Thursday, February 20, 2020

Michael Bloomberg Flunks Ag 101 - Geoffrey P. Hunt

by Geoffrey P. Hunt

Mike Bloomberg deserves a chapter unto himself in “The Ignorance and Tyranny of Self-Anointed Experts.”

Michael Bloomberg is no Ag PhD.

“You dig a hole, you put seed in it, you put dirt on top, up comes the corn…” Bloomberg couldn’t even describe planting a single corn seed correctly: he left out tossing a codfish into the hole alongside the seed.

Bloomberg made $ billions (after departing from Solomon Brothers as a general equity partner and cashing in $10 million of stock grants) in the early days of infotech, developing computerized metrics and data mining for securities trading. Michael Bloomberg is no dope, so we thought.

Thirty minutes of research would have informed His Arrogancy that big-time crop farmers -- 2,000 acres or more- -- need to know everything from soil chemistry, to genetic engineering, to global commodities markets, to managerial economics, to GPS interfaces, and drone technology.

One of the more fascinating glimpses into plus-size producers of corn, soybeans, and wheat in flyover country can be had by listening to “Ag PhD,” an hour-long daily broadcast on Sirius Rural Radio at 2:00pm CST from Baltic, South Dakota. Show hosts Darren and Brian Hefty, both agronomists, operate a seed/fertilizer wholesale business and farm 2,800 acres. They talk soil chemistry, bio-chem of weeds, seeds, mold, micro-organisms, commodity options pricing, and infrared cameras on drones to monitor late season moisture content, just for starters. Farmers from Ohio and Indiana, the Dakotas to Iowa to Missouri, to, Kansas, Colorado and Montana call in with questions only grad students in agronomy and ag economics would ask. Mike Bloomberg wouldn’t have a clue about the deciphering the questions. Forget about comprehending the answers.

Does brainiac Mike know why micro-nutrients -- boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, zinc -- matter in achieving 300 bushel/acre corn or 60 bu/acre soybean yields? What about interactions amongst calcium, sulfur, and magnesium? Is organic matter nitrogen better than ammonia? What are the relationships between cat-ion exchange capacity, soil ph, and crop yield?

Does Mike know how to conduct grid soil sampling, overlaid with GPS coordinates, later downloaded to fertilizer spreaders and seed planters that can adjust application rates yard-by-yard in a row and fractions of an acre? What does he know about pre-emerge genetically engineered seed treatment to control fungus, or to resist certain pests such as nematodes?

Mike, please describe the tradeoffs between root size, stem height and thickness, canopy spreads, number of pods vs seed mass? Why and how would you conduct plant tissue assays? Till or no till? 30-inch rows or 15-inch rows? How does protein content affect commodity prices, and what is the equilibrium between higher protein and lower volume yield for soybeans?

Hey Mike, where did all of that N, K and P go anyhow between pre and post season soil tests? Hey Mike… do you even know what N,K, and P are?

How would you decide whether to invest in tile drainage for land that you rent or lease? What is the break-even point for a leasehold term when considering fixing long-term soil deficits in sulfur, calcium, and potassium on ground that you don’t own?

Bonus question: what is the optimal droplet size for midseason liquid foliar applications to minimize drift, while avoiding excessive saturation per leaf?

Michael Bloomberg’s condescension towards farmers is just another display of his nanny-state control fetishism and disdain for regular Joes and Janes, whatever their occupation, and whatever their skin color or station. Where only the elites, anointed by like-minded top-down big government overseers, relegate everybody else to caricatures of ignorant, bumfuzzled postmodern serfs, without the brains to self-govern.

Mike Bloomberg deserves a chapter unto himself in “The Ignorance and Tyranny of Self-Anointed Experts,” a book yet to be written. His disdain for the very folks that he expects will vote for him, the vast majority of whom are smarter than he is, just proves a pile of money, even $50 billion, can’t buy common sense. 

Perhaps Mike Bloomberg does know how to dig a hole. And succeeding in digging a hole big enough for him to jump into, with only the top of his head showing. Of course, it helps that “mini Mike” doesn’t have far to dig. Yet as an overachiever, Mike Bloomberg can’t stop digging, while repeatedly resting on his garden spade to sprinkle insults on the very people who might lift him out.

Geoffrey P Hunt is a retired senior executive in the electrical products industry, and the grandson of a Western NY State dairyman who also produced veg crops, and animal feeds. Hunt spent boyhood summers pulling ragweed from cabbage lots, shoveling out calves’ pens, chopping corn silage, and baling alfalfa and oat straw.


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