I was greatly disappointed in Morgan Freeman’s recent comments referring to the base stock of this state as a mule-headed bunch of farmers (see Behind the curtain: ‘mule-headed farmers’?). I think Mr. Freeman is very shortsighted when he refers to the progress that has been made in Mississippi and to the bulk of the population as being agriculture.

I would remind Mr. Freeman that, as the result of the farmers of this state and nation, the food we consume requires less than one-tenth of our take-home pay to purchase.

I would also remind Mr. Freeman that, as a result of the America farmer, instead of 50 percent of our population being involved in the labor force to produce the food and fiber we consume, less than 1.5 percent of the population is required in agriculture’s workforce today.

And we are still able to export more than 30 percent of the production from this nation’s farms, which is a tremendous help in balancing our foreign trade deficit.

While America’s agriculturists have benefitted greatly from the research sector, our dedication to producing the food and fiber this nation needs is envied the world over. We are not dependent on any nation for our food supply, which is a direct result of the ability, the vast knowledge, and the resources of America’s farmers. They utilize those tools in a way that helps every Americans, and many people around the world, have affordable and nutritious diets.

It is most noteworthy that the strong economy we in America have enjoyed, and will return to enjoying after this economic downturn, could in many ways be directly attributed to the progress we have made in feeding ourselves and others around the world. The efficiency in production has certainly contributed to an increase in available workforce that the other segments of our economy have been able to enjoy.

People have been afforded the opportunity to seek off-farm employment, creating a labor pool that has contributed to the huge economic growth we have experienced as a nation.

Furthermore, I would remind Mr. Freeman that because we have contributed so greatly by freeing up a vast labor supply and creating an economy that is most envied, we have also provided disposable income that allows great numbers of Americans to go and view the motion pictures he displays on the Hollywood screens.

Yes, as the result of the efficiency of the American farmer, Mr. Freeman has been made a multi-millionaire.

I believe his comments were most insulting to everybody that has ever produced agriculture commodities. I anxiously await his apology for the disparaging remarks he made about my heroes, the Mississippi farmer.

David Waide,

President

Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation