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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (March 21, 2018)
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
KATHRYN B. BROWN
Opinion Page Editor
Founded October 16, 1875
Ag Week: Farmers have strong impact
Each American farmer feeds more
than 144 people — a dramatic increase
from 25 people in the 1960s. Quite
simply, American agriculture is doing
more and doing it better. As the world
population soars, there is an even greater
demand for the food and fiber produced
in this country.
For 45 years, National Ag Day has
recognized and celebrated the abundance
provided by American agriculture.
Each spring, producers, agricultural
associations, corporation, universities,
government agencies and others across
the country join together in recognition
— and appreciation — of agriculture in
our country. This year it was officially
But we’re preaching to the choir here
in farm country about the work farmers
do to keep us well fed at an affordable
price.We also know how they support
their communities, purchasing equipment
and donating to a wide variety of good
causes. But on National Ag Day, we
learned plenty of information we didn’t
know, and we decided to share some
from the National Agriculture Council
Did you know?
• Hamburger meat from a single steer
will make about 720 quarter pound
hamburger patties. That’s enough for a
family of four to enjoy hamburgers each
day for nearly six months.
Courtesy Audra Mulkern
Kylie Gray of Gray Girl Farms in Othello, Wash, balances being a farmer and a mom.
• Straight from the cow, the
temperature of cow’s milk is about 97
• Farmers and ranchers provide food
and habitat for 75 percent of the nation’s
• An acre of trees can remove about 13
tons of dust and gases every year from
the surrounding environment.
• Americans eat about 125 pounds of
potatoes a year, about half from fresh
potatoes and half in processed foods.
• Onions contain a mild antibiotic that
fights infections, soothes burns, tames
bee stings and relieves the itch of athletes
• One bushel of corn will sweeten
more than 400 cans of pop.
• A family of four could live for 10
years off the bread produced by one acre
• Each American consumes, on
average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
• Heart valves from hogs are used to
replace damaged or diseased human heart
• One acre of soybeans can produce
• One bale of cotton can produce 1,217
men’s T-shirts or 313,600 $100 bills.
• Honeybees must tap 2 million
flowers to make one pound of honey.
Each worker honey bee makes 1/12th
teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
• Cotton is a food crop. Almost 200
million gallons of cottonseed oil are
used in food products such as margarine
and salad dressing. Cottonseed and
cottonseed meal are used in feed for
livestock and poultry. And even products
such as toothpaste, ice cream, and the
paper money used to buy them contain
by-products of the cotton seed.
• It takes just 40 days for most
Americans to earn enough money to pay
for their food supply for the entire year.
In comparison with the 129 days it takes
the average American to earn enough
money to pay federal, state and local
taxes for the year.
• More than 96 billion pounds of
edible “surplus” food is thrown away in
the U.S. Each year. It is estimated that
almost 27 percent of our food supply is
What holds America together
BMCC ag connects
industry to education
By ANNE LIVINGSTON
Blue Mountain Community College
griculture is a big player in the
eastern Oregon economy. More
than 37 percent of the workforce
in Umatilla County is either directly or
indirectly employed by the agriculture
industry. And farm sales in Umatilla County
exceed $1 billion annually. As the industry
continues to grow and become more
producers are finding that
working together with a
local community college
is a wise investment in
fortifying their employee
teams. The Blue Mountain
works closely with
the eastern Oregon and southeastern
Washington region’s ag industry.
Training and education is built to suit the
needs of agriculture. In the last year, crop
producers, irrigation specialists, suppliers
and others have worked with BMCC to
provide a series of short workshops in
specialty areas to advance the knowledge
and skills of those already in the workforce.
Eight workshops were developed on
topics ranging from agricultural safety to
soils, irrigation design to base stations and
controls, moisture monitoring and remote
sensing to managing crop production
through proper use of irrigation technology.
One workshop focused on welding.
The workshops were scheduled through
November and February on Fridays for four
The format of these workshops met
the industry need both in length and the
“offseason” time of year.
Each of the four workshops in February
were delivered using Internet technology
(Zoom) which allowed students to benefit
from the classes without having to travel.
Students ranged in age from 16-75 and
participated from as far away as Parma,
Idaho, and Othello, Wash. Most workshops
averaged 18 participants.
BMCC has plans to
continue these workshops.
And with continued
input from ag industry
managers and their
BMCC ag advisory
board, plans to expand
the curriculum to include
more topics and students
In the meantime,
BMCC’s Precision Irrigated Agriculture
Facility, located on the Oregon State
University Hermiston Agricultural Research
and Experiment Center, and the Facility for
Agricultural Resource Management on the
BMCC Pendleton campus has traditionally
formatted courses that focus on a long
list of agricultural topics. Traditional and
nontraditional students know that BMCC
is connected with industry employee
managers, and BMCC is connecting these
students with the education they need to
keep up with an agriculture industry that is
changing every day.
Anne Livingston is the director of
Marketing for Blue Mountain Community
College in Pendleton.
Farm sales in
Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the
East Oregonian editorial board. Other
columns, letters and cartoons on this page
express the opinions of the authors and
not necessarily that of the East Oregonian.
ast week I went to Houston
Americans had no way to see how
to see the rodeo. That rodeo
their daily exertions contributed
is not like other rodeos. It’s
to a common spiritual cause. They
gigantic. It goes for 20 days. There
saw no way to achieve individual
can be up to 185,000 people on the
salvation through community effort.
grounds in a single day and they are
America has created a brilliant
of all human types — rural ranchers,
political constitution, Whitman
Latino families, African immigrants,
wrote. It has amassed untold wealth.
drunken suburban housewives out
But it has not created a democratic
for a night on the town.
Brooks culture that captures, celebrates
and ennobles the way average
When you are lost in that sea of
Americans live day to day.
varied humanity, you think: What
“The problem of humanity
on earth holds this nation together?
all over the civilized world is social and
The answer can be only this: Despite our
differences, we devote our lives to the same religious, and is to be finally met and treated
experiment, the American experiment to
by literature.” When there is no common
draw people from around the world and to
sense of mystical purpose, you end up with
create the best society ever, to serve as a
alienation, division, distrust, “universal
model for all humankind.
ennui,” a loss of faith in the American
Unity can come only from a common
project. “Never was there, perhaps, more
dedication to this experiment. The
hollowness at heart than at present, and here
American consciousness can be formed
in the United States,” he observed.
only by the lab reports we give one another
Whitman was not, however, pessimistic.
about that experiment — the jeremiads,
He had worked as a nurse during the Civil
speeches, songs and conversations that
War, watching men recover and die, and the
describe what the experiment is for, where
experience had given him illimitable faith
it has failed and how it should proceed now. in the goodness of average citizens. Average
One of my favorites of these lab reports
American soldiers showed more fortitude,
is Walt Whitman’s essay “Democratic
religious devotion and grandeur than all the
Vistas,” published in 1871. The purpose of
storybook heroes, he wrote. They died not
democracy, Whitman wrote, is not wealth,
for glory, nor even to repel invasion, but out
or even equality; it is the full flowering of
of gratitude to have been included in the
individuals. By dispersing responsibility to
American experiment. They died “for an
all adults, democracy “supplies a training
emblem, a mere abstraction — for the life,
school for making first class men.” It is
the safety of the flag.”
“life’s gymnasium.” It forges “freedom’s
Whitman spent his life trying to
athletes” — strong and equal women,
spiritualize democratic life and reshape the
courageous men, deep-souled people
American imagination, to help working
capable of governing themselves.
people see the epic heroism all around them
Whitman had hoped that the end of
that unites the American spirit.
the Civil War and Lincoln’s sacrificial
He didn’t mind a little healthy rudeness,
death would bring the nation together.
what we would call the politically incorrect.
But instead there was corruption,
He thought that the cause of democracy is
division, demoralization and inequality.
sometimes aided not by “the best men only,
For Whitman, America’s great foe was
but sometimes more by those that provoke
feudalism, the caste structure of Europe
it — by the combats they arouse.”
that Americans had rebelled against, but
And above all, he pointed out that the
that always threatened to grow back: “Of
American experiment is young. It is just
all dangers to a nation, as things exist in
getting started. “Thus we presume to write,
our day, there can be no greater one than
as it were, upon things that exist not, and
having certain portions of the people set
travel by maps yet unmade, and a blank.
off from the rest by a line drawn — they
But the throes of birth are upon us.” True
not privileged as others, but degraded,
democracy is still in the future.
humiliated, made of no account.”
So much of what he wrote rings true
Whitman feared economic and social
today: the need to see democratic life as
feudalism, but above all he detested
an exhilarating adventure, the terrible
cultural and moral feudalism. He believed
damage done when you tell groups that
that writers, artists, musicians, poets
they are of no account, the need for a
and preachers were the real legislators
unifying American mythos, the power of
of mankind, and in America they were
culture to provide that mythos and, above
detached from the nitty-gritty American
all, the reminder that this is still early days.
We’re still a young country. The times may
experience. They still looked back to
be discouraging, but the full strength of
Europe — to the parlor, the perfumed
American democracy is still waiting to be
courtier and the spirit of gentility — for
their models of character, manners and
education. They looked down on America’s
David Brooks became a New York Times
That left a spiritual vacuum, he believed. Op-Ed columnist in 2003.
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