Farm Bill

Tweet, Tweet

The tweeting heard by U.S. farmers and ranchers this fall isn’t that loquacious social media birdie Twitter. Instead, it’s canaries—coal mine canaries, to be exact—and their song is neither short nor sweet.
In fact, it’s downright dour. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, this year’s 36 percent fall in net farm income is the biggest […]

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Free Trade’s Cheap Talk

Most U.S. farm and commodity groups aren’t clear on the exact elements of the just agreed-upon Trans-Pacific Partnership. That lack of understanding, though, hasn’t stopped any from praising this “new, high-standard trade agreement that levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses.”
For example, our good friends at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association say […]

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Surprise! (Not)

The recent history of the third most powerful constitutional office in the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, is so checkered that you have to seriously examine the background of anyone who seeks it.
For example, in June 1989, Texan Jim Wright, who had been Speaker for two years and change, resigned when […]

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Diversity and Resilience versus Corn and Soybeans

By car, Quebec City, Quebec, is 1,840 miles from Bismarck, ND. I know because in the last two months I have seen every mile of highway between North Dakota’s state capital on the Missouri to Quebec’s provincial capital on the St. Lawrence.
Interestingly, as you drive west to east across arguably some of the New World’s […]

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Idaho’s “Ag Gag” Bagged

In a relatively short, toughly-worded decision issued Aug. 3, a federal judge in Idaho struck down that state’s year-old “ag gag” law that sought to “criminalize” undercover, or whistleblower, investigations of livestock facilities suspected of animal abuse.
The action by B. Lynn Winmill, chief judge of Idaho’s U.S. District Court, is the first time any “ag […]

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“What Makes You an Expert?”

“I just read your column,” noted an Illinois critic of an early May piece that outlined a proposed, multi-billion dollar merger between the key players in the prepared foods sector.
“I have just one question,” the emailer went on, “what makes you an expert in the Sysco attempt to buy US Foods?”
Ah, blessed readers; they are […]

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Nature’s Calling; Anyone Listening?

Question: What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Answer: Neither; both arrived after a qualified veterinarian declared their farm disease-free following a complete depopulation because of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI.
It’s no joke.
On June 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that 192 “detections” of […]

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Got Guts? Bet on TPP

Let’s go out on a small limb and make a big prediction: Not only will the U.S. Senate vote to give this president and the next one fast track trade authority, so too will the U.S. House of Representatives.
Moreover, and since we’re already on the limb, here are two more predictions: First, both the House […]

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American Exceptionalism–Except for What We Grow

In the chaos that surrounded Congress leaving Washington, D.C. for a flag-waving Memorial Day holiday, your House Ag Committee found time May 20 to vote to kill Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, for beef, pork, and chicken sold in the U.S.
If you carnivores out here are keeping score, the Ag Committee vote was the […]

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Big Food’s Baloney

Sysco Corporation may not be a topic of dinner conversation most evenings anywhere in the U.S. but it is what many Americans are having for dinner—and lunch and breakfast—almost any day everywhere in America.
You may not have heard of Sysco, but you’ve seen ‘em.
Ever pull up to a local fast or fast casual restaurant, nearby […]

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