I read the Great Bend Tribune article: Kansas State University receives support from Bayer CropScience to further education and wheat research” (Oct 22 issue). While I am delighted that K-State has received this boost....On October 21st, six past U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture gathered at Kansas State University as speakers for the “Landon Lecture Series”. Nebraska’s former Governor and current U.S. Senator Mike Johanns, age 63, gave an impassioned plea that he is nearing Medicare-age and considers himself too wealthy for any subsidized health-care, yet he still pretends to champion farm-care subsidies. Although I agree with Johanns that some reforms need to be done, they should be done in a tailor-made fashion to preserve the smaller family-farm operations. Perhaps the speaker I was most discouraged by, was former Ag Secretary Dan Glickman. Glickman correctly praised Kansas State University’s 150th Anniversary as a Land-Grant University, but Glickman digressed by telling about the pies and other foreign-objects thrown at him when he was a member of the President’s Cabinet. my ears perked-up when Johanns admitted that most modern farm bills “are built on the shoulders of previous farm bills”. Even Mr. Johanns admitted that it is almost impossible for new college kids to get into farming unless they have a family-member already anchored and established in the business. And, today’s farming is a global business. I was saddened that the new farm bill was only hinted-at. I would like to see a modern, fresh, totally new farm bill that is a CLEAN SLATE, suited for modern times and current conditions. Kansas State University’s motto is “Rule by obeying Nature’s Laws”. Let us hope that the new farm bill is fresh and untainted. The farm bill is doomed if lazy politicians merely tweak previous farm bills.
James A. Marples