- Editor's Note -

Hello! Hello! Are you there? Hello!

By Amanda Huber

 
Over the last nine years, I have read a lot of Dr. Seuss books. As difficult as it may be, I have come to enjoy reading these tongue-twisting books to my girls – over and over and over. Somehow putting this issue of Peanut Grower together reminded me of a catchy rhyme from Dr. Seuss’ book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.”

It went like this: “Hello! Hello! Are you there? Hello! I called you up to say hello. I said hello. Can you hear me, Joe?”

Except when it ran through my head just now, I replaced “Joe” with “Tom,” as in Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vislack. Just in this one issue of Peanut Grower, there are three instances of the peanut industry and/or agriculture being ignored by USDA and the administration as if they couldn’t even hear us.

In News Brief, on the bottom left of page 5, you will see that agriculture has been left out of the Climate Change Bill, even though agriculture is said to be one of the “good guys” in our ability to trap carbon. On that same page, the Georgia Peanut Commission tried to get USDA to extend the deadline for crop insurance because planting was so late this year. The request was denied. Finally, a committee of industry people, put together by the American Peanut Council, has been trying to get USDA’s various agencies to purchase more peanut butter. You might have thought they would at least come to our aid during our crisis.
“I said hello. Can you hear me Tom?”

We spend a great deal of time trying to convince USDA and our government of things that we should never have to spend time doing. They should already be listening to what is needed in agricultural industries. Their mission is to “provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science and efficient management.” If you ask me, a leader who doesn’t listen to those being led is actually a dictator.

Maybe the reason can be explained in the end of the rhyme: “Oh, no. I can not hear your call. I can not hear your call at all. This is not good and I know why. A mouse has cut the wire. Good-by!”