One of the less-publicized parts of President Obama’s visit to rural Missouri was his stop at a small farm in Palmyra.
After his speech at the Poet Biorefinery in Macon on Wednesday, the President paid a visit to Lowell Schachtsiek at his farm in Marion County. Schachtsiek’s one of the founders of the Missouri Farmer’s Union, but he has an independent farm.
“I don’t claim to represent all of agriculture, and I don’t want to represent all of agriculture,” Schachtsiek said.
Schachtsiek says he gave the President and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack a tour of his farm; where he grows hogs, cattle and row crops. He says diversification has helped in the slow times as of late, but he knows other farmers who haven’t been so fortunate.
Among other things, he says he told the President the current low grain and corn prices are a problem for all farmers and that he believes buying local is a key for success in rural communities. He thinks the messages were well received.
“To be quite honest in dealing with legislative manners, urban people I think have always understood these things better than some of the rural (politicians),” Schachtsiek said.
The President also talked with the family at their kitchen table during the half hour he spent on the farm. Schachtsiek’s son told the President no one his age gets into farming now, because people think there’s not enough money in it.
“You know, agriculture does not influence local communities as it once did, we all know that. But at least it sure helps,” Schachtsiek said.
The President mentioned this factor in his speech at the Poet Biorefinery, saying the next generation sees their only possibilities for success outside of their rural towns. The President said he hopes the creation of new industry jobs for professionals, like those at Poet, might encourage young people in rural communities to return home after college.
Schachtsiek also had an unexpected guest.
“Actually the White House chef was here, which was kind of strange,” Schachtsiek said, laughing. “I had a nice visit with him. Told him about our meat, he liked our thick cut bacon. I gave them come asparagus from the garden, gave him a package of sweet corn seed. Maybe Mrs. Obama will plow up part of the White House lawn and plant sweet corn on it.”