The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois.
I'm a hope'n the Good Lord has blessed you this past week and that you are all satisfied with your lot.
I met my good friend, Cornelius Farkward, coming out of the drug store last week loaded down with a basket full of cards.
Now ole Cornelius has got his fingers inna' lotta' pies (involved in many endeavors), so I figures he must be buying cards for some August get together he was a haven', down on the farm out back near his nice farm lake.
No, sez Cornelius, "You got me figured wrong. These are not invitation cards, but on the contrary, they are a combination of sympathy cards, congratulation cards, and thank you cards."
Well, that seemed like quite a strange combination to me. Upon proper inquiry, Cornelius explained it to me this way.
The thank you cards was a going to all of the members of the Grocery Manufacture Association (GMA), The National Livestock pork and beef associations, and the conservation groups for the part they played in beat'n prices down to near the cost of production.
He figured their public relations smear campaign was successful in their goal of pressuring the markets down ward and preventing the government from releasing Conservation Reserve acres (CRP).
By his way of figuring, those folks saved him from the burden of a heavy income tax load, come next year.
Cornelius was a plannin' on buying some farm machinery for this fall and his wife was hesitant. That matter was settled with lower prices. No family fuss'n now. Not only did that bunch save him on taxes and machinery expenses, but they now allow him the opportunity to help the local banker in the form of more loans for the increased cost of inputs for next year.
That a-way, now, he won't have to worry about the local bank getting in trouble, as he has been readn' about in the National news. A big congratulation card goes to the banker and fertilizer companies.
Also, Cornelius said, a big thank you goes to his high priced marketer and magazine and economists who predicted $10/bushel corn. If'n it wouldn't have been for them, he reasoned, he might have been foolish and forward sold some $7 and $8 corn.
That would have made his neighbors look bad and might have given him the big head, about this time. Who knows, he might have done something foolish like investing in the local community or a charitable organization.
"Cornelius", I sez, "I'm not sure in' I follows you in your thought pattern, but what is the congratulation cards for?"
"Well," he sez, "Just because I live where the hoot-owls roost with th' chickens an' th' women cut th' wood" (rural and sparsely populated), it don't mean we here abouts can't express dismay at those who has won honors.
"For example, Corporate Accountability International recently awarded ADM an honored place in the Corporate Hall of Shame. Not only does that merit a great big congratulation card, but they also get a thank you card for their membership in the Grocery Manufactures Association and the part their involvement may have played in beat'n prices down.
"A second congratulation card goes out to ADM and Cargill for convincing the producer this price decrease was all in his best interest and the producer should reward them and all the GMA membership for their best efforts, by continuing to sell to them and helping to fill their coffers."
By this time I challenged Cornelius a little bit, on his line of thinking. But, he gave an answer to me.
He sez: "Do you remember that time my old cantankerous bull got me down and mauled me something awful?"
"Yes I do," I sez. "It put you in the hospital for near the whole winter. We was a fear'n for a spell, you might not make it."
"Well," sez Cornelius. "Do you remember I kept that bull around for his natural cycle and it was because I felt after the mauling he gave me, I had a personal relationship with him. It wasn't his fault he was a little rough for my size. So, that's how I view ADM, Cargill and others in the Grocery Manufactures Association, on the part they played with the GMA. It wasn't their fault it got a little rough for my size!"
By now I am beginning to see his reasoning.
"But, what about those sympathy cards? Who are they for?"
"They are for two groups," he sez. "One group is all those folks who are going to make big bucks off the farmers. Those whose prices have risen for crop inputs and those who gain from fall'n commodity prices. Think of all the taxes they will have to pay," he sez in sympathy!
"A special sympathy card goes to ADM because for the quarter ended June 30, 2008 they only made $372 million. That's down from $955 million in the year-ago quarter.
"My goodness," sez Cornelius, "I'm sympathetic to anyone making millions one year and having to adjust to a decrease the next! Especially from a company that could sell two milkin' machines to a farmer with one cow, and then take the cow as a down payment. Why," he sez, "Their officers might feel guilty receiving their millions in salary. No one should have to feel that-a-way!"
By this time I was totally confused by my ole friend. It appeared to me he was a tryn' to make a silk purse outta' a sow's ear. I tells him, "It seems you has put two an' two together and got five," in your logic."
But, on the other hand, maybe Cornelius has the right attitude on these falling prices.
Hatin' is kinda' like burning down your house to kill a rat. At least he's try'n to put a positive twist to it all.
You all keep cool!
Catch ya later