The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to everyone in western Illinois.
As I write this, the snow flakes are coming down at a fairly lively pace. The weatherman sez it won't amount to much, however. Let's hope he's right and by the time you read this, we'll all know whether he was or not.
Much talk has been spent, this past week, on the high prices paid for land at recent auctions. Most folk are satisfied when a "local" purchaser ends up with a tract of land. The sour note comes in when the land is purchased by some one or some entity many miles and/or several states away.
Capital is the "life blood' of any community when a local farmer draws attention to a far away investor to bid on land, he actually is invite'n the landlord's share of the crop to flow out of the community the land is located in. Be that in the form of crop-share lease or as is most commonly the case, a cash rent lease.
The local farmer most generally has the high hopes of cash renting the farm back from the new owner, in return for locate'n the land for the new owner. Frequent as not, the lease only lasts for awhile. Then the rent is either raised or the landlord rents to a new tenant for a new higher rate.
Frequently the new tenant is from another far off community, who may already be renting land in his community from the land speculator. Now both the landlord's and tenant's share of land's earnings leave the community.
Ultimately the community withers away. Capitol or money is not available for churches, civic organizations, local shops, banks to be loaned back out into the community, etc. etc. The closing of the implement store up north in Stronghurst, might be an example. Jobs are lost, forcing folk to travel elsewhere for employment and other needs.
Some have it that those folk selling the soul of their community are "Pimps". But, that is too strong of assessment, in my mind.
Others have it that those that sell their community, or other's community to outsiders are "greedy". Greedy because farming 2,000, 3,000, 5,000, and even 15,000 acres of land is not enough for them. They are always wanting more, even if'n they have to symbolically "slit someones throat" to get it. That's a fairly harsh assessment also, in my mind.
The large and/or larger farmer shrugs off the entire matter, especially if'n he lives outside the community, by state'n those that speak ill of him are "only jealous".
Give'n half a chance and they would jump at the opportunity for further growth. There is probably some truth in that as I have seen some of those complainers jump at the chance for growth, by any means, when give'n one-half opportunity. But again, to say all such concerns are motivated by jealousy is probably too harsh, as well.
I attended the funeral of a well-known farmer recently who was also a good friend. As I observed him in his over 50 years of farming, his ideals changed from beginning to end such that at any given time he could be placed in one of the aforementioned categories. Call them for ease of identification "pimp", "covetousness" "gossip' or "jealousy", he fit them all at one time or another, during his lifespan.
In fact, while the funeral service was "eulogizing" him, I felt compelled to stand up, walk forward, and look into the casket to see if'n perhaps I wasn't at the wrong person's funeral. They shore enough had some nice things to exagerate about on him, even if'n some if it weren't true. It mostly, however, wasn't the man I knew.
Maybe that's what it's all about. When you cash in, have'n surrounded yourself with some nice folk who will say complimentary, albeit untrue or leastwise half truths, at your funeral or memorial service. I'm a hope'n that's not true, either.
What I did notice, however, was the lack of possessions he had, laying there in that box. No big tractors or equipment, no money, no vacation home or fancy vehicle, no power or authority. Only his clothes and a fancy box, all to be buried in the same size plot of ground next to his neighbor who had nothing accumulated upon his demise.
His rented land was being sought after quickly after he died and before he was buried. Whatever else he had accumulated was now going to someone, somewhere else. His sacrifice, hard work, conniving, neglect of family, alienation of competing farmers, etc. etc. was all for the fruits of others now.
He went to his just reward, irregardless of the flowery speeches given at his funeral. What that "just reward" is I'll dare not venture a guess-for we are "not to judge".
In the meantime, it might do well for all of us folk to diligently do some self-examine'n-myself included.
If'n we find some deficiencies, let's try and correct'em on this side of the grave whilst there is yet time available.
It might do well to reflect on this seriously.
Catch ya Later,