Members of the political class often simultaneously demonstrate ignorance and arrogance, but Michael Bloomberg’s comment about farmers takes him right to the top of that class.
The billionaire turned presidential candidate was recently quoted about statements he made at a forum at the University of Oxford in 2016 as saying: “I could teach anybody, even the people in this room, to be a farmer.”
Bloomberg went on to call agriculture “a process” where:
“You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”
The former New York City Mayor spoke similarly of factory jobs as mechanical repetition requiring little brainpower.
“You put the piece of metal in the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow, and you can have a job.”
Bloomberg then said working in the information economy is
“fundamentally different, because it’s built around replacing people with technology and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze. And that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter.”
Bloomberg could hardly show more ignorance of American farming if he tried. The mechanical expertise and technical knowledge required in present-day agriculture might surprise more than just this particular Democrat presidential candidate.
Raising crops today involves GPS guided tractors, remote-controlled irrigation, monitoring systems for maple orchards, drone surveillance for disease outbreaks in crops, and on and on. And yes, there are apps for everything,
I’m fortunate that my son has a diverse background in Agriculture and Information Technology. The latter turned out to be his adult passion after I encouraged him all through his childhood to pursue his dreams and to give his all to whatever career path he chose. Contrary to Bloomberg’s uneducated view of agriculture, bright farm-raised youngsters like my son make seamless transitions into IT. What Bloomberg fails to understand is that analytics and problem solving are an everyday part of farm life. Corn does not just grow itself. Producing a crop requires countless hours involving multiple tasks, hard work, constant monitoring while avoiding the many pitfalls that could do in delicate young plants.
American agriculture has met the challenge of implementing modern technological methods to raise crops to feed not only Americans but much of the world during a time of rising populations and diminishing farmland.
Given his political aspirations, Bloomberg might do well to ponder how many presidents have roots in agriculture, starting with Washington and Jefferson and more recently with Carter and Reagan. In 2016 rural America played a significant role in the election of our current President.
And Bloomberg might also be smart to reflect on some of the extensive agricultural wisdom that’s accumulated over time, to include this wise old adage: “Never criticize a farmer with your mouth full!”
by NH State Rep Howard Pearl (R – a real farmer in Loudon)