Monday, May 02, 2016

Big money squashes free speech and free press like a bug … again.

This time a squashmeister from Monsanto, John Deere or DuPont did the nasty deed.

Rick Farmer, a fourth-generation Iowa cattle farmer outside Lorimor (population 360) in southwest Iowa’s Union County, had been drawing cartoons that appeared in Iowa's Farm News for 21 years.

Iowa farmer/ex-cartoonist Rick Friday
Until his cartoon pointed out that the three CEOs of those companies were paid more than 2,129 Iowa farmers. So the only editorial page cartoonist Farm News ever had got fired.

Let Rick, the latest David crushed into silence by a business Goliath, tell it:

“Again, I fall hard in the best interest of large corporations.
"I am no longer the Editorial Cartoonist for Farm News due to a cartoon that was published. Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and cancelled its advertisement with the paper, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of It’s Friday cartoons after 21 years and more than 1,090 published cartoons to more than 24,000 households per week in 33 counties in Iowa.
“I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon.
“That’s Okay. Hopefully, my children and grandchildren will see that this last cartoon published by Farm News out of Fort Dodge, Iowa will shine the light on how fragile our rights to free speech and free press really are in the country.”
Friday went from being voted class clown at his high school to cow-calf cattleman (100 herd) and cartoonist on a 550-acre farm he owns with wife Juanita.
Friday is the fourth generation to work his family's farm, which was established in 1894 with a herd of registered Hereford cattle.

Today, Friday and his wife, Juanita Friday, farm mostly in hay and pasture for their 100-head Angus breed near Lorimore.

Lorimor was re-named for J.S. Lorimor, who donated land to the railroad in the 1800s so that it could run its tracks through the town. Lorimor became a railroad water stop and Lorimor’s 2,000-acre bluegrass seed farm and the town prospered.

After high school graduation in 1978 Friday worked for a local elevator and operated a sow farrowing operation with his father. When the farm crisis hit in the 1980s Rick had to seek work elsewhere. He wound up at the Winnebago Industries Stitchcraft sewing operation in Lorimor as a janitor and truck driver in 1984. He was promoted in 1993 to plant manager and was with the company until the operation shut down in 2006.

He returned to farming with his parents.

Friday's first published cartoon was with a local newspaper in 1993. It was farm-related, of course.

In 1995 he began his career with Farm News – till Big Business got into a pissing match with the Little Guy.

It’s small consolation for our man Friday, but this Lao Tzu quote seems appropriate:

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”

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