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Wednesday, May 19, 2004 ISSUE #320
 

Weekly Comments: Hogs and Lawyers battle in Missouri

# 320, May 19, 2004

KANSAS CITY, MO: All I know is what I read in the Kansas City Star or see for myself from the seat of an airplane. I flew here for a meeting of engineers from a dozen of the finest agriculture colleges in the Midwest. These folks solve a lot of important problems, but Missouri came up with a tough one.

According to the newspaper, some big lawyers recently discovered that hogs smell. That's hardly news because farmers have known for years about this unpleasant odor, but it ain't the hogs fault. And if you asked a hog for his opinion, you might find he's not exactly thrilled with your aroma either, especially if you're a big lawyer.

Well these big attorneys, including Robert Kennedy, Jr. of New York, are suing Premium Standard Farms because hogs stink. They are seeking compensation, get this, for every man, woman and child in Missouri that lives within 10 miles of a hog. Now, either Missouri is producing a particularly malodorous breed of hogs, or the folks living there have extremely talented noses to be able to pick out a hog at 10 miles based purely on odor.

There's about a million hogs in Missouri, and they say each one is equal to two and a half people in their ability to produce "waste", as it is referred to in polite company. Hog waste gets spread on farm fields where it fertilizes the corn that in turn gets fed to another batch of pigs. It's what environmentalists refer to as recycling, and sometimes it stinks.

Now, on the other hand, the waste from the two and a half people, if they live in a city, why after it's flushed they have no idea where it goes. And often they don't care as long as it doesn't come back to them. Just treat it a little and send it on downstream.

One of these lawyers said, "We're going to sue every one of them until we have civilized this industry." Well, in this argument between Missouri hogs and New York lawyers, I'm not too sure but what the hog isn't the more civilized of the two.

The Premium Standard farmers are talking about filing a class action suit of their own. The suit will request compensation for anyone in Missouri who lives within 10 miles of a lawyer.

But these attorneys are good folks at heart, and I figure the hogs will accept a compromise and agree to reform if the lawyers do.

There's news out here besides hogs. Fifty years ago the Supreme Court desegregated the schools of Topeka, Kansas, and the rest of the country. Then last week a judge in Kansas closed all the schools in Kansas, come September. Ironical.

In India, Mrs. Gandhi got elected in a big upset, then turned the whole situation over to a Harvard man. John Kerry and the Democrats are pondering the same scheme here, but it's not likely a Yale man would get elected here then step aside for a Harvard grad. Mr. Kerry may delay accepting the nomination till October to mull over his possible choices.

Have you bought gas lately? I invested in a tank of gas yesterday. At $2.10 a gallon it sure feels like an investment. And you know, at the same station, a gallon of water in those little bottles was $7.50. Those folks working to design an engine to run on water might want to rethink it.

I've been told engineers in Illinois have figured how to get an engine to run on hog manure. No kidding. Looks like Missouri may miss out on a gold rush of the future. By the time hog manure is ready to replace crude oil, Missouri lawyers will have trained every hog in the state to practice constipation.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"What [Secretary of Agriculture Henry] Wallace is trying to do is to teach the farmer corn acreage control and the hogs birth control, and one is just as hard to make understand it as the other." DT #2200, Aug. 22, 1933

"Well, all I know is just what I see in the Papers. Out here around Kansas and Missouri and back around Chicago there has only been two things. That is trying to see Queen Marie [of Rumania], and attending conferences to help the Farmer. I followed Marie into Kansas City. Her and President Coolidge were there the same day... Why there will always be Presidents coming in and out of Kansas City. It's a Railroad center. They have to change somewhere....
Kansas City has got to live off what is done in the livestock and better farming line. They haven't got a chance ever making a dime out of all the Kings and Queens you could herd into the stockyards. They don't mean any more than a political speech."
WA #207, Nov. 28, 1926


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