Wagoner County Farmers Tell Union About Bad Crops, Bad Times

Friday, August 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Nearly every farmer in Wagoner county found it important enough Thursday to leave the fields and sit in on a meeting. The Oklahoma Farmers Union is gathering stories that tell of bad weather and bad crop prices that spell bad times in rural America. One of the many farmers'wives in attendance, Samara Miller, said, "I see the worried look on my husband's face every day when he comes in to tell me once again that another piece of equipment is broken down and we don't have the money to fix it."

The Oklahoma Farmers Union will take stories like Miller's to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. "Farmers need to know that they're being heard," said Terry Detrick, vice president of the farmer's union. "Morale is as low as I've ever seen it." Times have been bad for farmers the past two years. You don't see many young farmers at union meetings. The average age is 65. If there are any young faces, they belong to those who inherited the family farm. "If it wasn't for my grandfather and my dad, there's no way that me and my brother could actually farm," said 26-year-old farmer Blake Replogle. "They're kind of our backer."

Out of 175 farmers in Wagoner County, nearly 25 per cent could file for bankruptcy. The farmers say they want the government to hear their pleas for help and act on them. Farmers say they want consumers to hear their pleas as well. "People really don't realize where the food comes from," said farmer Robert Greenlee. "Believe it or not, it doesn't come from the grocery store."