Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg suffered an embarrassing blow earlier this week as past footage revealing his true thoughts on farmers’ intelligence surfaced, but American growers’ resilience amid worldwide crop failures proves this city slicker has no idea what he’s talking about.
Bloomberg made his original comments at a 2016 appearance at the University of Oxford.
“I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg said then. “It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that.”
According to the former New York City mayor, thriving in a modern economy takes a bigger brain — something he implied farmers and other blue-collar workers don’t have.
“Now comes the information economy, and 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,” he said. “You have to have a different skill set.”
“You have to have a lot more gray matter.”
Recent events prove Bloomberg couldn’t be more wrong.
Technically, the former mayor is right about one thing — just about anyone can be trained to dig a hole and plant a seed. But as Bloomberg may not be aware, a farmer’s job is about more than planting seeds.
After a crop has been sown, it’s a farmer’s job to make sure the growing plants have the best environment possible. This means, among other things, measuring and predicting rainfall to calculate how much irrigation needs to be done.
Even if the farmer does this perfectly, the ever-present threat of natural disasters remains a major challenge.
Australian growers walloped by drought and wildfires know this challenge all too well, with crop outputs this year expected to be the lowest level ever recorded. Some will be able to pivot and survive this disaster, but many could still lose their farms.
Not everything can be solved with water, either.
Pests are a major problem in the agricultural industry, and effective management requires a knowledge of fungi, bacteria, viruses and insects that prey on plants.
Despite that knowledge, these plagues can still affect crops. African farms, for example, are currently being ravaged by voracious swarms of locusts that leave fields barren.
One of farmers’ worst adversaries remains incompetent government leaders.
Venezuelan farmers are working against shortages of fertilizer and other essential products thanks to a near-total collapse of the economy, which threatens to sink the struggling socialist even country further into starvation.
Thankfully, the American farmer enjoys a stable country with a rich history of growing knowledge. Our leaders understand the necessity of farmers, and give the growers tax breaks and programs to ensure even a string of lean years won’t wipe out American agriculture.
At a time when the American farmer is becoming one of the most important people in the world, the last thing we need is a president who looks down on them.
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