Farm Bill

“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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Kicking the CFTC Can

Confession time: Over the last three years I often have referred to the 113th and 114th Congress as either “do nothing” or “doing less than nothing.”
This is wrong because each passing day of continued Congressional nothingness clearly shows House and Senate leaders, then as now, busy as bees planning and implementing detailed action plans for […]

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OK, When?

Spring is warmer days, blooming daffodils, and blue horizons. It’s also a good time to tap the season’s new energy and fresh hope to honestly discuss some of farming and food’s most pressing issues.
For example, global energy companies now spend more than $500 billion a year exploring for new oil, natural gas, and coal. At […]

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Where’s The Love?

While kids always choose Christmas as the best holiday of the year, Christians everywhere celebrate Easter as the most important because, they teach, the anniversary of Christ’s “victory over death” on the hilltop called Calvary proves both His divinity and the promise of salvation.
Indeed, if you are Christian, Easter is where the ultimate sacrifice brings […]

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The Numbers Never Add Up

There’s little mystery to why many Americans distrust Congress: the numbers its members offer as hard facts are often exposed as pure fiction.
Take the numbers offered recently by Rep. Aaron Schock, the Illinois Republican who resigned his House seat, effective March 31, “following revelations of lavish spending, payments to donors for flights on private jets […]

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Please, Just Bruce, Not Kingmaker

We will not be attending the “Iowa Agricultural Summit,” March 7 in Des Moines because, oh dear, this is embarrassing, we were not invited.
Yes, many non-farming, political types were invited and will be there. Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore […]

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