: The actual number of Farmers is a lot higher. See the bottom of this post.
I always thought that Timothy Egan
was a decent writer. His 2006 book The Worst Hard Time
was wonderful. His other books too. It turns out that he has a very strong Urban Blue-State bias and it influences his "reporting".
From the New York Times
Hicks Nix Climate Fix
Everybody loves a farmer, judging by the popularity of this year�s hit Super Bowl ad about the virtues of those who coax food from dirt. And yet nobody wants to be one, with less than 1 percent of the population claiming it as an occupation.
The correct number is 0.48% -- still, you are looking at 751,000 people employed
, no small number.
But somewhere among the 315 million Americans is a farmer who is (rarer still) a Democrat willing to serve President Obama. Should this person be found, he or she should be put in charge of the daunting task of convincing food producers that nothing imperils their future more than climate change.
I realize that summoning images of wilted wheat, lizard-skin ground and scrawny cattle nosing through drought-ravaged forage just a few days after a major winter storm is not the most timely approach. Whenever it snows over a large portion of the country, climate change-deniers point to the blanket of white outside and cry �hoax!�
This from someone who wrote a book on the Dust Bowl
? As for pointing to some snow, during last summer's huge drought, I posted this on July 5th: Weather is not climate
Please re-read that for one moment � yes, over 3,000 records broken. Of which 2,253 is for high temperatures and 936 for low temperatures. That is 70.65% of the records were high and 29.35% were for low. It's summer folks and we are setting records for low temperatures.
But with the announcement this week of the usual suspects of city-bred, East Coast, well-credentialed types to the cabinet-level team that Obama is assembling to fight climate change, it�s time to consider a farmer as a leader of that cause.
I would be very much in favor of that. Also, at a State level in California.
Farmers don�t care much for Obama, so why should he reach out to them? He lost the rural vote by almost 20 points. And among big farmers (I�m talking productivity here, not bib overall size), he lost by 50 points. No surprise. Farmers haven�t had anything nice to say about a Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt was touring cornfields in his open-air car.
Because Farmers deal every day with "The Market" -- they understand how stupid political meddling from Washington can make or break their profits (and thence, their ability to make payroll, pay their taxes and bills, and maybe, make a little bit extra for themselves). Obama and his 'people' have never operated in the real world. They have never run a business, they have never had to make a payroll. They may be well educated but they are clueless when it comes to the real world.
The people who grow grain for breakfast cereal and raise pigs for prosciutto are also among the biggest deniers of the consensus scientific view that humans have altered the earth�s climate. While acknowledging that, yes, sir, the weather does appear to be changing for the worse, most farmers don�t think it is human-caused, according to several polls. You�d have to survey the leading talk-radio hosts to find a higher percentage of disbelievers of the obvious.
Climate scientists are all about computer modeling. They massage the data (just look at the emails from Climategate 1.0, 2.0 and recently 3.0), they cherry pick their data sources (Climategate again) and they use computer models that cannot predict the reality on the ground.
A farmer will have at least one weather station on their land and will connect online to the stations that their State ag. departments maintain. They know what the weather is like down to the tenth degree, they know the rain, they can plot the overall patterns. They do not depend on models, they do not publish forecasts based on models. Their understanding of the weather is based on factual observation.
At first glance, this makes no sense, because farmers have the most to lose in a world of weather havoc. Droughts, floods, searing high temperatures and freakish storms that now appear with regularity pose more of a threat to global food supply than the whims of the market. Weeds, pests and fungi � agricultural nightmares in a bundle � thrive under warmer temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels. Heat waves are livestock killers, increasing the prevalence of parasites and diseases.
Emphasis mine. Bzzzzzt -- you are dead wrong. We have always had droughts -- I remember reading one of your books on this very topic. Storms? Actually, the hurricane seasons have been steadily weakening over the last 20 years. Our sun is a variable star and we have always had warm and cold weather.
These horrors were highlighted in two recent government assessments of what climate change will mean to the nation�s breadbasket. And since American exports supply more than 30 percent of all wheat, corn and rice on the global market, what�s bad for the fertile crest of the United States is bad for a planet with seven billion people to feed.
Pure conjecture based on computer models. A lot of people are now looking at Dr. James Hansen's temperature predictions from his initial papers back in 1988 and comparing them to the climate today. Not even close...
So, why the denial? Cost. Any fix in the sticks is likely to hit farmers hard, because they use a disproportionate amount of the fertilizers, chemicals and fossil fuels that power the American agricultural machine, and are likely to come under increased regulation.
Emphasis mine -- is it just me or is anyone else having a problem parsing this sentence. So machinery manufacturers are going to use the "fertilizers, chemicals and fossil fuels that power the American agricultural machine
". Automobile manufacturers? Doctors? Of course farmers use these. It's a cost of doing business and new and cheaper materials, techniques and fertilizers are becoming available every day -- some things get cheaper, some things get more expensive and occasionally, a game-changer will appear. An overall increase in temperature of 2�C by 2100 is not going to have any effect on day to day operations and this increase, 2�C by 2100 is what the IPCC is predicting will happen in their latest assessment.
I am only about two thirds through Egan's diatribe but you get my drift.
Timothy -- shame on you!
: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 number of Agricultural Workers
on farms is 757,900 -- close to the 751,000 people I cited in the 2010 US Census report. There is, however, another category for Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers
clocking in at 1,202,500 people.
'Other Agricultural Managers' would cover people who rent and farm land owned by someone else.
This makes a total of 1,960,400 or 1.27% of the US labor force.
This does not count all of the tractor salesmen and mechanics, fertilizer salesmen, County Agriculture agents, seed salesmen, feed store employees, dairy equipment manufacturers, feed lot operators, fence and orchard contractors, irrigation equipment salesmen, etc. These jobs fall outside the scope of the 1,960,400 direct Farm employees or owners.