Yes, the great Civil War of the 1860s did take place. Whether it’s called the “War Between the States,” the “Civil War” or the “War of Northern Aggression,” it did happen! But whatever the views advocated by leaders in the Confederate states and the Union north, that was over 160 years ago. It did not occur last year or the year before. We have too darn many whiners and propaganda merchants who keep the flames of the conflict fanned by their constant need to rewrite the history books.

Accept the hard fact that the warring factions finally achieved a peace and agreed to march forward as Americans united. However the radical elements are not to be pacified. They want all vestiges of the Confederacy removed — whether a statue of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson or a highway or a school named for a Confederate leader. What is the solution?

I do have one suggestion– the radicals should shut their mouths and go to work building a better nation. But, if they are not satisfied to live in peace on U.S. soil, just leave ASAP!

Those of us who are involved in agricultural production are facing a clouded future, if we don’t come up with some answers soon. What has long been the breadbasket of the world in our millions of acres of corn, soybeans, rice, cotton and other mainline crops is facing competitors in other nations. Using technology developed in the U.S. several other countries are now competing to unseat our dominance in producing and selling crops. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China and Russia are making major strides in growing crops for sale outside their boundaries. This has placed our own farming industry in a financial bind. About one in five farmers are underwater when it comes to financial stability. Bankers, especially in grain and cotton country, say they are concerned that many of those folks will go under and lose their farms.

Here in East Texas most of our farmers and ranchers are faring better than the pure grain and cotton farmers who depend 100 percent on their crops to pay the bills.

The majority of our farmers — and ranchers — don’t make a total living from their land. Most have jobs off the farm, or a retirement income. Timber is still proving to be a profitable enterprise for those of our friends and neighbors who manage timber as a long term investment.

And the recreation industry still is growing in importance, in our part of Texas and in other areas such as the Hill Country.

As long as some deep pocketed folks are willing to pay ridiculous prices to hunt for a trophy buck it will continue. In those areas where the quail and turkey population is rebounding, landowners often collect more dollars from bird hunters than they could get from leasing the land for cattle grazing.