Special Interests

More of More of The Same

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there now are federal commodity checkoffs for beef, blueberries, Christmas trees, cotton, dairy products, eggs, fluid milk, Hass avocados, “Honey Packers and Importers,” lamb, mango, mushrooms, paper and paper-based packaging, peanuts, popcorn, pork, potatoes, processed raspberries, softwood lumber, sorghum, soybeans and watermelons.
Let’s see, that’s 1, 2, 3… […]

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Let’s Hear It for the Readers, and Writers

At the end of every fiscal year, June 30, and the end of every calendar year, December 31, readers claim this space to offer their views of my views.
Take Mike C. from Texas who, after I wrote a spring column on how climate change will affect food production in 2050, sent a parody of a […]

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Betting Against Climate Change

According to 2013 data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you and I owe our very existence to water. After all, 92 percent of our blood, 75 percent of our brains and muscles, 60 percent bodies and 22 percent of our bones is plain, simple old water.
Even more to the point, while most of […]

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Big Meat’s Next Fat Hog

Two of the world’s biggest meatpackers, Tyson Foods and JBS SA, are in a bare-knuckled, checkbook throw-down over who will own Hillshire Brands, the Chicago-based maker of branded processed meats and packaged food.
Which ever firm wins this brawl will matter less to Tyson and JBS than to you or me because it will enable one […]

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The Death of Mr. Clayton

History doesn’t note the first instance of price fixing or monopoly but it’s a safe bet all were around long before Moses and the “Thou shall not steal” commandment.
History does record when the U.S. Congress acted to prohibit monopoly and antitrust in business; first, in 1890, with the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act and, […]

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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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Just the Facts Ma’am

As this space has often noted, facts, figures, and data are as essential to journalism as verbs, nouns, and dangling participles. In fact, journalism without facts is a cup of tea without tea.
We also understand that erudite farm and food conversationalists—like you, for instance—are often on the prowl for convincing evidence and fresh facts to […]

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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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