In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Feeling Down, On The Farm
It may shock you but Michigan actually has one growth industry. In fact over the last two years it has mushroomed by 12 percent which compared to the rest of the gawd-awful economy looks down right fantastic. Yet Michigan farmers get no respect as they are the Rodney Dangerfields of the state. Wayne Wood who runs the Michigan Farm Bureau scratches his head wondering why state lawmakers don't give farmers more love and why the governor wants to cut their budget? As with everything else in this town it boils down to crass politics. Years ago when farmers were 30 percent of the voting public, the industry got lots of attention. If a lawmaker corralled the farm vote, the politician had a good shot at being reelected and after all, that's what being a legislator is all about.
Wood now reports farmers make up only two percent of the population which means politicians can pretty much ignore them unless, of course, the lawmaker is a farmer and there they are few and far between nowadays. Compounding the farmers woes is term limits. Years ago, Wood smiles, "We had some real troopers in here for agriculture but now lawmakers are afraid to stand up for us." Of course if the farmers went on strike, or stormed the capitol demanding this and that, lawmakers would pay attention, but raising a ruckus is not in their DNA. Raising cattle, crops, and the like is. So while the auto guys, the green energy industry and the hi-techers gobble up all the attention in Lansing, the lonely farmer goes about the business of putting grub on our tables and with a 12 percent growth rate, they should be proud but don't look for any commemorative resolutions out of this bunch up here.