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Local farmers respond to Bloomberg's viral comments about farming

February 18, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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Butler County Farm Bureau officials took umbrage with comments former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg made about farmers during a 2016 interview that went viral this week.

The comments were included in a video clip from the Distinguished Speaker Series at the University of Oxford in England that landed in the national news Monday. In the segment, Bloomberg said the farming and manufacturing economy has been replaced by an information economy, and that he can teach anyone to be a farmer.

“You dig a hole, put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn,” Bloomberg said in the video, which was posted on Foxnews.com and many other websites.

In addition, he said the information economy “is built around replacing people with technology” and jobs require “a lot more gray matter” and different skill sets.

“That is just totally untrue,” William Thiele of the Thiele Dairy Farm in Cabot, said about Bloomberg's description of farming. “We farmers are not just farmers. We're mechanics, We're vets. We have to be up on the latest tech trends. It helps us save money, save time and labor. To use a baseball analogy: You have to be a five-tool player.”

Growing crops and raising cattle is not as simple as many people think, Thiele said.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that will appear in Wednesday's Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read more.

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