The Reader’s Viewpoint

Intentions and consequences

First off, I’d like to say that unless and until a person has experienced a mass shooting where the shooter is yielding an assault rifle, I don’t think any of us has a clue. Yes, we can have our opinions about what should or shouldn’t be done but we don’t really know what it was like for the people, especially children, who survived and are traumatized for life, or the grief that the families of the victims have to go through.

There has always been and will always be a percentage of the population dealing with mental illness, however it is a small percentage of them who commit crimes. If we want to help these people we need to stop cutting funding for mental health programs, which is what I see being reported.

If you really think a sign on the front door of a school stating that there are armed personnel inside will deter these killers like the POTUS does, you’d be sadly mistaken. They have no regard for human life, mine, yours or theirs, so the threat of being shot will not stop them for one second. For them, going out in a blaze of glory is just fine.

I fail to understand wanting or needing an assault rifle for any other purpose than to commit mass murder! Why make it so easy to legally obtain one? Just ban the damn things! Our politicians need to stop lining their pockets with money from the NRA and stand up to them.

Our forefathers would be horrified to know that this country markets weapons that slaughter our children when they go to school, but this is our reality.

Get involved, express yourself, and vote. These are our rights and duties as U.S. citizens, and they are the ones that make this country great along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; these are the ones that those who were massacred had taken away in the time it takes to pull a trigger.

Barbara A.S. Emineth

Laurel

Census of Agriculture: Your opportunity to shape the future

 

My husband and I live on a midsized farm in northwestern Minnesota, where we grow corn, soybeans, sugar beets, wheat, and alfalfa. Several of our grown children are farmers too, raising families and teaching them how to be competent, resourceful future farmers. We all rely on good policy that effectively keeps farms operational – especially young farmers who need startup capital and supportive risk-management tools. So every five years, my family does something very important for our farms and communities – we complete the Census of Agriculture. We do this because we want the census to show the value of the work we do and we want to be reflected in the data that can and probably will have an impact on the future of our operations.

Census data play a big role in a lot of areas but one that affects us all is the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill encompasses farm commodity support, crop insurance coverage and disaster aid, nutrition assistance, trade, research, rural development, and more. The most recent bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, expires this year. Policymakers will use Census of Agriculture data as a tool to help them address current and potential agriculture and food issues in the new bill. This is why it’s imperative that every U.S. farmer and rancher be represented. Our collective responses to the census mean accuracy and strength – it means better data.       

What did the last Census of Agriculture tell us? Here are some highlights: We know that 3.2 million farmers operated 2.1 million farms covering 915 million acres, generating food, fuel, and fiber for the rest of America and people around the world. This means that 40 percent of all U.S. land was farmland being worked by less than one percent of the total U.S. population in 2012. Of the 2.1 million farms, 97 percent were family-owned. Eighty-eight percent of all farms were small family farms. The last census also revealed an increase in women, Hispanic, Asian, and African American farmers, and that beginning farmers operated one quarter of all farms. What will the 2017 Census of Agriculture tell us? This year’s census aims to capture an even more detailed account of American agriculture with new questions about military veteran status, marketing practices, and the roles and contributions of individuals working the farm, including women and our next generation.

Though the first census response deadline has come and gone, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will follow-up with producers and collect data through spring to ensure as complete a representation of U.S. agriculture as possible. If you have not already responded, I urge you to do so. Our voices are only heard if we have the numbers behind them. I am a farmer, and I will continue to be counted because my family and our farms count.

For more information on the census and past census data, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov.

By Karolyn Zurn

Karolyn Zurn is First Vice President of American Agri-Women, a national association with more than 40,000 members nationwide.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961

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