From the Column

Unlocking the Rural Economy Requires Different Keys

Of all the places you’d expect to see a fight between the cold, hard face of ag economics and the warm, tender heart of rural America, that place would not be the corner of West 41st St. and Eighth Avenue in New York City, the home of the New York Times.

      And yet there it was in […]

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Corporations Have Rights; Why Not a Lake?

If the ballot box is the ultimate source of power in the United States, then voters in Toledo, Ohio, used that power Feb. 26 to create what’s now being called a “Bill of Rights” for their wide, blue neighbor, Lake Erie.

      That vote, if it withstands court challenges (one was filed immediately after the referendum […]

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It’s Not Easy Making An Egg Out of An Omelet

According to the Roman calendar, the Ides of March was the ancient empire’s traditional day to settle debts. In 44 B.C., Brutus and Cassius, two of Rome’s elite senators, settled a political debt with Julius Caesar, their leader, by stabbing him to death in the Senate on the Ides, or March 15.

      Little blood is […]

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If You Want to See the Future, You Need to Look Ahead

To most farmers and ranchers, “sustainable” is a word that, like exercise or vacation, has a dictionary definition and a personal definition. The difference between the two, however, often is the difference between the county fair and the World’s Fair.

      These folks aren’t alone. Almost everyone and everything from commodity groups to coal companies make […]

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In the Long Run It’s, Well, a Long Run

One of the oldest theoretical constructions in economics declares that in a perfect market, short term profits and losses eventually even out so that, in the long term, all profits are zero.

      Famed 20th century English economist John Maynard Keynes gets credit for restating this jargon-rich theory into clear, concise language when, in 1923, he wrote, […]

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Spring Needs to Bring Two Thaws: Snow and Ag Trade

For those of us who have slid, shoveled, and skated through the wildest up-and-down February weather in years, here’s a warm thought: corn planters are rolling in southern Texas.

      Need another reason to plant a smile on your face? In eight weeks, corn planters will be running all over today’s wintry Midwest.

      After that brief […]

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The State of The Nation’s Farm and Food Union

The President of the United States should not be the only federal official required to offer the nation’s citizens an annual report on the “State of the Union.”

      Every senior department executive—from Cabinet secretaries and the Pentagon chiefs to the Senate’s majority leader and the House speaker—should be required to examine their integral part of […]

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Knives, Forks, and Farmers Favor Immigration Reform

When Internal Revenue Service (IRS) workers returned to their jobs Jan. 28 after the recent, 35-day government shutdown, an estimated five million pieces of unopened mail awaited.

      Equally daunting, the shutdown coincided with the IRS’s hiring of its annual army of temporary workers to process the impending tax season’s mail. The delay now leaves the […]

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Shutdown? Not on the dairy farm of my youth.

There was no “shutdown”—not in the U.S. government sense, anyway—on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth.

Come to think of it, there was never a showdown, hoedown, lockdown, or shakedown either. There were, however, machinery breakdowns, endless sundowns and, every now and then, a letdown.

But shutdowns? Not one, not even a “partial” one.

In fact, if anyone […]

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Heading for the Brexit

Two hundred and forty-three years after the not-yet United States declared its independence in a lengthy letter to England’s King George III, the old enemies are, yet again, new allies.

This time, however, it’s an unlikely alliance of defiance; both are challenging international institutions like the World Trade Organization and the European Union (E.U.) which some […]

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