According to Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor, even an idiot can be a farmer. No, he doesn’t use that exact phrasing but what he said to a crowd at the University of Oxford in 2016 is basically the same thing.
He said, “I could teach anybody, even people in this room no offense intended, to be a farmer. It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that.”
When these past statements were released to the public, the billionaire’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said that they were “completely out of context” and not meant to be that demeaning. But when put together with the rest of the speech, it doesn’t sound much better.
In fact, it sounds worse. Because then Bloomberg goes on to imply that farmers and other blue-collar workers simply don’t have the skillset or capabilities to handle technology, the modern economy, and basically anything that Bloomberg deals with on a daily basis.
“Now comes the information economy, and the information economy is fundamentally different because it’s built around replacing people with technology, and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze, and that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set. You have to have a lot more gray matter.”
While Bloomberg is correct in thinking that just about anyone can be trained to dig a hole and plant a seed, we all know there is much, much more that goes into farming, especially in today’s age. And it requires a lot of thinking and analysis. But we can’t expect someone like Mayor Mike, who has only been trained to write checks, to understand that.
Even if I go out, dig a hole, plant a seed, cover it up, and add water, a crop does not always come up. There is much more to be considered. Such as what kind of plant it is, which determines what type of soil it should be planted in, when it should be planted, how deep the hole needs to be, how much water it needs, and many other things.
As any farmer or even small-time gardener knows, each plant type is different and therefore requires a different growth plan. And as someone who raises crops or livestock for a living, these different processes have a lot that goes into them. Bloomberg might be surprised to know that they even use technology to get their job done.
At one time farmers used horses and a simple plow to plant their livelihoods, now farming equipment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and consists of remote-controlled drones, irrigation systems that connect to an app on your phone, GPS driven machinery the size of your home, feeding and milking machines for cattle and other livestock that monitor each animal, testing its health and production, and much more.
The modern-day farmer has to be much more than someone who can dig a hole and add a little water. They are business owners, handling the everyday tasks of keeping their profession alive, from buying seed and feed to paying their workers and handling HR issues. They are meteorologists, determining weather patterns and estimating the amount of water, sunshine, nutrients, etc. needed for success.
They are mathematicians, working out complex formulas needed to determine the PH levels of their soil and the number of chemicals required to get it where it needs to be. They are also horticulturists, geologists, mechanics, logistical engineers, and caretakers all at once.
And each year, when new tech comes out, new herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides are introduced, or a new kind of seed genome is discovered, these jacks-of-all-trades must be ready to research, analyze, and rethink their entire operation to stay at their best.
If Bloomberg and his cronies think any of this requires less “gray matter,” he must not have nearly as much of it himself as he claims.
And he has another think coming if he thinks the farmers of America, the ones who keep this nation going year after tireless year, are going to let someone who doesn’t appreciate them and is nothing but a spoiled elitist run this country.