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The good weather news for Kansas wheat

Jim Suber: View from Rural Route 88

By A Contributor

Good news (hooray) from old reliable Bill Spiegel of Kansas Wheat. Bill is from a Jewell County farm family and is noted for his good sense and honesty. The good news he shared is that rain fell on much of the new wheat crop and it is in very good condition.

That is even better than it could be, given the fact that wheat has traded sideways for a while, and is expected to continue holding its own among its counterparts in the grain complex. It has been selling in the $6-plus range per bushel for a long spell. It seems to be pegged right now to corn as a feeding alternative. Wheat is a good feed grain when handled properly and priced right in comparison to corn.

Other good news is the fact that beef exports were up during the last 12 months to levels not seen in years.

Agricultural production in general in America has been a bright spot almost since the birth of the nation, and certainly in modern times. People forget, but American farmers fed and saved from literal starvation many European, Chinese and Japanese children immediately following both World War One and World War Two, regardless of which sides their parents were on.

Then in the decades since, American agriculture has made its mark abroad in numerous countries, both in trade and in food aid. Americans are generous, in general, and often shocked to realize how much we are often resented, even hated, by others.

But in recent years we have developed a dependent class at home. It is said that 42 percent of Americans earn so little they don’t have to pay income taxes. It is also a fact that food stamps usage and school meal programs have expanded greatly in the last few years. And I’ll be switched if I don’t believe that Americans have come to dislike one another according to various factions and fragments more than I have ever known in my 65-plus years of living here. Then again, maybe it’s just that there are more of us and more issues are divisive today than before, and reactions can be expressed instantly and rather anonymously without fear of reprisals via the new social media.

We are not spitting on our own soldiers, yet, as some did during the Vietnam War literally. We are not burning down the central cities as we did in the same time period. We are not involved in a general race war among ourselves to a degree of violence anywhere close to equivalent to the 1960s. Still, there is a lack of civility and a degree of coarseness that denotes a diminished respect for each other that I find deplorable. There is a level of a lack of historical understanding among us that I think I perceive and it is bothersome, because it could be true that if we don’t know our own history or care enough to find out, then we may not be worthy or willing to keep this nation.

Venality often seems to have trumped the virtues and values that the Scouts used to talk about in their oaths. What good is money if one has no honor?

Just when I think all might be lost, I often then encounter a string of young people, who are clean, bright, helpful, courteous, balanced and respectful. They are out there, and they need to be supported. I met four like that just last Friday. That’s really good news.

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