If one reads Forum Communications articles with Representive Rod Hamilton in them, one can not help but take away the Mountain Lake resident's commitment to defend farmers from his Democratic colleagues in St. Paul.
In his Capitol Chatter column, Hamilton's task - defend rural Minnesota, political reporter Don Davis writes:
Rod Hamilton is becoming an outspoken cheerleader for rural Minnesota.
Last month, the Republican state representative from southwestern Minnesota criticized House Democrats for electing Minneapolis and St. Paul lawmakers as their leaders. Now he complains about an anti-agriculture attitude from too many in politics.
“They try to demonize agriculture,” Hamilton said. “It is unfortunate. People within the ag field, or everybody who has a vested interest ... we need to start pushing back and pushing back hard on that.”
He asked: “Why on Earth would you want to bite the hand that feeds you?”
Hamilton said he worries that Democrats will push initiatives such as those that require genetically modified products to be labeled, making them appear unsafe, and telling farmers how to raise livestock.
“It is absolutely demonizing a noble profession,” said Hamilton, who describes himself as “just an uneducated hog farmer.”
This isn't the first time Hamilton has used that construction, and as a poor country blogger, Bluestem understands the impulse. Back in mid-May, the Bemidji Pioneer reported in Capitol quiet after stadium debate dominated:
The end of a legislative session tends to be tense, to put it mildly.
The normally reserved Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, got caught up in that emotion and let slip a word not normally used in the Minnesota House.
"I am sorry," he immediately said. "I am an uneducated hog farmer."
Then he added what really worried him: "My mom will be washing my mouth out with soap."
It's fascinating for Hamilton to be fretting about bills that the DFL caucus doesn't seem to be talking about--nor does Bluestem expect them to be brought forward by Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Hormel, who now heads the next morph of Hamilton's old committee. Nor do we foresee the senate counterpart, run by Dan Sparks, DFL-Hormel, as abandoning production agriculture.
Rather, those concerns seem generated more by The Price is Right's Bob Barker and Mercy for Animals, which last summer released a video that went viral that purported to be shot from the inside of hog barns kept by Hamilton's employer, Christensen Farms.
So far as Bluestem knows, Barker was not elected to the Minnesota Legislature, although Hamilton anticipated the undercover Mercy for Animals videographer when he introduced the infamous Ag-Gag bill in 2011. (To read Christenen Farms' response to the video, click here).
And while Hamilton may not have a college education, it's clear that he's grown on the job:
He has been with Christensen Farms for 19 years now working his way through the ranks, developing expertise in production, business development, human resources, public relations, political relations, transportation logistics, bio-security and communications.
Knowing the importance of getting involved, Hamilton became a member of the Minnesota Farm Bureau and the Minnesota Pork Producers Association along with their local affiliates. Both organizations provided opportunities for Hamilton to network with individuals making a difference in agriculture.
Christensen Farms employs over 1000 employees in six states, generating revenues of about $500 million annually.
Other than that, Hamilton is an uneducated hog farmer.
Image: If the meme fits, post it.
Blog begathon: Bluestem is supported by reader contributions. If you liked this post, consider throwing some coin to the tip jar. If you don't like using PayPal, email at the address on this page for a snail mail address. We'll be running our twice-yearly "bleg" though Christmas.