Latest from Alan

Checkoffs Go Dark

Big Ag’s control of the non-refundable, federally-chartered Research & Promotion programs—more commonly known as commodity checkoffs—reached new heights April 19 when the House Appropriations Committee approved the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $21.3 billion 2017 budget. Tucked 34 pages into the pending bill’s 217 pages of bureaucratic thatch was this thorn: Since “commodity Research and Promotion […]

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A Spring With Little Bounce

Hints of spring arrived early this year but the season itself seemed to be in the slow lane because rare was the week when back-to-back sunny days warmed the tired winter soul. The daffodils and jonquils did arrive in mid-March and then waved away for almost a month before a quick burst of late April […]

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They Never Stopped Making It

Forty-five years ago, anyone hoping to be someone in American agriculture was offered the same, free advice: “Buy land; they’re not making it anymore.” But “they” were making it. In fact, lots and lots of it. According to data reported by the United Nations, the world’s farmable land base grew by about 240 million acres […]

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Change Ain’t Grilled Cheese

According to the website Nationalcalendarday.com, April 12 was National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, National Licorice Day, National Equal Pay Day, National Library Workers Day, and National Big Wind Day. None of these “national” days are national. They are made up, mostly by groups or causes seeking free publicity. That’s true even for that wonderfully Washington, […]

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The Ethanol Trap

March did not go out like either a lion or a lamb. In fact, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its Prospective Plantings Report midday March 31, the month—as well as the 2016 corn market—highballed it into history faster than a runaway train. The coal was USDA’s forecast that farmers intend to plant 93.6 […]

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