A new year has begun, and with it, a new presidency – nothing new as that happens in America every four or eight years. But this time it’s something a bit different as this man has been a business owner, an investor in his personal livelihood just as you and I have been as farmers and business owners.

As Donald Trump begins his presidency, he is putting together advisors and selecting people to serve on various committees and boards. Just imagine you were him—what would be the qualifications you would demand of the people you will choose to be your advisors and in charge of the various departments, especially the big Agriculture bureaus?

In my mind, I picture a person who must have as their principal objective to promote the American dream of freedom which has pretty much been private ownership of land and business with a minimum of governmental interference.

It would be good if they had callouses on their hands from doing physical work, and knew what it was like to pitch manure day in and day out or pick bushels of green beans under a hot, blazing July sun.

But the reality is that in today’s world, even our farm children might ask what a pitchfork is when visiting an agricultural museum.

This person will have to realize that agriculture is complex. There will be many voices demanding this and that. He will have to sift through a lot of bull to get the real story. There are those who want laws that would make it more difficult for one sector of agriculture to prosper or sadly even to do business.

Somehow people involved in making agricultural policy have to be completely neutral and not create policies that promotes one sector over the other. Nor must they implement plans that appear to help one sector but is actually destroying it.

Sometimes I think the farm programs that come across benefiting the smaller farmer are doing more harm than help.
Agriculture itself is complex, but often times the policies it employs are discombobulating and are laughable.

Take margarine, for instance, made from edible oils sometimes combined with milk or cream. It has been around for a long time. Way back in 1885 to 1897, five states made laws requiring margarine to be colored pink. In 1920 three states prohibited the sale of margarine.

Now if you were a farmer in 1920 would you have rejoiced over that prohibition or been upset? Because more than likely your farm was diversified having both the dairy cows producing the cream to make the butter and growing the crops producing the edible oils.

Would you have been contributing money to both the dairy and edible oil lobbying groups that were warring against each other?

It seems to me that happens a lot in agriculture. Whoever is on the ag policy committees needs our prayers as they muddle through the many voices of agriculture.