Bruce Vincent is proud to be a logger from Montana. He feels no shame that his family, for generations, has been involved in chopping down trees and creating the lumber from which America is largely built.
But he is also in no way ashamed to be the first chairman of Earth Day in Libby, Montana. Nor is he disturbed that one of his best friends is among the founders of Greenpeace, he told members of the Kansas Soybean Association at this year's Soybean Expo in Topeka on Wednesday.
"Those here who remember the 1960s understand what led to the environmental movement," he said. "I was a kid but television was powerful. I remember the images of rivers burning. I remember the pictures of fish belly-up in the Great Lakes. Things were bad. Wrong was being done. It needed to be fixed."
Between then and now – a span of more than five decades – somehow the people who cared most about the environment lost control of the environmental movement, he said. His message for soybean growers and Kansas farmers: "You need to get it back."
Time to get involved
In February of 1984, he said, his multi-generational family logging company, Vincent Timber, employed key wage earners in 65 families in Libby, Montana, population 2,800.
"When me and my family moved back to Libby, we were the only loaded U-Haul headed INTO Montana in February," he said. "My wife, P.J., and I had had a long talk about what we wanted for our family and we wanted to go our rural roots and raise our family in a rural environment."
Today, he said, Vincent Timber has zero employees.
"I wouldn't be here if things were good back home," he said. "I'd be spending my time with the best mate ever in the best environment ever doing the best job ever. But something went wrong in our industry. And timber was not unique. It was simply first."
To find out what Vincent said is next and next after that and why every farmer in America needs to be involved, don't miss your February Kansas Farmer. All the details of what else he had to say will be there.