A century ago, farming was a much riskier business than it is today. Tales abound about families who moved West to homestead, plant crops, buy a few cows and chickens, and build a life for themselves and their children, only to be wiped out by drought or some other force of nature.

These days, farming and ranching are still difficult endeavors, but those who give it a go are no longer completely on their own. Government is there to help and has been since the days of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s when the Roosevelt administration decided it was time for the federal government to step in and provide a safety net for the people who grow the food that sustains us all.

I, for one, do not begrudge farmers and ranchers the government aid that is available to them. Strangely, though, it is rural people who are often the most resentful and suspicious of government. Some of that resentment is inspired by regulations they may not like, such as laws to protect the environment, land-management rules and restrictions on water rights. And sometimes, their complaints are entirely valid. Still, government has made their lives significantly less grueling than for their ancestors through electrification programs, massive irrigation projects, highway building, loan guarantees, crop-price supports, disaster relief, agricultural research and numerous other measures, including Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.

It would be nice to hear these self-reliant people acknowledge that, now and then, everyone needs a helping hand and that government has offered them that hand more than a few times.

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