From the Column

Let’s Hear It for the Readers, and Writers

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At the end of every fiscal year, June 30, and the end of every calendar year, December 31, readers claim this space to offer their views of my views. Take Mike C. from Texas who, after I wrote a spring column on how climate change will affect food production in 2050, sent a parody of […]

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Betting Against Climate Change

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According to 2013 data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you and I owe our very existence to water. After all, 92 percent of our blood, 75 percent of our brains and muscles, 60 percent bodies and 22 percent of our bones is plain, simple old water. Even more to the point, while most […]

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June’s Sweetest Sound

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There’s no more comforting sound to awaken to than a soft June rain falling on a shingled roof. The patter of the light rain whispers sweet, two-word poems like “Maybe slowly” and “Rising delayed.” On the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth, a rainy June day was a treat almost as great as homemade […]

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Big Meat’s Next Fat Hog

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Two of the world’s biggest meatpackers, Tyson Foods and JBS SA, are in a bare-knuckled, checkbook throw-down over who will own Hillshire Brands, the Chicago-based maker of branded processed meats and packaged food. Which ever firm wins this brawl will matter less to Tyson and JBS than to you or me because it will enable […]

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The Death of Mr. Clayton

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History doesn’t note the first instance of price fixing or monopoly but it’s a safe bet all were around long before Moses and the “Thou shall not steal” commandment. History does record when the U.S. Congress acted to prohibit monopoly and antitrust in business; first, in 1890, with the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act […]

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Touching the Electric Fence

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American humorist Will Rogers once noted that he “wasn’t a member of any organized political party” because “I am a Democrat.” The crack is dead-on funny because it’s bulls-eye true. Just ask any Democrat. Ag Republicans on Capitol Hill, however, are working feverishly to take the title from Rogers’ Dems. Earlier this month, festering differences […]

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Fix Rural Broadband’s Leaky, Creaky Net

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Moving just six miles from a small central Illinois farm town to an even smaller, rural enclave in 2005 took the lovely Catherine and me from a drafty, big house on a leafy, wide street to a tighter, smaller house in a leafy, wide woods. Fabulous. On the flip side, however, somewhere during that short […]

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Feeding the World: Part Two

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It’s just a fact that some people see the proverbial glass half-full rather than half-empty and some people say tomahto, others tomato. These tomahto/half-fullers aren’t knuckleheads. They simply view the world from a different angle and, often, that difference offers fresh insights and solutions others can’t see given their never changing, tomato view. Tim Wise, […]

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Feeding 9 Billion

Just before this weekly effort began 21 years ago this month, its two founders, the lovely Catherine and me, compiled a list of nearly 30 words we thought its title could include. Two words, however, shouted to be in every permutation of every possible title: farm and food. The point of farming was—is—food so any […]

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And the Moral Is…

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If you’re a regular reader of the American agricultural press you already know that the three greatest threats to U.S. farmers and ranchers are the chicken-chasing, nut-eating vegans at PETA, HSUS, and Chipotle Mexican Grill. I know–you were thinking drought, flood and low prices, right? Nope. When the apocalypse arrives, according to we in the […]

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