GREAT BEND, Kan. - It all started with Earl Butz, Nixon's Secretary of Agriculture, who had to resign due to a racial slur. In the early 70's grain and commodity prices were high, and the family farm was still intact. But the city people at the supermarket complained about high food prices, and that's when the New Deal farm programs started to come apart, and with it, the Great Plains.
It happened slowly. But looking back at Western Kansas over the last 30 years, it has been a steady and slow decay of "life as we knew it." I doubt we can reverse things, but we can know who did this to us and hold them accountable. And we can start to turn the ship around back toward pro-family farm policies.
Everybody on the Great Plains knows something horrible has happened over the last 30 years, but they really don't know what happened or why. They just see their downtown buildings boarded up, the abundance of thrift stores, and young people who turn to methamphetamines rather than working at McDonalds.