Notes from the Heartland
Dennis Bute is a noun guy. Riding shotgun in his pick-up, cornfields melting into liquid gold, I listen to the 64 year-old farmer itemise West Point, his home town in western Nebraska. “This be combines”, he says, grammatically resuscitating the harvesters. “This be a cow”, he continues, an adjective as rare as a raindrop.
The Butes have farmed 160 acres of corn and soyabean for 130 years. The third oldest of eight brothers and sisters, Dennis will probably end the family run. His siblings, aside from one sister, live out of town and there is no heir to inherit the land. “Here’s my farm, it looks like any other farm”, he says, without decelerating.
I ask Mr Bute how the last years have been. He affords himself a rare smile, “prices gone up, double, triple, last three years.” Times are so good that he is mulling retirement from his second job – midnight watchman at the soyabean processing plant. “If we’d had these prices, we’d have seen more people”, he adds. Read more