Lee Pitts: Our time has come | TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: Our time has come

“Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.” – Anonymous

In his excellent book, “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell shows how becoming super rich has as much to do with timing as it does anything else. For example, 14 of the richest men who ever lived were all born within nine years of one another. Rockefeller, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Philip Armour were all born at nearly the same time and this allowed them to participate in “the greatest transformation in history.”

Fast forward to today and you have the exact same thing happening. One could argue that we are living through “the greatest transformation in history” in which the computer has reshaped the world. It’s not just a coincidence that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both born in the same year (1955). Gladwell lists another chunk of the 75 richest men who ever lived and they all happened to be born in the mid 1950s. If they’d have been born in the 1940s they’d have never used a computer in school, and if they’d have been born in the ’60s the easy gold had already been found!

I believe that we in agriculture are on the cusp of another period that historians may one day point to as the “greatest transformation in history.” At least we’d better be. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but this world of ours is getting pretty crowded. And I’m not just talking about the aisles of Walmart on the day Social Security checks arrive. I think there are several great fortunes about to be made in cow chips, not computer chips. After all, people are going to need food a lot more than they do Windows 7, Facebook friends or an iPad. And I say – it’s about time!

I’ve long felt that we have it backwards and that the farmer who works a 168-hour work week should make more money than the commodities broker who sells corn he wouldn’t know how to grow, or even recognize if he drove past an Iowa field of it. After all, who should profit most, the hedge fund trader who produces nothing of value, or the farmer who grows foods that sustains life? One day a hungry world will wake up and the 82-year-old multibillionaire futures trader with the 28-year-old girlfriend who lavishes his money on liberal causes (George Soros) will one day be replaced on the Forbes 400 by an Indiana or California farmer, who will then celebrate by buying his wife of 40 years a brand new dishwasher to make her life a little easier.

Ranchers who feed folks deserve to make more money than the government bureaucrats and environmental lawyers who are trying to stop them. It’s just not right that the paper-pushers in soft shoes are paid more money per year than the hard working ranchers they are over-regulating. Cowboys ought to be paid more than the CEOs and lawyers of groups like the Sierra Club, Earth First and PETA because they’ve done far more for the environment, and for the welfare of animals. The next batch of billionaires for sure will own lots of stock… of the four-legged variety.

Large animal veterinarians deserve to make more money than NFL lineman because they get hit just as hard and don’t wear any pads. And they’ve actually graduated from college! Cattle feeders ought to make more money per animal for owning it for 120 days than the trader who owns it 20 minutes. And the trucker who delivers a load of cattle from King City, CA, to North Platte, NE, much faster than the Post Office can send a letter over the same distance, ought to at least make as much money as the retired Postal Service employee does each month.

It’s just not right that celebrities make more in a minute doing a milk commercial than those prisoners of lactation, the dairymen, do in a year. And while we’re on the subject of slave labor, journalists who write about cows for a living ought to make at least as much as “reality TV” script writers! Okay, so now I’m getting greedy. But I’m telling you, my farm and ranch friends – our time has come!


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Lee Pitts

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