Posted on December 9, 2015
The gray dullness of November finally made it to Illinois a couple of weeks late.
The morning of its arrival began like almost every morning since Labor Day, warm and with a breeze. By noon, however, a sharp wind was blowing from the east and the low groan of thunder promised both a rain and a […]
Posted on November 4, 2015
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 […]
Posted on October 14, 2015
A lashing, late afternoon thunderstorm roared through Chicago Friday, Sept. 18 to power wash Northerly Island, a tongue of land jutting into Lake Michigan just east of the city’s Loop and site of the 2015 Farm Aid concert. By noon Saturday, however, a bright sun danced with puffy clouds and the Windy City’s sweeping skyline […]
Posted on October 14, 2015
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 […]
Posted on September 30, 2015
Faithful readers of this weekly effort may recall my darling, but dangerous Uncle Honey. He was my hometown’s quiet, easy-going milkman who retired to the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth to break, bend or beat up any plant, animal or machine unlucky enough to be nearby when Honey “helped” my father.
It wasn’t intentional; […]
Posted on September 24, 2015
To hear most of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates tell it, the nation’s biggest problem is illegal immigration.
That’s right; it’s not the incendiary Middle East, the ever-on-edge global financial markets, ballooning overpopulation, rapid climate change, or terrorism either here or abroad. It’s illegal immigration.
It’s so bad, shouts poll-climbing billionaire Donald Trump, that the only solution […]
Posted on August 12, 2015
No July passes without baseball’s All-Star game and no All-Star game passes without most middle-aged farmboys recalling childhood dreams of playing professional baseball. That’s what we did two generations ago: we played baseball in daylight, we listened to baseball in twilight, we dreamt baseball at night.
My baseball dreams reflected my southern Illinois roots. I was […]
Posted on August 4, 2015
“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 […]
Posted on July 15, 2015
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 […]
Posted on June 30, 2015
Two years ago, the 20th anniversary of this weekly effort came and went without notice by its founder, editor, and office cleaning crew. Two months later, that same person finally realized the oversight and, then, promptly forgot it.
This mid-May, however, there is a first-ever—most likely, only-time-ever—reminder that 22 years have passed since three daily newspapers […]