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Strain response to presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s remarks on agriculture

February 17, 2020

Baton Rouge, La. (February 17, 2020) – A video of remarks made by presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg in 2016 regarding how to be a farmer has gone viral. In it, Bloomberg states, “I could teach anybody to be a farmer…you dig a hole, put seed in, put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You can learn that.”

In response to that statement, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said, “Mr. Bloomberg, your simplified comment on what it takes to be a farmer shows a true lack of knowledge of today’s farmers and the daunting tasks of feeding and clothing the world.

Farmers constantly deal with challenges during planting seasons – weather, disease and pests, equipment costs, and instability in the market place. They are required to understand the science of agriculture which involves chemicals to control disease and pests. They must adjust to weather conditions in which a flood, freeze or drought could wipe out a crop. To survive, they must also understand the business of agriculture.

Farmers are constantly looking for sustainable ways to work the land. A farmer is a steward of the land. They must protect their natural resources to maintain a productive crop.

Being a farmer is more difficult than just digging a hole. On this President’s Day, and as Dwight D. Eisenhower once said during a speech in Peoria, Illinois in 1956, ‘Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.’

There are no days off in farming. For many farmers, it is their passion. It is what they were born into. It is what they know. And for that, we should all be grateful. But by no means is it as easy as digging a hole.”