Controversial comments made by Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Bloomberg were not well received by Iowans. Over the weekend, comments made by Bloomberg in 2016 surfaced, where he said, “I can teach anyone how to be a farmer. One dig a hole, two put a seed in, three put dirt on top four add water, five up comes the corn” Later, he claims that the skillset required to work in information technology is fundamentally different. “You need to have a lot more gray matter,” he concludes.
Bloomberg on why farmers can’t work in information technology
MB: “I can teach anyone how to be a farmer 1 dig a hole 2 put a seed in 3 put dirt on top 4 add water 5 up comes the corn”
The skill 4information technology is completely different you need more grey matter#farmers pic.twitter.com/HM13tA6goz
— Pete (@PeterMentes) February 15, 2020
The reaction on social media was prompt. Many were outraged. Elected leaders in Iowa pushed back passionately on Bloomberg’s comments. Governor Kim Reynolds took time during an appearance on Jeff Angelo’s Radio Show to share her disgust over the remarks. Senator Joni Ernst Tweeted her thoughts on the matter.
You want to talk “gray matter,” @MikeBloomberg?
How about a job that requires being a…
…or as we call them in Iowa, FARMERS. https://t.co/ZC72wohQFO
— Joni Ernst (@joniernst) February 17, 2020
Iowa Field Report reached out to a farmer from Eastern Iowa to get their reaction. Dave Walton is from Muscatine county. He spoke to Iowa Field Report from his farm just outside of Wilton.
Walton remarked that “I think a lot of people would be surprised about the level of education required, and technology that we employ every day. We study genetics. We develop herbicide plans and decide what nutrients we’re going to apply and what rates we’re going to apply them sometimes down to the inch.”
When Dave saw Bloomberg’s comments on social media, his first reaction was to roll his eyes.
His second reaction was that someone ought to invite him out to a farm and show him exactly what a farmer does and how much gray matter it takes.
Walton noted that Bloomberg’s comments were not uncommon “His comments were pretty out of touch, but we see a lot of that with people who aren’t familiar with farming or involved in agriculture.”
Dave has been farming since the mid-1980s. Today he grows both corn and soybeans. He also raises beef cattle and sheep. But Dave wasn’t always a farmer. Having previously worked as a quality engineer at Hon in Muscatine, Dave said that he finds farming far more challenging. “As a farmer, there are a lot of problems out there that we have to figure out. There’s no textbook.”