Farmers left hanging
THUMBS DOWN: It's disappointing that our government leaders in the House couldn't pass a 2012 farm bill before adjourning for five weeks. As Kevin Papp, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, put it this week, politicians are "burning daylight" when it comes to passing a bill. Leadership in the House must step up and bring it up for a vote ASAP, as time is winding down to its expiration at the end of September. The 2012 five-year farm bill is ready to be put up for a final vote with provisions that will make it easier for the next generation of farmers to take up farming; increase energy access in rural America; and ensure farmers will have the flexibility to grow a wide variety of crops without penalty or risking losing their insurance. The bill cleared the Senate and passed in bipartisan fashion through the House Agriculture Committee, so it's up to the House of Representatives to get this done. Until now, all it has done is put forward a one-year farm bill extension. Congress doesn't return from its break until Sept. 10, and with so much uncertainty surrounding this year's harvest and with the near inevitability of rising food prices, it's imperative Congress puts getting this bill passed on top of its priority list when it reconvenes.
THUMBS UP: They fly under the radar for the most part, but the volunteers at the Avera gift shop, thrift store and nursing home are truly deserving of the honor they received recently by the Avera Marshall Foundation, which has recognized the Auxiliary as its largest donor. Hats off to all those who put in dozens of hours of work every week to keep things running smoothly at these locations.
THUMBS DOWN: Enough with negative attacks already, Mike Parry. Parry, who is running in a primary for the right to face Congressman Tim Walz in the 1st District, criticized Gov. Mark Dayton for taking "15 to 16 pills" during a meeting. Dayton said the remark is in line with today's "gutter politics" and we agree. Parry and his primary challenger Allen Quist have been going back and forth at each other quite a bit already in their bitter battle for the right to challenge Walz, but the pill remark is so out of left field and really doesn't have anything to do with anything, other than it's a member of one party going after a member of another party just for the sake of grabbing a headline. But headline-grabbing can backfire, too. We like to see intense debating on issues during the campaign season, but when it comes to personal attacks and politicians calling each other unelectable, well, that just gets old.