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Valley resident shares Veterans Day poem

Boys of War

Behind the surplus store / the army helmets cover an acre of ground. / Worn by young heads, boys became men.

You were the foot soldiers / with hard won victories. / Allied battleships placed you there / to fight with fearless might.

Through the enemy glider bombers, / torpedo planes, jamming of radios, / you stayed the course. / While wounded transferred to shore hospitals, / you, a mighty force, view the dead, / burned-out tanks, armored cars, / gun carriers, twisted and still.

Where were you, boys of war...? / In the stifling heat with jungle malaria, / or in some frozen quiet hell.

The ebb tide through the jungle you fought. / Lost in New Guinea, or in the Burma raid, / you all came. / Did you serve with Patton in Tunisia, / escape from Java, survive the Philippines? / Those were the glorious deeds of the gallant bound.

Heroic exploits in the theater of conflict / You came, you served. / Fair heads from all walks of life, / from Idaho, Texas, and New York, / from the Indian Reservations, / and the Deep South, / called to duty from safe harbors.

I will remember the sea of helmets / worn by boys, / when boys became men. / Some came home / while others still lie buried in foreign ground.

Seeing the acres of helmets, / I pause, my heart quickens, / tears blur the images. / I take you all in with soberness, humility, / and gratitude.

You are a heart beat away. / In this twilight silhouette, I will never forget. / You won’t be alone / You blessed boys of war are finally home.

Ruth Swaner

Smithfield

Strategies for saving Cache Valley ag land

To the editor:

Thank you, Frank Smith for sounding the alarm concerning Cache Valley’s agriculture sector. Many of Cache Valley’s own are in the business of agriculture — feeding Americans with their livestock, crops from their fields and milk from their dairy cows. Agriculture is a cornerstone of Utah’s wealth and plays a big part of Cache Valley’s economy. Even though the valley lost 72% of grass and pasture land since 2010 (USDA Landsat data, USU Extension), agriculture remains an economic driver, valued at nearly $180 million in 2020. We can help our local brethren in the ag sector by supporting their way of life and resisting efforts to alter the landscape (literally) in Cache Valley. Here are some ways we can make a difference.

• Watch state legislators. Oppose attempts to pass laws to impose involuntary annexation of lands. (Idaho already allows it along with North Carolina, Indiana and Tennessee). Developers want land to subdivide and if they could, they would paint an ag land owner into a corner with a forced sale once their land is annexed into a municipality.

• Support conservation easements designed to protect ag lands. Wealthy benefactors ... this means you. It’s no accident that Jackson, Wyoming and Teton Valley in Idaho look as they do – timeless, untouched and pristine. Much of that ag land has gone into land trusts to protect it from development. The land is farmed and privately-owned but it can never be developed or used for anything other than agriculture. It takes deep pockets to make this possible and to keep operations like Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust and Bear River Land Conservancy viable. Donations are desperately needed.

• Support urban and small acreage farming which is typically between one to nine acres. It seems the trend and grape-growing might even be a part of it in Cache Valley with the recent approval by the Cache County Council to allow growing and cultivating of grapes for wine production.

• Support farm-to-table beef and produce sales allowing customers to buy directly from independent ranchers and buy locally harvested produce.

• Buy Gossners cheese and milk products — Gossners employs 600 people in Cache Valley and takes in three million pounds of locally sourced milk every day. You directly support local dairy farmers by buying Gossners products.

Agriculture also helps the natural environment through maintenance of open spaces and waterways for migratory birds and the vibrant wildlife and plant diversity that the land supports. Nearly 20 years ago a real estate agent predicted that “agriculture was finished in Cache Valley.” We don’t think so. Agriculture is the very soul of Cache Valley and it deserves to be respected, protected and nurtured.

Deborah Miller

Logan

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