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More of what keeps farmers up at night

TAGS: Farm Life
JIm Watson/AFP/Getty Images Donald Trump and Joe Biden
Survey comments show a nation deeply divided over how Biden, Trump, would impact agriculture.

We got a lot of response from last week’s blog, What keeps farmers up at night. But we barely skimmed the surface in sharing your responses.

We asked that question in our nationwide poll and garnered over 800 responses. Grain markets and debt topped the list, followed by health, weather, COVID concerns, and politics. And 15% of you said you sleep like a baby, which is encouraging.

Many of you expressed worry about going out of business. That was no surprise when we offered the survey in July, but my, how times have changed since then. Grain prices rallied some 20% since the end of the 2nd quarter and government ad hoc checks have rolled in to farmer bank accounts. So, I’m hoping that the folks who were worried now see a more positive future.

Farm nation deeply divided

Perhaps more interesting is what we take away from the deeply divisive political feelings that smolder throughout farm country. Overall, our poll showed that farmers support President Trump by a wide margin. But individual comments show something else: rage, fear, uncertainty – in general, a group of folks who have come unglued at the very idea that the other party may soon take control in Washington. These responses paint a picture of how polarized our nation has become.

These comments will rile people up. They will test your ‘confirmation bias.’ What’s that? My dictionary defines confirmation bias as the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories. Confirmation bias is a major issue when we get all our news from social media sites. We all have friends who feel compelled to share news links that only agree with (confirm) their political views. I guess they believe they are changing peoples’ minds (they don’t). But confirmation bias can make people less likely to engage with information which challenges their views. Closed minds become more closed, and we all become more divided.

Who wants our nation to remain divided? Not me.

So, what keeps farmers up at night? Here’s what folks told us, in your own words:

“Having an incompetent, narcissist spoiled brat, corrupt person in the White House.”

“Dems attempt to take over U.S. government.”

“Conman Trump’s stupidity.”

“…the far left liberal socialist agenda being promoted worries me.”

“Mr. Trump’s stupidity.”

“If Joe Biden gets in office it is the end of the U.S. as we know it.”

“No leadership from Washington, D.C. A president that says nothing but 100% lies. The republications should be ashamed they let the worst president in history 100% destroy everything the United States stands for.”

“The democrats gaining control of our country. They will do and lie about anything to gain control.”

Moving on.

Tell us what you really think

There’s something about this survey that makes people let down their guard. Sort of like when the stranger sitting next to you on the plane starts unloading his secrets. A lot of people blamed everyone else for their worries. And a handful just called it like it is:

“Farmers pretend to be conservative but are constantly looking for and promoting every government handout they can get.”

Ouch.

‘It’s just life!’

But, it wasn’t all negative. As I said earlier, a lot of folks sleep like a baby. And others were just simply content, expressing an inner peace driven by faith, experience, or some other secret sauce.

For all the fear and anxiety we faced in 2020, there is optimism in farm country.

“Bills and completing everything that needs to be done the next day, but my Christian faith keeps me going and happy.”

“I farmed through and survived the 1980s near bankruptcy. I’ve been divorced twice, buried my parents and a sibling, been estranged from a son for 15 years and now enjoy few things better than watching a fresh sunrise from our home’s deck with a nice, hot coffee. My spirit is strong and my faith stronger!”

“If tomorrow we all were to wake up purple instead of black, white, red, or yellow, life would go on. Children need to go to school, people go to work, and recognize that life will never be perfect. It's just life!”

What keeps you up at night? Let me know at mike.wilson@farmprogress.com. I promise to keep your name out of future posts.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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