From the Column

Feeding the World: Part Two

It’s just a fact that some people see the proverbial glass half-full rather than half-empty and some people say tomahto, others tomato.
These tomahto/half-fullers aren’t knuckleheads. They simply view the world from a different angle and, often, that difference offers fresh insights and solutions others can’t see given their never changing, tomato view.
Tim Wise, director of […]

Read More

Feeding 9 Billion

Just before this weekly effort began 21 years ago this month, its two founders, the lovely Catherine and me, compiled a list of nearly 30 words we thought its title could include. Two words, however, shouted to be in every permutation of every possible title: farm and food.
The point of farming was—is—food so any comment, […]

Read More

And the Moral Is…

If you’re a regular reader of the American agricultural press you already know that the three greatest threats to U.S. farmers and ranchers are the chicken-chasing, nut-eating vegans at PETA, HSUS, and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
I know–you were thinking drought, flood and low prices, right?
Nope. When the apocalypse arrives, according to we in the ag media, […]

Read More

Welcome Greenie Weenie Wally

Walmart, the elephant of American food retailing, announced April 10 that it plans to bring its clout, cash and vegetable crispers to the American pea patch this year and bigfoot its way into the still-growing U.S. organic grocery business.
The news sent Wall Street motor mouths into overdrive. Walmart’s entrance into organic grocery retailing, they breathlessly […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Doing Nothing Does Nothing

The March 31 front page of almost every daily newspaper in the world featured dire headlines for a story made public the night before by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
“Climate change already affecting food supply,” announced The Guardian in England. “Worst is Yet to Come,” noted that day’s New York Times. “UN […]

Read More

The Chase

Three weeks ago a fluffed-up robin, chin tucked deeply into its rust-colored chest, clung tightly to a low, bare branch of a crab apple tree near my office door. An icy wind ruffled the feathers on its back while the bird, eyes closed, stood stiff as frozen dumpling on the slowly heaving branch.
And it stood […]

Read More

“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 […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

Punching Russia’s Breadbasket

When Vladimir Putin sent his nation’s armed, but unmarked troops into sovereign territory of Ukraine, he became the latest in a long line of Russian Little Big Men to punch Eurasia’s famed breadbasket in the gut.
First came the imperial czars, then the revolutionary Bolsheviks and, right behind them and most brutally, Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
And […]

Read More