From the Column

The Endless Politics of GMOs

It’s tough being a genetically modified organism in election season because no election passes without someone or some state slamming you for being, well, you. This election is no different. Voters in Oregon and Colorado are in the home stretch of multi-million-dollar ballot fights to decide if you will be identified and labeled in and […]

Read More

2014 Farm Bill: “Immense Bundle of Subsidies”

In a series of toughly-worded articles published in Choices, the quarterly journal of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA), nearly every major element of the 2014 Farm Bill—from its expanded crop insurance program to its impact on global trade negotiations—comes under fire as either “perverse,” “false,” “vacuous,” “absurd,” “failing,” or “wasteful.” The seven articles, […]

Read More

Confused? We’re Not!

All right, listen up! We’ve got a lot to sort out here and little time to do it. First off, sure, you’re confused. Hey, your neighbor is confused. Your uncle’s confused. Your dog’s confused. Fact is, everyone’s confused. But we’ve been confused worse than this before and we all managed to somehow find our way […]

Read More

Want Reform? First, Audit.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stunned the cowboy crowd Tues., Sept. 30, when, in a one-sided meeting in his office, he told seven members of the nearly three-years-old beef checkoff reform effort that if they didn’t find common ground soon he might impose a second beef checkoff that would double the annual, non-refundable collections of […]

Read More

The Price of Access? $1.2 Billion

What did individuals and political action committees believe they were buying when, according to Sept. 30 totals compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), they contributed $755.1 million this election cycle to Republican and Democratic candidates for the U.S. House and $415.2 million to Republican and Democratic candidates to the U.S. Senate? The answer […]

Read More

Who Knew…

… that Bill Gates, the Harvard drop-out who co-founded Microsoft, owns 8.4 percent of Deere & Co., worth about $2.5 billion and “at least 100,000 acres of farmland in California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana and other states” that includes a 490-acre Wyoming ranch once owned by William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Gates also holds a stake (oh […]

Read More

Slouching Toward Election Day

There are facts on which the world operates and there are facts on which politics operate. Spoiler alert: the two are not the same. For example, key Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate have fought every effort this year to allow Congress a vote to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an […]

Read More

So Choose

This summer delivered many significant, round-numbered anniversaries. For example, June 6 was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Aug. 1 the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, August 9 the 40th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, and Aug. 12 the 200th anniversary of the British burning the U.S. Capitol. […]

Read More

Change on the Wind

The early morning wind rises with the sun from the east. Where I live, an east wind blows change. There’s a meteorological explanation for this, of course, but long before there was meteorology or meteorologists the east wind blew change. The wind (it’s not a breeze) rattles the two black walnut trees in the far […]

Read More

Say What?

Farmers and ranchers have a well-deserved reputation for straight talk. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say, after all, were essential elements in the handshake deals that were the hallmark of rural business for generations. They still are. Now, however, some folks outside the nation’s fields and fences are working overtime to wash—and, […]

Read More