A few years ago I was trucking my way around Washington, D.C. in a snowstorm of Biblical proportions. A voice came over my radio saying, “ All non-essential government employees need not report to work today due to the inclement weather conditions”.
Are you like me, thinking, just who are these “non-essentials drawing a government paycheck every two weeks for doing, by government admission, essentially, nothing essential.
I made a few phone calls and discovered, through a few honest office workers, that the government estimation of non-essential workers in our nation's capitol is in the 38% to 42% of all workers. Yikes!
Just the other day I found myself in a wheat field driving a humongous tractor “tilling the soil” so the guy who owned the tractor and the wheat field could grow a crop of wheat that would be baked into loaves of bread and put out in stores to feed hungry Americans.
As I drove back and forth across this very large field I got to thinking about essential and non-essential, trying to fix in my mind just exactly who in this country is essential and who is not. My chest swelled right up when I had the thought that I am doing essential work. Oh for sure, someone else could be driving this particular tractor doing the very same thing I'm doing. I figured that “I” am not essential but someone to do this farm work is.
I looked across the fence to the south and saw some ranch folks moving cattle to summer range. (The husband riding an ATV while the wife was horseback!) I'm thinking this particular guy and his wife aren't essential but someone moving those cows to summer pasture is if there is to be beef in our supermarkets.
See, the actual people aren't the essential part of this equation. It's the job they're doing that's the essential or non-essential part.
Now here's the sticky wicket. (I have no earthly idea what that means. I just heard it on that BBC-TV show Downton Something-or-other.)
People have to eat. That's the essential fact. Oh sure, some folks out here in the West grow gardens to help feed themselves, but what about the city folks? It's supermarket time for them, and where do the stores get the food on their shelves? (I just helped grow some Wheaties.)
Agriculture is the ONE basic essential we cannot live without.
Now to get to the essential part of the story.
Keeping in mind the very first paragraph of this article, could we not survive without the 38% to 42% of government workers who are considered dead weight? That would be quite a savings.
There are several or more government agencies right here in Valley County that could be considered non-essential to our survival.
Let's just take one of the most non-essential, non-productive government welfare jobs in the whole country. Let's just call it the Environmental Protection Agency. The United States could survive quite nicely without this counter-productive arm of the government and its thousands of regulations foisted upon the citizenry and most times without our knowledge. Their harassment and bullying is becoming quite bothersome indeed.
The Bureau of Land Management should be contained a bit as well. Here's the deal about them. You take a young person fresh from four years of college with a degree in range biology. Then take a 70-year-old rancher, who, along with his family three generations back, have managed their allotments and private ground quite well without a college degree. Just hard work and common sense have kept their range healthy and producing well.
Which one would best know the land and what it can do?
Then along comes Joe College telling the rancher he must fence off a piece of his ground because they found some very rare and endangered “bug-eared squirt weed.” Even though it is classified as a noxious weed, it must be protected from extinction no matter that it takes 47 acres away from the ranch allotment.
A case in point: A rancher took a look at a mile or so of fence on his BLM alottment. It was put up new about 60 years ago. He decided to put an all new, four wire, steel post fence. A BLM official whined about some gates the rancher was replacing and said, “The BLM doesn't want gates.” A counter-productive statement indeed, and we couldn't figure out what it meant anyway.
I mean, here's a rancher putting up a mile of new fence, replacing old fence that cows could just walk through anyway, and the BLM complains. Seems they just have to complain about something, don't they?
So, you see, I guess we all have to decide in our own minds who and what is essential and who and what is non-essential.
Have you hugged a farmer or rancher today? Well … at least tell him, “Thanks for helping feed my family.”
That's it for now folks. Thanks for listening.