Joni Ernst's "I've castrated pigs" campaign ad for Iowa's U.S. Senator seat was dynamite! Her agrarian thinking blew away her opponent Bruce Braley, the heir-apparent, four-term U.S. congressman.
Filmed in front of a neighbor's pigs, Ernst said: "It's a mess, dirty, noisy and it stinks. No, not these pigs – Washington, D.C. And when I get to Washington, I'll know how to cut pork."
Then came the punchline: "Washington is full of big spenders. Let's make 'em squeal."
Ernst had professional experience as an auditor. But her keen farm-steeped common sense and sense of humor got her elected.
Come January, Senator-to-be Ernst will get a chance to start cutting pork. But she'll need a lot of help from legislators with the same common sense and values.
10 farm lessons to teach your reps
So maybe you should pull aside your U.S. Senator and Congressperson, for a few tips on farmer-think. For instance ...
1. Overspending isn't an option – unless you're God. While some political animals may think they are, they're far from it. You need to hold them accountable – hold their feet to the fire. I can smell the bacon already! In 2013, U.S. government reportedly spent $3.7 trillion on government programs – over budget by $642 billion!
2. Agriculture and other industries produce real products and jobs. Uncle Sam is a "net-income-loss" employer, meaning it spends and takes opportunities away from private industry.
3. Even the boss of the farm gets no automatic salary increase. In fact, his pay gets cut when profitability slides into the red – or he gets fired.
4. Budgets, nasty as they are, must cash flow – without borrowing more to cover losses. No budget – no business. It's that simple.
5. Sound farm businesses lay cash reserves back for emergencies. Yes, that's unheard of today in Washington.
6. Cost-benefit ratios for every farm business change must pencil out in black ink, not just feel-good or social value. Social programs must do the same. Cull unproductive cows!
7. The best farmers are exceptional at price negotiation – dickering. Whether its toilet seats and hammers, any agency paying more than retail prices ought to be smacked on its hands or head for it.
8. Every successful business must meet annual performance goals. Uncle Sam should not be excepted.
9. Your farm business must thrive before you can. That's a clear priority that elected officials would do well to follow.'
10. Finally, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Federal employees (including elected officials) should be subject to the same health care packages as the rest of us. That, alone, would trim billions from spending.
What farm lessons would you add to this list? Hit the "comment" button below and share your thoughts.