People’s column

More worries for our farmers

Editor, OBSERVER:

Farmworkers deserve to be and are treated with respect. The Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act concerns me.

While its supporters mean well, the economic realities facing family farms — 97% of farms are family owned — will make it difficult for many farms to survive the legislation’s higher costs. According to USDA, New York has lost about 9% of its farms in the past five years, triple the national average, in part because of the depressed farm economy and rising labor costs.

Most New York farms already pay well above minimum wage to attract and retain quality employees. That’s in addition to providing free housing, transportation and other benefits. However, state lawmakers are looking to impose overtime on an eight-hour workday and 40-hour week, dramatically raising costs by $300 million according to Farm Credit East. Compounding this, farms outside of New York produce food more cheaply. We can’t just raise prices in a competitive marketplace to make up for the higher wages because farmers are wholesalers who must take the price the market offers.

Due to many factors, including political, things like tariffs and sanctions have reduced our income significantly. All too often retributions for tariffs and sanctions are directed at agriculture.

A unique schedule is why agriculture is historically excluded from providing overtime. Some long days are required, in part because of weather and a fickle growing season. It is common sense, if farms can’t afford overtime, farmworkers will lose hours and thereby receive smaller paychecks, hurting those the bill is seeking to help.

Farm Bureau is supportive of a day of rest for employees. We also support a viable farm economy. Without that, rural New York, jobs on and off the farm, and access to local food will suffer.

RICHARD KIMBALL,

president,

Chautauqua County Farm Bureau

Eisenhower saw dangers of Trump

Editor, OBSERVER:

It was reported first hand by journalist Sherman Adams about a conversation President Dwight Eisenhower had with George M. Humphrey his secretary of the treasury. The president was frustrated with the some of leaders he chose to head government positions. To Eisenhower, they were using their influence for personal gain.

President Eisenhower asked Secretary Humphrey, “Was it possible for American businessmen to make some sacrifices in the interest of world peace?”

“No,” Humphrey replied candidly. “The American businessman believes in getting as much as he can while the getting is good.”

“Maybe that’s the trouble with businessmen, George,” Eisenhower said seriously.

Right now we have a businessman as president of the United States. Think about the statement above and ask yourself this question. Does Donald Trump demonstrate the same inclination for selfish gain as the business people President Eisenhower was referring to?

Dwight Eisenhower was not a businessman before he became the 34th president of the United States. He was a general, and the supreme leader of all Allied Forces during World War II. With his leadership we defeated the fascist dictators who were out for world domination. He didn’t try to make “deals” with dictators at the expense of our allies as Donald Trump has done with the leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea.

According to author of the book “Eisenhower the White House Years,” by Jim Newton, he was bequeathed the atomic bomb and refused to use it. He put a halt to the “red scare,” a division in the country caused by Joseph McCarthy called McCarthyism. He stimulated the economy to pull us out of a deep recession, and built the interstate highway system.

My point is we do not need a selfish businessman as president to “Make America Great Again”. We are a great country already. We need leaders who have a vision and show restrain, discipline, and empathy when faced with the human condition.

GREGORY CATALANO,

Dunkirk

Helping hands are appreciated

Editor, OBSERVER:

The Brian Bialaszewski’s benefit coordinators would like to thank: American Legion Post 62, Pompenders, Wal-Mart, Jenna’s, Aunt Millie’s, (Jake and Bob) Applebees, Refresco Juice, US Food, Dee and Dan (Karaoke), KFC, Fieldbrook Foods, Save a-lot (Dunkirk), CVS, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bills. Also the many people who donated money and the beautiful baskets.

We would just like to tell everyone thank you again. The benefit was a great success. It helped the family greatly.

Again, thank you and God bless.

GEN RICHARDSON,

Fredonia

and LINDA DUCKWORTH,

Dunkirk,

benefit coordinators

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