Big Ag

Who Knew…

… that Bill Gates, the Harvard drop-out who co-founded Microsoft, owns 8.4 percent of Deere & Co., worth about $2.5 billion and “at least 100,000 acres of farmland in California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana and other states” that includes a 490-acre Wyoming ranch once owned by William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Gates also holds a stake (oh […]

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Slouching Toward Election Day

There are facts on which the world operates and there are facts on which politics operate. Spoiler alert: the two are not the same.
For example, key Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate have fought every effort this year to allow Congress a vote to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour […]

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So Choose

This summer delivered many significant, round-numbered anniversaries.
For example, June 6 was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Aug. 1 the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, August 9 the 40th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, and Aug. 12 the 200th anniversary of the British burning the U.S. Capitol.
Most are […]

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Say What?

Farmers and ranchers have a well-deserved reputation for straight talk. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say, after all, were essential elements in the handshake deals that were the hallmark of rural business for generations.
They still are.
Now, however, some folks outside the nation’s fields and fences are working overtime to wash—and, in many […]

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OMG GMOs

The cool summer heated up mid-month when a longstanding war of words re-ignited with three little matches labeled “GMO.”
That this fire still burns hot 20 years after the introduction of GM crops is testament to both the public’s continuing unease about putting something known as “genetically modified organisms” in their mouths and the immense political […]

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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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Right On?

You’d think that a state constitution eight times longer than the U.S. Constitution might cover every right, act or idea any of its citizens might need, do or ponder.
Not so in the Show Me State, Missouri, where on Tues., Aug. 5, voters will decide if they should add a “right to farm” amendment to its […]

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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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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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