Garden City Telegram from Garden City, Kansas on November 22, 1977 · Page 23
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Garden City Telegram from Garden City, Kansas · Page 23

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Garden City, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, November 22, 1977
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Page 23
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I2A (iiirclcn (lily Trli-girain Tiii'Miltiy. iNox-inlwr 22. 1*>77 Most of All, They Saw Farms...in Europe., Russia By RODNEY HOFFMAN They saw circuses, centuries-old buildings, modern subways, crowded shops, and farms. Mosl of all, Ihey saw farms. Small farms. Slale-owned farms. Collective farms. Farms where owners lived in the same houses as owners 400 years earlier. At the same time, Harry and Jacqueline Lightner, S. Star Rt., represented the United States on a goodwill mission through Europe and the Soviet Union. With about 35 others, mostly Kansas farmers, the Lightners joined I he People to People Tour, an organization formed by Dwight Eisenhower after World War II. "He felt if people would mingle together, if they would get together and talk together, Ihey could gel along together," Lightner said. In the late 1960s, he participated in a similar tour lo South America. Lawyers, doctors and other professionals normally are included in I he program. This trip look them lo England, Germany, Swilzerland, Czechslovakia and the Soviet Union, for three weeks during October. Of course, some of what they saw, they had expected. Farms and equipment in the Soviet Union were generally smaller than in Southwest Kansas. Production techniques, except for the lack of irrigation facilities, are similar lo what Lightner uses at his farm south of Garden Cily. The difference, he says, is that most people are "just putting in their time." One farm manager admitted he was promoted because .•I his fai'hl'ul pariy work, noi because of his abiliiy. "They don't have the incentive to work like people in the free enterprise system do. It takes a lot of people to do a job," he said. The farmers also have to contend with an unfavorable climate. "Their biggest problem is that they lay loo far north to be a big agricultural country." IN THE KITCHEN of their home south of Garden City, Harry and Jacqueline Lightner Lightner said the Soviets produced a large wheat crop this year but wet weather diminished its quality. He expects their wheat imports to increase. In Switzerland, they visited farms where the average size is 22 acres, producing potatoes, milk, cattle, pigs, cereal grains and limber. To insure continual operation of family farms, the Swiss government review their recent trip through farms in Europe and the Soviet Union. guarantees farmers $12 a bushel for wheat and $7 for corn, Lightner said. In Czechoslovakia they saw a collective farm where 300 persons worked on nearly 4,000 acres. "It works like a co-op," Lightner said. The overall operation is managed by members and each person earns what he produces on a small plot. Through it all, the Lightners' curiosity naiurally was aroused. Many limes Ihey conversed by improvising with sign language, but they probably asked more questions of their English-speaking guides than a school boy studying contemporary Soviet life. They learned that athletes and artists are among the highest paid citizens. "They say that's the best life you can find in Russia," Mrs. Lightner said. Few Soviet children play outside because all live in high-rise apartments without yards and most spend their time in nursery schools while both parents work. Like this country, the birthrate in the Soviet Union is dropping. "We saw a lot more women working than we see in the United States. Those women were laying brick. They were cleaning buildings. They were sweeping streets. They were doing everything men do in this country," Mrs. Lightner said. She guesses that most men are serving in the military or other government service. Seeing "a policeman on every corner," helped confirm that observation. In Moscow, they saw a Russian ballet, watched hordes of shoppers search for merchandise in downtown stores and rode in subway systems which projects like bicycle spokes underneath the city of 7'/z million. Five million persons daily ride along the 100 miles of subway. The system which has been under construction since 1931 is only half completed. A highlight of the trip, Mrs. Lighlner said, was a girl's school they saw in Germany. "They teach those girls how lo lake care of a family, how to wash, iron, can, how to cook on wood and electric stoves. They teach them floral arrangements, sewing, first aid. They leach them how to be housewives," she said. Already the Lightners are planning their next trip, but not lo view more farms. Instead, they hope to tour animal refuges in Africa. GARDEN BELLE LUMBER, INC. 102 S. 4th Street 2 Blocks South of 4th & Fulton Store Hours: 7:30-5:30 Mon.-Fri./7:3012:30 Sat. 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