Corn-planter ‘recycling’: Drop-off or rip-off?

An editorial by Jackson Frolic

Proceed with caution, local farmers. (Rain on the Scarecrow)
Proceed with caution, local farmers. (Rein-in the scarecrow)

Robert Furrow, a farmer who lives near Out-on-the-Highway Road, hosted a “corn-planter recycling drop-off” last month.

Furrow has held this spring exercise off-and-on for years. Staffing or scheduling issues have prevented the Beacon from providing coverage, every time. I’ll address that subject another day.

Nonetheless, and all-the-more, I made it a point to attend this year, to assess the degree of hub-bub. I decided the best way to approach it was “undercover.”  I dressed as a farmer. That is, I put on a seed-corn cap, along with other typical clothing. I think the seed company logo on the hat read “P-Funk’s G Hybrid,” but I can’t recall for sure.

When I got to the site, nobody seemed to recognize me. So far, so good. I was able to “blend” effectively. There, I encountered a long line of flatbeds and hayracks — towed by various tractors and truck-like vehicles — containing planters, plows, disks, tillers. Everyone appeared happy to join the Earth-friendly movement, by surrendering their soil-disturbing equipment.

Eventually, I found my way to Furrow, to find out more about this (apparently) altruistic enterprise. I introduced myself as “a fellow farmer from Nearbytown,” then proceeded to ask him what he does with implements donated for the cause.

“Well, some of it, I give to charity,” he said. “Charity’s my sister-in-law. Most of it, though, I have a big melt-downer at the back of the pasture back there, back there by the woods. Over the hill there. Can’t see it from this angle.”

I paused.

“Did you say, a ‘melt-downer’?” I asked, in a tone I’m sure dripped with bemusement.

john deere spring field work
This tractor-and-disk unit was recently reported “missing.” (Jackson Frolic/Beacon)

“Yup,” he confirmed [He really did pronounce it ‘yup’ — senior ed]. “This machine, it melts down the metal, then it’s re-formed and condensed and shipped out to the … the recycling company.”

He seemed sincere, albeit nervous. I pressed onward.

“Can I see this melt-down device?” I asked.

Furrow thought for a second, stared into the distance and furrowed his brow.

“Hmmm … Nope.”

Why not? I asked.

“Oh, it’s way back in the woods. Takes a while to get there, even in the pickup-truck. We don’t want to waste your valuable time today.”

“I have plenty of time,” I retorted. “Do I look like a man who’s in a hurry? And who’s ‘we’?”

He seemed to become distracted.

“Oh wait, I forgot … It’s … it’s in the shop for repair. Getting it back sometime next week.”

At that point, I switched gears, from High-1st to Low-4th.

“Tell me, Mr. Furrow, what brand of ‘melt-downer’ is it?”

“… Uh … it’s a MegaMelt 445. Made special for farm-equipment boil-down.”

“And what company manufactures the MegaMelt?”

“Oh, it’s made by Case-International … Case-International’s international division.”

My next question about the so-called device was going to be, what happens to all the melted plastic? But I decided to pry no further. After all, my civic duty as a journalist is, at minimum, to ignore situations like this and let the problem solve itself organically.

One of the first casualties of the "recycling drop-off." (Curtis Hayfield)
One of the first casualties of the “recycling drop-off.” (Curtis Hayfield)

Ha! Who are we kidding? This is a sham, no matter which way it’s plowed. Furrow is either using this “event” for his personal ag-equipment needs, or he’s running a black-market implement-piracy service. He preys on other local farmers, under the guise of environmentalism. It bilks us all.

Even worse, our fine men at Bass Lake Authority Police (and probably at least one woman) appear to ignore this semi-yearly travesty, choosing instead to turn their collective heads far-eastward.

Allow me to borrow phrasing from our fine police chief, Chiou Yueh: “Are we not going to do something?” In my view, to this point they have “not done nothing.”

Until next time: See you next time.

Jackson Frolic is senior editor at the Beacon. That much is clear.

Do you have a comment? Comment here if you have a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s