Posted on June 20, 2019
Most American farmers spent the last week of May and the first week of June either driving through mud or stuck in it. Their two farming partners, Mother Nature and Uncle Sam, were little help; one brought threats of more rain and mud, the other threats of more tariffs and bailouts.
Farmers in my […]
Posted on June 12, 2019
The month of May left as it arrived: riding in a rowboat from flooded farm field to flooded farm field across the Midwest. Worse, June is sloshing in with more rain, more mud, and more worry.
Complicating an already complicated spring, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a broad, new scheme that could pay U.S. farmers up […]
Posted on May 30, 2019
No one I know has ever witnessed a train wreck as it happened. As such, when a friend or colleague says or writes that an event “was like watching a train wreck happen,” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t like watching a train wreck happen.
Until Sunday, May 5, that is, when President Donald J. Twitter […]
Posted on May 30, 2019
Decades ago, when discussing the complexity of U.S. tax code, an ag lobbyist friend noted that all he wanted in any tax reform “was to pay the same taxes the generals paid: General Mills, General Motors, General Dynamics…”
He’d still take that deal. In 2018, General Dynamics had an effective tax rate of 17.8 […]
Posted on May 2, 2019
If what we’re seeing now is the Trump trade “strategy”—cram trade talks between the U.S. and China, the U.S. and Japan, and the U.S. and European Union (E.U.) into an ever-tightening window—export-dependent American farmers and ranchers are in serious trouble for several reasons.
The first reason is the relentless calendar. Trade talks require years […]
Posted on February 6, 2019
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 […]
Posted on January 3, 2019
If the calendar was a baseball game, mid-December would be the bottom of the ninth.
As such, and given 2018’s crazy weather, banner crops, sloppy harvest, muddled export future, and skinny-to-no profit, mid-December finds farmers and ranchers now at bat with two outs and the opposing team’s smoke-throwing relief pitcher on the mound.
Yeah, it’s been a […]
Posted on December 12, 2018
Years ago, an enterprising neighbor operated a palm reading business from her home with just a secretary, fax machine, and telephone. Her business model was simple: After clients faxed their photocopied handprint and sent some form of payment (rumor had it was $20), our neighbor telephoned them with the results of the “reading.”
While no one […]
Posted on November 29, 2018
It’s Thanksgiving week, so let’s be generous: The White House trade policy, marked by its heavy use of import tariffs and presidential tweets, continues to confound economists and trading partners alike.
A more accurate, less generous view of President Donald J. Trump’s trade policy would declare it an unhinged mess that has led to a dark, […]
Posted on October 17, 2018
Farmers and ranchers spent most of last month hoping the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent crop estimates would be proven wrong and President Donald J. Trump’s “plan” to fix “the world’s worst trade deals ever” would be proven right.
September, however, disappointed them on both counts.
On Sept. 12, USDA reported that the already big 2018 […]