This week, the Web was awash with news releases thanking America's farmers for feeding the world. It was only fitting as we celebrated Ag Day and Ag Week.
Trouble is, most of the appreciation came from within – ag organizations and ag trade groups – the choir, so to speak. I didn't spot even one grain of gratitude coming from environmentalists or those critical of "industrial ag", "big farma", "corporate agriculture" or other derogatory titles. Does that surprise you?
What was surprising was Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's request for a private meeting with ag media in the state on Ag Day. It's the first-ever time I can recall a Keystone State governor extending such an invitation – arousing my journalistic suspicions.
Usually, when a governor convenes a media summit, he or she has something up his/her sleeve – newsworthy-wise. After recognizing the importance of agriculture and farmers, he opened up for any and all questions. Of course, he had his right-hand ag man, Ag Secretary George Greig, on his right to field questions he couldn't answer. (He adeptly handled most of them.)
To our disappointment, the governor had no major news announcement. But he candidly reported that his campaign to rein in out-of-control state pension plans and boost ag funding may go against his 2014 re-election. Read more about that under this website's news headline: "Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Wants To Restore Key Agriculture Funding".
So what else did we talk about? Success of the state's farmland preservation program, why New York attracts more ag businesses, farming's energy costs and solutions, milk prices and Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board reform. Sorry, we didn't come up with any answers on the milk issues.
We all need to remember to celebrate Ag Day every day and Ag Week every week – as long as we can raise a fork to our mouths.
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