From the Column

That’s You

If you wanted to renegotiate an aging but working trade treaty with two of your biggest, best customers, you’d think sweet talk and calm persuasion might work better than boorish bombast and shrill demands.
Well, think again because the Trump Administration is now in charge and bombast and demands are standing protocols whether you’re dealing with […]

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Predictably Irrational

When it comes to the artful science of economics, most American farmers and ranchers are classic Ricardians, or followers of David Ricardo, an 18th century English stock trader whose influential book, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, explained what he saw as the market’s guiding lights.
Any ag econ student from the last 150 […]

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Taking a Knee

If the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) current forecasts are even close to being right and the nation’s politicians continue their year-long blood feud, football players won’t be the only ones on their knees in protest.
Indeed, almost every piece of news out of USDA these days arrives wrapped in black crepe. For example:
–U.S. cotton production […]

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Regular Order

For Congressional Republicans, a late winter and early spring of small hiccups turned into a summer of bigger roadblocks. Now, just days into fall, spectacular failure looms.
At the center of all this stumbling is the impossible-to-undo Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Senate and House Republicans have tried mightily to deliver on their ACA […]

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Picking Up the Tab

In good years and in bad, there’s a lot of money in American food. Regardless of the year, however, less of it flows back to the folks who actually grow the food, American farmers and ranchers.
For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that cash paid to American farmers and ranchers this year—for everything […]

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Cat’s Feet

The early morning fog, like poet Carl Sandburg once noted, arrived on cat’s feet and remains, napping, on the lake until a warming sun causes it to slip away the way it came, in silence.
Fifty years ago I watched the September fog while waiting for the morning school bus on the southern Illinois dairy farm […]

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Demanding More

After Hurricane Harvey plowed through east Texas with roof-peeling winds and never-before-seen rain, millions of Americans were left not knowing what to do or where to turn.
President Donald J. Trump made two trips to the flattened, flooded region. In his first drop-in, most observers noted, the President failed to cry with any bereaved, comfort any […]

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Groundhog Day

The calendar may show Labor Day but with another enormous American harvest and its resulting low prices just around the corner it feels more like Groundhog Day.
The movie, I mean, not the shadowy holiday.
The reason why, as Bill Murray’s boorish character learns, is because we’ve been here before. And before and before and before. In […]

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Commodity Agriculture’s Dark “Green” Future

A generation ago, GMO sounded like the name of an American muscle car, a text was what the preacher based his Sunday sermon on, and Facebook was two words that meant face and book.
Now, 25 short years later, genetically modified seeds dominate American agriculture, texting has replaced baseball as our national pastime, and Facebook’s market […]

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Men in Black

Play, watch or listen to any baseball game and, sooner than later, what you thought was a strike will be called a ball, or vice versa, by the home plate umpire.
Most times, it’s not a big deal. There are, after all, hundreds of pitches in any game and the balls and strikes called by the […]

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