Latest from Alan

“I Know What I Know”

Members of Congress are finally getting around to reading the Farm Bill they approved late this winter after three years of gum bumping, chest beating, and finger pointing. Their big discovery so far? Many now are shocked (shocked! I say) that the money they thought they had saved in food stamps and commodity programs won’t […]

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Safe, Not Sorry


Almost everyone in American agriculture, from farmers to ranchers to the top executives of the biggest transnational grain trading and meatpacking firms, loves to say the United States is home to the cheapest, safest food supply in the world. Of course, the global commodity slingers love cheap. It’s the yeast that makes their dough rise […]

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Punching Russia’s Breadbasket


When Vladimir Putin sent his nation’s armed, but unmarked troops into sovereign territory of Ukraine, he became the latest in a long line of Russian Little Big Men to punch Eurasia’s famed breadbasket in the gut. First came the imperial czars, then the revolutionary Bolsheviks and, right behind them and most brutally, Soviet leader Josef […]

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Renewable Energy


The tall, mostly dead red oak on the eastern edge of the farmette still stands this late, long winter, saved mostly by this late, long winter. The majestic, strong-armed tree, my age or a little more, had a date with the saw and maul as soon as the weather turned cold. Deep snow and face-cracking […]

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Read It and Pay


On Jan. 5, 2011,, the website for the “House Republican Majority,” trumpeted news that its members had acted on their “promise” to “ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.” […]

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