From the Column

No Trade? No Kidding.

You know it’s a presidential election year when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues late summer press releases where nearly half the ink touts the Obama’s Administration’s past ag successes even as it announces actual news. On Aug. 1 USDA issued just such a press release; 315 of its 635 words bragged about the […]

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Warbling Bluebirds

The Texas rancher was rehashing his Capitol Hill meeting over a cold beer and a not-much-warmer steak at a swanky restaurant a block or two from the White House. “It was pretty discouraging,” he said as he sliced into the slab of red rib-eye. “That guy”—his congressman—“had no more idea of what he was talking […]

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For the Record

It’s tough being a politician in today’s Big Data Age because something you said—or didn’t say—15 or 20 years ago pops up every 15 or 20 minutes on a database someplace between Terra Haute and Tierra del Fuego. Take the Republican vice presidential candidate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana. Before the-then presumptive GOP presidential nominee, […]

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“Your Arrogance is Unbelievable”

Recently, my pastor, a former U.S. Army chaplain, noted that the only thing with a higher rank than a chaplain on any Army helicopter is the mail. “I could bump a general off a flight—not that I ever did—but the mail flies before either of us,” he related. That makes perfect sense; no amount of […]

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The Land of Non

For years we Americans have been perfecting the art of non-action action. It began about a generation ago with the non-apology apology: “If I offended you, I apologize.” Later we moved on to the non-committal commitment: “I’ll be there unless I get a better offer.” Now, courtesy of Congress, our non-legislating legislature, we might soon […]

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“Oh, I Believe in Yesterday”

Across the centuries, Great Britain has given the world many things uniquely British—the Puritans, Andrew Carnegie, The Beatles and, as we Americans again celebrate this Fourth of July, the United States. On June 23, it gave the world another significant gift: a big step into the dark abyss of a go-it-alone future in today’s ever-globalizing […]

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Like a Good Neighbor

It’s hard to think of summer without thinking of the many neighbors we shared the southern Illinois heat, humidity, and mosquitoes with on the dairy farm of my youth. Back then, in the mid-1960s, we’d often see neighbors across the table-flat Mississippi River Bottoms as they cultivated corn or soybeans and we baled straw or […]

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Brexit: “Taking Farmers for Fools”

With electronic ignition, fuel injection and more computing power than the space shuttle, today’s cars and trucks never backfire. Our politicians—with less horsepower and far less memory—often still do. The latest may be British Prime Minister David Cameron who, during his 2015 reelection campaign, promised British voters a referendum on whether the United Kingdom (UK) […]

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A Good Life at “Home”

Night has day, up has down, and Hugh Grant has Gene Logsdon. Monsanto’s Hugh Grant, as almost everyone in Big Ag knows, is chairman and CEO of the world’s premier agricultural seed company now hotly pursued by German chemical giant Bayer AG. Writer and journalist Gene Logsdon, as almost no one in Big Ag knows, […]

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The “Con” in Econometric

While American farmers and ranchers were eyeball-deep in spring planting and first-hay cutting, their commodity groups and federal government were knee-deep in narrowly-focused studies filled with meaningless numbers and unchallenged econometric puffery. For example, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and U.S. Grains Council (USGC) released a privately “commissioned” report May 24 that proclaimed the […]

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