Government Incompetency Affects Health & Well-Being

Believe it or not, farmers have lives that involve things other than crops and livestock. I often think of other thing besides pigs! After attending a Farm Bureau district policy meeting last night, I decided to change the focus of today’s blog to government incompetency.

I’m not saying all government workers are incompetent. I personally know many who are fantastic, bright people. However, the system – the bureaucracy – is so unbelievable!

Take healthcare for instance. Think of all the regulations tying your doctor’s hands. Can she treat you to the best of her ability, or does she need to second guess what the government will demand? Another issue that is impacting the elderly in our communities are new federal regulations that have reduced in-home assistance to residents over age 65. Just yesterday, a new article ran about the Franklin County Board of Health’s proposed fix to Elderly Waiver.

barn_flag_400Let’s not even talk about the banking industry! I might not have much money in the bank, but the business I do with my bank has gotten much more complicated.

At our last county Farm Bureau board meeting, local school superintendents shared with us their concerns for the coming school year. The common theme was government regulation and how it affects the teaching of my grandkids!

The superintendents also talked about bird flu because a county to our west is very heavy into poultry production. Millions of birds died from this disease, so we discussed this topic again last night. My “favorite” government agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), stepped up to the plate with all kinds of spur-of-the-moment rules as to how to deal with the bird flu situation here. In all its wisdom, the USDA decided to dig a deep and wide trench – one-half mile long – to bury millions of chickens on one farm. To make matter worse, this farm had drainage wells that had yet to be closed!!!

The USDA’s approach is quite different to our state’s approach. Iowa Department of Natural Resources posted these answered online to commonly asked questions about dead animal disposal:

Can I bury dead livestock?

Burial must be no greater than 6 feet deep with a minimum of 30 inches of soil cover. Burial must be in well drained soils and be at least 2 feet above the highest groundwater elevation. Burial must be at least 100 feet from a private well, 200 feet from a public well, 50 feet from an adjacent property line, 500 feet from a residence and more than 100 feet from a stream, lake or pond. Burial cannot be in a wetland, floodplain or shoreline area.

How many animals can I bury?

You may bury up to 44 butcher or breeding hogs, 7 slaughter or feeding cattle, 73 sheep or lambs, 400 poultry carcasses on any given acre per year.

This is just one example of how the federal government isn’t taking the appropriate steps to prevent the spread of disease from one farm to another. Last night a couple of farmers, who had returned from a study trip abroad, told about the lack of follow up after their farm visits. Upon returning to the States, they filled out custom cards declaring they had been on farms in other countries. However, they were not checked any further. Was I not just talking about millions of livestock dying from disease?

Do these government officials even know what to look for? Do the people sitting behind desks in Washington, D. C., writing rules for the EPA know anything about the water flow on my farm? They haven’t been out to ask me, but I’ll bet they have a computer model made that looks just like my farm. It was probably made by the same computer that made Mr. Gores’ Climate Warming model!

As I have written many times in the past, whom we elect make a difference. Study the issues. Listen to the candidates. And vote!