considered a wise move to stick one’s neck out too far for fear of finding oneself on the proverbial chopping block of public and political opinion.
Regardless of what one thinks of the previous suggestions for economic development brought up by the Marion County commissioners, suffice it to say, prospects for any rational discussion of any proposal in the near future seem slim, at best.
Thinking back during those days when coffeeshop talk focused on the pros and cons of inviting a casino into Marion County, of inviting a company to build a...
Written by Paul Penner Wednesday, 25 July 2007 07:24In the business world, a 15-minute break from work at mid-morning and mid-afternoon is the norm. In agriculture, the work at hand determines the length and timing of the break.
A work break on my farm generally consists of stopping at the water hydrant for a refreshing drink when the need arises, or if on the tractor, a five-minute pause in the field to relax while checking machinery.
There are other, so-called work breaks in the farming world that may or may not be justified according to the work being done. They occur at the local coffee shop, if there is one, or nearest convenience store, like the Ampride convenience store on D Street.
One might find a gathering of like-minded folks in other locations as well. I happened upon two...
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