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Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives.

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The oldest family farm in the U.S. will be sold. The Tuttle family has owned the farm in Dover, New Hampshire, for nearly 400 years. The news article appeared in many national press newspapers including the New York Times (published Aug. 1, 2010). The agricultural and naturalist writer Merlyn Klinkenborg wrote of the sale in his weekly column.

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In 18 years of writing this column, I have written of journeys all over the world, some as short as a month and then a recent one as long as 16 months in Iraq. They tell the story of an agricultural scientist at work. I have answered the call to service and gone into the world to seek and effect change. You have read of stories in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Caucuses and the Middle East.

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I departed Iraq nearly two weeks ago. After three days in Washington, D.C., at our USDA national headquarters, I went home to Alma, Michigan.

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The following are responses by producers and industry experts who participated as panelists or provided testimony at the Department of Justice/USDA antitrust hearing in Madison, Wisconsin, June 25.

What good may come from the USDA/DOJ workshop?

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I believe that it was very significant to the future of our dairy industry that Secretary Vilsack and Attorney General Holder recognized the importance of conducting workshops, such as the one held in Madison, Wisconsin. This event provided representatives of our industry an opportunity to focus the attention of our public officials, in addition to everyone in our industry, on their views about the critical issues we need to solve in order to restore economic stability to our industry.

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A few years ago country music duo Brooks & Dunn released a song called Only in America. The premise is that only in America can a regular kid grow up to be whatever he or she dreams possible. They sing that it’s only here “where we dream as big as we want to, we all get a chance, everybody gets to dance.”

I always love hearing what kids want to be when they grow up. The answers range from pro athlete, U.S. president, fire fighter, doctor, movie star and everything in between. It’s great to see that the notion of “limited potential” has never occurred to them.

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This is my final article from Iraq. My 16-month tour is over. I have traveled about 40 percent of my time here, reaching every province but one. I have worked with nearly two dozen USDA ag advisers in the field and several of them here in Baghdad.

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