Farm Policy

Go Slow on the Bull

You wouldn’t order a new pick-up truck without reserving the right to amend—choose—how the truck is equipped inside and out. The same goes for a new combine or an operating loan.
After all, it’s your farm or ranch so, naturally, you’ll choose what’s right for you and it and not let some ratchet-jawed salesman dictate the […]

Read More

Ag’s New Math

It might be a new year but the old year’s weaknesses persist.
For example, I still try to type the word “separate” with one “a,” still can’t walk past a display of cherry licorice without buying some, and still can’t do high-end math like, say, division.
Part of that latter weakness goes back to the 1960s when […]

Read More

The triumph of dumb

Somewhere along his long, winding way from Delaware to Indiana to Washington D.C., Bart Chilton picked up a desire for public service, a view that government should serve the powerful and powerless alike and a trusted way to bring people together to write straightforward, fair public policy.
Appointed in 2007 by President George W. Bush, Chilton […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More