New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 15, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
Farmers urged to keep up with technology
WASHINGTON (AP) - Farmers who fail to take advantage of computers, genetic engineering and other technology advances in agriculture risk falling by the wayside as the pace of scientific change accelerates, according to an unreleased congressional study.
Producers who pounce the earliest on new farming technology benefit the most, says the report from Congress' Office of Technology Assessment. Those who choose to ignore such developments may be contributing to their own demise, it asserts.
“Farmers who lack the capital and expertise to adopt new technology early enough to maintain a competitive edge must seek supplementary off-farm income, find some special niche for their products or give up farming altogether,” concludes the report, to be the subject of hearings next week. A
draft copy was obtained by The Associated Press.
With the pace of new technology increasing, it will become even more difficult for small to medium-sized farms to stay alive, the report suggests. The trend away from such mid-sized “family farms” and toward more large and very small operations has been well documented.
“These consequences often lead to suggestions of turning off the technological wheels of progress.” the report noted. “Such a strategy, however, would have a devastating impact on the competitiveness (rf American farmers in world markets. Instead of just some people being left behind, the whole American farm system would be left behind.”
The findings have implications for policy-makers writing a new generation of farm legislation to replace the four-year farm bill that
Trucker busts through strike with convoy
expires this year, the technology
The new tools already available or soon to be placed into the hands of farmers and ranchers sound too
fantastic to be true.
Development of gene-alteration technology will mean that, by the year 2000, cattle ranchers will be able to produce steers as big as elephants, the report said. Dairy farmers will be able to choose the sex of calves and boost milk output.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -Ricky Starr, who led a convoy of trucks carrying coal from a nonunion mine plowing through a blockade of cars and rock-throwing UMW pickets, including some he recognized as friends, said the maneuver was “all in a day’s work.” “All of us truck drivers need the work or we wouldn’t be out there,” Starr said Thursday after plowing through several cars owned by United Mine Workers demonstrators near Lobata, in southwest West Virginia.
“A man’s gotta make a living,” said Starr, 25. “I’ve gotta feed the baby and pay the rent.”
Windows and windshields on most of the 16 trucks in the convoy were smashed, and a half-dozen of the pickets’ cars were damaged as the five-month strike turned violent for the second time this week, state police said.
“It was the worst day we’ve had,” said Starr. “They rocked us real bad, and some of them had weapons.” None of the drivers or truckers was
injured, police said. There were eight arrests among the demonstrators, some of whom Starr recognized.
“Some of them are friends, or at least they used to be,” he added. “After this, I don’t know.”
A driver for Mate Creek Trucking Co. of MacCarr, Ky., Starr has been hauling coal from a non-union mine in Kentucky to the nearby Sprouse Creek Processing Co.
The plant is a subsidiary of A.T. Massey Coal Co., which has been picketed by the UMW at several locations since October in a contract dispute.
Thursday’s events were the latest in a series of confrontations between the non-union coal truck drivers and union picketers, who have tried to prevent coal from reaching the plant.
“It started early this morning on the Kentucky side, near Blackberry, when we drove empty to the mine to pick up coal,” said Starr, of Matewan, W.Va. “They were hidden up in the hills, throwing rocks at our windshields.”
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