Editorial by Seth Dukes:
As I was driving to Muldraugh the other day, I was thoroughly enjoying my 90s playlist. All of a sudden, a favorite of mine began to play — Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems.” For those of you that are unfamiliar, the chorus goes as follows:
“I don’t know what they want from me. It’s like the more money we come across, the more problems we see.”
In my mind’s eye, I couldn’t help but picture Nucor’s Johnny Jacobs filling the shoes of Biggie and asking Meade County, “What do you want from me?”
I’ve been in the courtroom for everything that’s happened in this lawsuit filed by the Lincoln Trail Grain Growers. As I sit there, I can’t help but feel sympathy for Nucor.
Nucor is not accused of any wrongdoing in this case. They are merely involved due to their association with the deal. Still, they are forced to endure the criticism, and they’re also at risk of losing millions of dollars should this whole thing go pear-shaped.
Admittedly, it feels a little odd for me to acknowledge my sympathy toward a billion-dollar company while I sit in my oh-so-economical Honda Civic, but I can’t help it.
While Nucor’s $1.35 billion investment is exactly that — an investment they’re making to see more profits rather than a donation check made out to Meade County — it doesn’t mean that Meade County isn’t going to come out ahead as well. I and many others have been over the positive economic impacts Nucor will have on the area many times. Let’s just say they’re substantial. And what does Nucor have to show for it so far? A lawsuit.
Nearly everyone I’ve spoken with — including farmers — have said they are not anti-Nucor.
Well, you could have fooled me.
Of course, I have sympathy for the farmers as well. I do agree that they were likely left in the dark for most of this and were blindsided by the news that they’d have to travel much further to deliver their grain, but what did Nucor have to do with that? The only thing Nucor has done to restrict grain sales in the county is carve out a five-mile radius around them that it can’t happen in. I’m not a grain expert by any stretch, nor am I a farmer, but I find it very hard to believe that those five miles contain the only acceptable place for a grain elevator in the county.
Throughout all of this, Nucor has repeatedly said that they are excited to be coming to Meade County. It’s easy to discount this as public relations tongue wagging, but money talks. They’re investing real dollars in the community, and not just because they see it as a logistical success. I haven’t sat in on any of their board meetings, but I’m certain that logistics aren’t all that’s considered when a new facility’s location is chosen.
Nucor has decided that our location is great for their business. They’ve decided that our community would be a great place for their workers to live. They’ve decided that our school system will provide their employee’s children with knowledge to go above and beyond. They’ve decided that they want to pull Meade County up on their horse and carry us along for the ride toward success.
So, what does Meade County want from Nucor? Do the citizens really want the entire deal to be declared unlawful? Do we want Nucor to pack up and move on to somewhere else? Nucor doesn’t want that. I certainly don’t want that. You probably don’t want that. I doubt any of the farmers want that. Can there be a scenario where everyone — including the farmers — wins? I think so, but only time will tell.
Until next time, stay humble, stay low, and blow like Hootie.