Farm Bill

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Herman Melville was a pretty good fiction writer but his 1851 whale of a tale—something about a big fish and a peg-legged man named Ahab—was, in fact, based on the true story of the American whaling ship Essex that, in 1820, was attacked and sunk by a huge whale in the south Pacific.
I’m sorry, you […]

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Going to School During Recess

As the calendar turns to August, Congress turns to recess.
What, our federal legislators haven’t earned a five-week furlough after 90 or so days of sweaty inaction since January?
In preparation for their stopovers in fly-over country, farmers, ranchers, and foodies should read “Packing Political Punch in Rural America,” a six-part online series, on, literally, the lay […]

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The Carnivore’s Dilemma

If most American followed commodity prices as blindly as they follow the Kardashians, the national dinner menu might well feature bushels of cheaper-by-the-day grains and teaspoons of record-priced pork, beef, poultry and fish.
Call it the revenge of the vegan or (with apologies to author Michael Pollan) the carnivore’s dilemma, but 2014 is fast becoming a […]

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Silly Season, Again

The Washington Nationals are the only team in the nation’s capital that’s anywhere close to league-leading this season. The Nats have been either in first or second place in the National League’s Eastern Division most of the year.
Meanwhile up on Capitol Hill, a 15-minute walk north of Nats Park, Congress is putting together another horrible […]

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Touching the Electric Fence

American humorist Will Rogers once noted that he “wasn’t a member of any organized political party” because “I am a Democrat.” The crack is dead-on funny because it’s bulls-eye true. Just ask any Democrat.
Ag Republicans on Capitol Hill, however, are working feverishly to take the title from Rogers’ Dems. Earlier this month, festering differences between […]

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“I Know What I Know”

Members of Congress are finally getting around to reading the Farm Bill they approved late this winter after three years of gum bumping, chest beating, and finger pointing. Their big discovery so far?
Many now are shocked (shocked! I say) that the money they thought they had saved in food stamps and commodity programs won’t be […]

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Safe, Not Sorry

Almost everyone in American agriculture, from farmers to ranchers to the top executives of the biggest transnational grain trading and meatpacking firms, loves to say the United States is home to the cheapest, safest food supply in the world.
Of course, the global commodity slingers love cheap. It’s the yeast that makes their dough rise because, […]

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Read It and Pay

On Jan. 5, 2011, www.gop.gov, the website for the “House Republican Majority,” trumpeted news that its members had acted on their “promise” to “ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.”
The […]

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The Next One

House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, a fast talker by birth and trade, spared few superlatives when describing, in a telephone press conference Jan. 28, the finally finished, modestly named Agricultural Act of 2014.
“Historic in many ways,” Lucas said of the pending law as he shared the call with his Senate counterpart, Debbie Stabenow, a […]

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‘Just plain stupid’

In a recent television interview, famed Wall Street investor Warren Buffett characterized the October federal government shut-down as “totally irresponsible” and said the failure of leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to raise the nation’s debt ceiling until moments before possible default was “just plain stupid.”
Unlike most stock market billionaires, Buffett wasn’t talking “his […]

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