Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 29, 2000, Image 10

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    AlO-LanoMtor Farming, SrturJay, January 28, 2000
Sacrifices On The Altar
Of Political Expediency
Amid a lot of talk about urban development running over
America's farmland, a new study by Reason Public Policy
Institute (RPPI) reveals that farmland loss rates often have
more to do with governmental policies than urban sprawl.
Many governmental policies make farmland preservation
more problematic and economic survival on the farm more
difficult. While much farmland has been developed especially
in places like Southeast Pennsylvania, other lost farmland has
been converted to other "quality of life" uses such as parks,
recreational land, pastureland, and forests. Nationally,
according to RPPI, of the total decline in cropland between
1949 and 1992, less than 25% can be attributed to
urbanization. The remaining 75% were lost due to changes in
farming population and income.
RPPI argues that a number of poorly designed
governmental policies actually fuel the inefficient conversion
of farmland. Some of these policies include;
•Estate taxes which can prevent farming families from
keeping their land after the death of a parent;
• business-specific subsidies and tax-incentive
programs which distort market prices; and
• one-size-fits-all zoning rules that discourages flexible
development and increases the pressure to develop
outward, often at the expense of farmland.
Locally, Lancaster County has become a model for
preserving open space and farmland without the intrusive
restrictions on property rights. The creation of private land
trusts and conservation easements encourages the orderly
transfer of land from one generation to the next.
But we still believe the real salvation of farmland can come
only if and when farming is profitable to the operator of the
farm. Until this profitability is evident on the average farm, all
other remedies are simply sacrifices on the altar of political
4-H Day With the Lady Lions,
Bryce Jordan Center, Univer
sity Park, 2 p.m.
N.Y. State Farmers’ Direct Mar
keting Conference, Four
Points Hotel, Rochester, N.Y.,
thru Feb. 2.
Tioga County Dairy Day, Tioga
Fairgrounds, 11 a.m-2 p.m.
Turfgrass Management For Pro
fessionals, Berks County Ag
Center, Leesport, also Feb. 2,
3, and 4.
Beef Evaluation Meeting, Bern
ville Grange, 5:30 p.m. meal,
6:45 p.m. program.
Dairy Houses, Equipment Sys
tems Conference, Radisson
Penn Harris Hotel and Con
vention Center, Camp Hill,
thru Feb. 3.
Decisions 2000-Agricultural
Marketing Seminar, Days
Inn, Allentown.
Crop Meeting Series, Planter
Setup and Maintenance,
George V. Seiple And Son,
Easton, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Lancaster County Cattle Feed
er’s Day, Lancaster Farm and
Home Center, Lancaster, 8:30
a.m.-3:10 p.m.
Issues In Poultry Production
For the New Millennium, East
Hanover Township Municipal
Building, Shellsville, 10:30
a.m.-l:30 p.m., also Gratz
Fire Hall, Gratz, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Managing Market Risk, Clarion
County Extension Office,
Shippenville, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Beaver County Crops Day, Big
Knob Grange, 9:30 a.m.-3:15
Ag Small Business Institute,
Penn State Fruit Research
and Extension Center, Bigler
ville, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., also
Feb. 9, 16, and 23. Lebanon
County Soybean School, Leba
non Valley Ag Center, 9 a.m.-
3:30 p.m.
(Turn to Pago A3l)
I am tired of hearing the
same one-sided stories over and
over again relating to the dairy
The first is efficiency. Effic
iency is good, necessary and evi
dent. The blend price for order 2
in January 1979 was $11.49 per
hundred weight. According to
the Consumer Price Index,
$1149 in January 1979 would
To Look At Corn
Trivia Facts
Today’s modern corn farmer
can produce a bushel of corn
with less than two minutes of
labor using tractors and other
equipment, reports Robert An
derson, Lancaster County Ex
tension Agronomy Agent.
According to the Corn Book
published in 1956, early settlers
spent 10 to 12 hours to produce
each bushel of corn.
In 1904, The Book of Corn,
reported one man can easily
husk 50 to 55 bushels of corn a
day. To put some of these num
bers into perspective, in 1998
Lancaster County farmers grew
183,000 acres of corn with an av
erage yield of 133 bushels per
acre or about 24.339 million
bushels. Using the old methods
it would take 268 million hours
of labor to produce this corn. If a
man works 2,000 hours per year,
it would take 134,000 man years
to grow and harvest the corn
crop. However, with modern
technology and equipment, it
takes less than 370 man years of
work to produce the crop. That
is 133,630 man years of labor
saved with modern technology.
The number of workers re
quired just to husk the 1998 corn
crop between October and end
of December using 1904 meth
ods would be 5,642 people.
Today it takes about 4 hours to
grow and harvest 1 acre of corn
according to Penn State Agron
omy Guide.
To Consider These Thoughts
Herb Jordan, retired Poultry
Scientist, developed the follow
ing list of characteristics of suc
cessful farmers based on field
observations. These farmers:
List all tasks to do daily in prior
ity on a pad and then use it.
Convert fresh, wet manure to
high quality dry manure to re
place commercial fertilizer on
fields. Hire help selectively. Give
verbal, written or skill tests. Hire
< i J -*v»
♦ Farm Forum ♦
' '
< t- -if ‘
be over $28.00 in current value.
The fact that many can produce
milk for 1/2 this amount indi
cates a great improvement in
efficiency but certainly not in
real profit. If farm owners and or
grown children have to work on
the farm for nothing while the
wives work off the farm to pro
vide an income to live on, this
crosses the line from being effi
(Turn to Page A3O)
skillful, talented and genuine
people who like to work. Build a
team of people, animals, tools
and machines. Choose reliable
vendors, employees, buyers and
repairmen. Avoid errors in
aesthetics like flies, obnoxious
odors, dust, toxic gases and
noise. Avoid excessive payments
on interest on debt, insurance
premiums and taxes. Sort out
when buying what you want,
need or have to have. Shepherd
each farm enterprise to pay its
own way.
To Check on
Social Security Benefits
At least once every three years
you should check on your bene
fits estimate from Social Secur
ity, according to Dr. Robert
Thee, Multi-County Extension
Background Scripture:
Matthew 19:16 through 20:16
Devotional Reading:
Matthew 20:20-28.
The parable of the laborers in
the vineyard is one of those
gospel passages that has per
plexed some and agitated oth
ers. Some people have seized
upon it to claim that it sanctions
an employer doing whatever he
wants with his property. They
find it comforting for him to be
saying: “Am I not allowed to do
what I choose with what belongs
to me?” It is easy to see why this
should become the favorite Bible
verse for some people.
Others are equally incensed
because it purportedly under
cuts the premise of equal pay for
equal work. Women and ethnic
workers already feel that they
are victims of wage discrimina
tion and are shocked that Jesus
would tell a story that appears
to justify the entrepreneur’s
right to pay anyone what he or
she wishes.
The problem, however, is not
with the parable but with the
interpretation that people have
placed upon it. When I was a boy
I loved to put together picture
puzzles, but sometimes I tried to
force pieces into spaces where
they did not quite fit. People do
that with the Bible, too, forcing
interpretations where they just
don’t fit
A Heavenly Household
Jesus was not talking about
an earthly householder, but a
heavenly one In our society
much is based upon merit-being
paid on the basis of productivity,
time and effort. From that
standpoint, the parable would
appear to be unjust, someone
getting the same pay for a lot
less time and effort. But when
we come to God’s salvation,
grace, not merit, is the basis. In
the kingdom of God we are not
claiming just wages but God’s
mercy. God forbid that he should
give us what we have coming to
We may think that it is
unjust for God to give salvation
to the person who, after a life
time of godlessness, becomes
“converted” at the last minute.
According to human judgment,
it is unjust. That’s the way the
January 30,2000
Financial Management Agent.
To do this, get a Request for
Earnings and Benefit Estimate
Statement form from the Social
Security Administration. When
you receive your estimate, look
it over to see if their record of
your earnings matches yours. If
not, now is the time to get it cor
rected rather than after you
retire. With millions of ac
counts, mistakes can happen.
One person reported his earn
ings were credited to his twin
brother. Because he found out
about it early, it was easily cor
Feather Prof, 's Footnote:
“What lies behind us and what
lies before us are tiny matters
compared to what lies within
brother of the Prodigal Son felt.
He had stayed home and worked
hard for his father, while his
brother went off into the far
country and squandered his
inheritance is licentious living.
Now, however, the Prodigal Son
returns and his father throws a
party for him in celebration.
Where’s the justice in that?
Things Too Wonderful
It was much the same way
with Job. He is best known to us
as a man of great patience and
he was-up to a point. After a
while, however, Job became very
impatient and he challenges
God to come and explain him
self. When God appears he
responds in a way Job had not
anticipated; “Who is this who
darkens counsel by words with
out knowledge? Gird up your
loins like a man, I will question
you and you shall declare to me.
Where were you when I laid the
foundation of the earth? Tell me
if you have understanding.”
God’s answer to Job and to us is
that the divine mind cannot be
comprehended by mere mortals
and Job confesses: “Therefore I
have uttered what I did not
understand, things too wonder
ful for me, which I did not know,”
So, the grace of God is often too
divine for humans to compre
Unfortunately, we who are
totally dependent upon God’s
grace too often become resentful
when others are its beneficia
ries. As the George Arthur
Buttrick asks, “Why did the ear
lier workers not rejoice that the
man who had waited long in the
market place was now at peace,
with money to take home to his
family? Why did not the elder
brother rejoice that the prodigal
was now restored, set free from
the rags and hunger of the far
country? If you and I are so
dependent upon God’s grace,
why do we not rejoice when
someone else finds that same
The RSV renders Matthew
20:15: “Or do you begrudge me
my generosity?” A variant read
ing of this same verse is found in
a footnote: “Or is your eye evil
because I am good?” The evil eye
of which you need to beware is
the resentful, begrudging look
that comes from your own eye!
Lancaster Farming
Established 1955
Published Every Saturday
Ephrata Review Building
1 E. Main St.
Ephrata, PA 17522
Lancaster Farming, Inc.
A Steinman Enterprise
William J. Burgess General Manager
Everett R. Newswanger Editor
Copyright 2000 by Lancaster Farming