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OK, so we think we have figured out the problem. The reason that Capitol Hill has not been showing the love to small farmers, of late, is because they don’t know who small farmers are.

Remember years ago when George Bush Sr. (supposedly) went into a grocery store and had no idea what the scanner was at the checkout? As though he was Marty McFly (Back to the Future II) catapulted 40 years into the future–only problem was, he was in the present and totally unfamiliar with what the present looked like.

Well now we’ve got Pat Roberts (of the Senate Ag Committee, no less) at Tom Vilsack’s confirmation hearing, coming out with this gem–as out of touch as a Bush at a supermarket, I’d say:

The “small family farmer is about 5′2″…and he’s a retired airline pilot and sits on his porch on a glider reading Gentleman’s Quarterly — he used to read the Wall Street Journal but that got pretty drab — and his wife works as stock broker downtown. And he has 40 acres, and he has a pond and he has an orchard and he grows organic apples. Sometimes there is a little more protein in those apples than people bargain for, and he’s very happy to have that.”

What the @#$%^&*??!!

Check out the full scoop on Ethicurean, and then do as they say, which is to upload photos of yourself or farmers you know to Flickr, with the label “roberts_meet_small_farmers.” Let’s politely let Pat Roberts know that his vision of the small farmer may be a bit off.

[n.b. a quick look at Snopes revealed that the Bush/scanner story is…false! An example of media manipulation. Whoopsie.]