From the Column

Want respect? Show respect

Some things never change: In 1981, the White House and Congress were locked in a Farm Bill fight the likes no one had seen before.
On one side was an overwhelmingly Democratic House and Senate that wanted more active federal policies on export embargoes, target prices and dairy support prices. They easily had the votes to […]

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On the road: California

From the baking but breezy rest stop in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert, Interstate 15 disappears into the low mountains southwest toward Los Angeles and northeast towards Las Vegas. The desert is huge, brown and desolate. The highway is flat, gray and jammed with cars roaring both directions at 70 miles an hour.
It’s the […]

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Fields of gold

On a sparkling fall day a week before the first FarmAid concert at the University of Illinois, I drove the back roads to Champaign to pick up two press passes for the lovely Catherine and me. It was mid-September, 1985, and the brown corn and yellowing soybeans rattled and rippled in a soothing breeze.
Later, while […]

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Cartel capers

There are two reasons to keep up-to-speed on the fast pace of events in what would seem to be the very dull world of potash.
The first reason is that the key players in this once-tightly controlled market continue–at least temporarily–to loose their grip on it. According to analysts’ prices for this key fertilizers could drop […]

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Fixed bayonets

So just what was Congress, and especially, the U.S. House of Representatives, doing when it entered the final week of its high-speed game of chicken with the White House and three out of four Americans who said loudly and clearly that they did not want a government shutdown?
One part of the answer, the political part, […]

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You can’t make this up

A month ago an editor friend replied to a draft copy of one of these weekly efforts with the simple email comment: “You’ve got to be kidding.”
My reply assured him I wasn’t kidding because, “No one, not even me, can make this stuff up.”
For example, could you make up the fact that when the circus, […]

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High mileage chicken

Just before the Labor Day weekend began Friday, Aug. 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that China was welcome “to export processed, cooked chicken to the United States.”
If USDA hoped this little nugget might get overlooked during summer’s last, languid holiday, that thought was deep-fried by noon when Politico, the fast-rising […]

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OK, but how many people?

Our good friends at Progressive Farmer magazine fill 15 pages of their September issue with a well-researched, very well-written “special report” on “Feeding the World.”( http://www.dtnpf-digital.com/#&pageSet=26)
The four-color, four-story  package hits all the humane highlights U.S. farmers and ranchers expect in these stories of manifest destiny and when “the world will look to the U.S. to help […]

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Shut up, butt out, get lost

On Aug. 27, the late summer heat of Washington, D.C. was spit-roasting locals and tourists alike up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Inside the U.S. District Courthouse, a half-block off the main thoroughfare and just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, however, all anyone from Mexico to Canada could talk about was COOL, the American law that […]

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The Other Red Meat

A lean hog is not a fat chicken but the marketing geniuses hired by the National Pork Board sure sold a lotta’ hams, bacons and butts when, in 1987, they began to promote pork as “The Other White Meat.”
Now, 25 years after that brilliant slight of hand, the pork crowd wants to be known as […]

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