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14 August 2009 - Yes, I am in a Corporate Pocket

After reading the many e-mails I received from those of you who responded to my request a few weeks ago to tell me why you are ‘for" or "against" a National Animal Identification program, I found some interesting conclusions.

Number 1 - There is certainly no question that a lot more of you are against a National Animal I.D. Program than are for it. Many of you took real issue with me for my support of the program. The main reason for your opposition expressed over and over again....you don't trust the U.S. Government. One cattlemen put it this way "Government is far too involved in my business now and I don't want Big Brother looking over my shoulder and running my livestock operation."

Another conclusion - Many of you don't like agribusiness corporations. Several of you said "Samuelson, you are in the pocket of corporations, and that means you cannot be a friend of family farmers or ranchers."
Obviously, I do not agree with either of those charges; I am not in the pocket or under the control of corporations and I think I do support family farmers and ranchers. Oh, there is one exception on the corporation issue and I'll share that in a moment.

It's not my job to defend or condemn corporations, but I do have some questions for those of you who think they are evil and I'm interested in your response.

Without corporations, who would manufacture the tractors, combines and other equipment or provide the seed genetics, fertilizer, fuel and other inputs needed by farmers and ranchers today? Without corporations, who would transport your livestock or grain to market? Without corporations, who would take steers, hogs and milk and convert them into packaged, easy-to-prepare, food products to be enjoyed by consumers. Without corporations, who would take a bushel of Iowa corn or a bushel of Kansas wheat and get it to a buyer in Asia or Europe? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Now, the one exception...I am totally in the pocket of one corporation, OMAX Communications. The corporation is owned jointly by Max Armstrong and me and it produces our radio and television shows, as well as this column. It is the one corporation that puts a paycheck in my pocket every week.

So yes, I am deeply in the pocket of that corporation. Come to think of it, I also depend on the corporations that manufacture the radio/TV equipment as well as those that own the stations and newspapers that broadcast our programs and print our columns. Despite their faults, I think our lives would be much more difficult today without corporations.

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