Your Letters: Women Farmers; House Seating Chart

Originally published on January 23, 2011 7:45 am
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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Time now for your letters. On last week's show, we had a conversation about the largest minority group in the agriculture industry - women. We spoke with farmers Barbara Armstrong and Carol Keiser-Long.

Ms. CAROL KEISER-LONG (Farmer): I can go back in my history and I can tell you that the opportunities for a female to aspire in agriculture were extremely limited. And so I was discouraged from going into a male-dominated field and so I said, well, watch me do it.

HANSEN: Following that conversation, listener Monte Bohannon of Portsmouth, New Hampshire wrote: My family owns a dairy farm in central New Hampshire and five generations of women have lived the farmer's life there. They do everything from work the fields, feed, milk and tend the cows, build amazing vegetable and flower gardens. They're the keepers of not only family histories but the essential processes of living from the fruits of your own labor.

Kathy Gunther of Penn Yan, New York also wrote: We are very fortunate in our small school district to have a great Future Farmers of America, FFA, program. We have a teacher who has taught these students - girls and boys included -that there is more to agriculture than just dairy cows and manure. We have a lot of girls in this program and most of them have graduated from this school district and gone into the agricultural world in some form or another.

Last week, Democratic Senator Mark Udall of Colorado spoke to us about the idea of Democrats and Republicans sitting together in the House chamber for the State of Union speech. Listener Jeffrey Bendix(ph) of Cleveland Heights, Ohio has this suggestion: An easy way to make this happen would be for senators and representatives to sit in alphabetical order. This method would provide for members who are afraid of being perceived by voters as fraternizing with members of the other party.

And from political divides to family ties, last week I spoke to the matriarch of the Partridge family, Shirley Jones.

Ms. SHIRLEY JONES (Actress, Singer): I'm telling you, the only people know that I did more than that are people my age.

HANSEN: Well, Ann Ardeness(ph) of Syracuse, New York begs to differ. She wrote: I can assure her that that is not true in the slightest. I am 31 and, as a teenager, adored her in "The Music Man," "Carousel," and in particular, "Oklahoma." To date, I have never seen a single episode of "The Partridge Family."

(Soundbite of song, "I Think I Love You")

THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: (Singing) I think I love you, I think I love you. This morning, I woke up with this feeling, I didn't know how to deal with...

HANSEN: We want to hear from you. Go to NPR.org and click on the Contact Us link. We're also on Facebook and Twitter and you can send a tweet to me @NPRLiane. That's L-I-A-N-E.

(Soundbite of song, "I Think I Love You")

THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: (Singing) I think I love you, I think I love you. I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of? I'm afraid that I'm not sure of a love there is no cure for...

HANSEN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.