Latest from Alan

Big Ag’s Weak Hand in Nitrate Fight

For over a year the Des Moines Water Works has been warning every private farmer and public official in Iowa that it would sue anyone or any entity it deemed responsible for the dangerously high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River, a key source of the water it delivers to 500,000 people in and around […]

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The COOL Facts

Country of origin labeling, or COOL, for meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts sold in the U.S. has been kicked around by the courts, politicians, international trade panels and special interest farm groups since it became law in 2008. The only people who haven’t kicked it are American consumers. Polls consistently report that at least 85 […]

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Winter From the Window

January’s week of blistering cold was met with the blissful heat from the farmette’s two efficient woodstoves. Red oak and hickory are, after all, the July and August of wood heat both when you split ‘em and when you burn ‘em. Zero degree cold was not common on the big southern Illinois dairy farm of […]

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Welcome Back, Foodie

We didn’t know it back then but everyone on the big southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth was a foodie. Of course there was no one named Bittman or Pollan or Waters to tell us we were foodies but there were people named Mom and Grandma and Aunt Nina whose food knocked your socks […]

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Dirt’s Big Year

Last year may have been a lot of things to a lot of people but one thing it surely wasn’t was predictable. I mean who foresaw last year’s record-setting high in the U.S. stock market, the plunge in global crude oil prices, Russia’s naked grab of Ukraine’s sovereign territory or the Obama Administration’s reaching out […]

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