Posted on May 6, 2022
American farmers are long familiar with acre wars. This regional, late winter scrum is a showdown over how many acres of corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat acres farmers will plant mainly in the Midwest, Great Plains, and South.
Most years these fights are decided by a variable–and oftentimes volatile–combination of three elements: what market prices are […]
Posted on March 31, 2022
For the second time in two years, a history-making calamity has shown just how fragile the world’s efficiency-driven, deeply interdependent food system is.
Two years ago, a rampaging pandemic threatened America’s pantries. Today, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens supplies of key ag inputs like fuel and fertilizer while causing deep disruptions to global wheat, corn, and […]
Posted on March 18, 2022
One of the most beautiful–and inexplicable–aspects of economics is how its practitioners never seem to be wrong.
Indeed, almost every school of economic thought, from John Maynard Keynes’ demand-driven economics on the left to Arthur Laffer’s supply-side economics on the right, is crowded with disciples defending their leader’s theories and just often, if subtly, attacking their […]
Posted on March 4, 2022
As deep winter reasserted itself over most of the nation’s farms and ranches, the New York Times brought some real heat to the Big-Ag-Fights-Climate-Change debate.
In a 14-minute, fast-paced video titled “Meet the People Getting Paid to Kill Our Planet,” the film’s subtitle not only names the killers, it convicts them, too: “American agriculture is ravaging the air, […]
Posted on February 18, 2022
For more than 40 years my father farmed within a mile of where the Kaskaskia River met the Mississippi deep in southern Illinois. That meant he had two, lifetime partners: the river and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, landlords of the levees that guarded our wedge of the Great American Bottoms.
Dad never argued with […]
Posted on January 26, 2022
No one was shocked recently when the General Accountability Office (GAO) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had overpaid farmers billions of dollars during the slapdash tariff-mitigation scheme ordered by the Trump White House in 2018 and 2019.
A couple of billion bucks in government waste is, evidently, chump change when–as in the case of […]
Posted on January 21, 2022
Despite an honest-to-goodness flood of evidence to the contrary, more than 100 million American adults continue to deny the existence of climate change. That’s roughly one third of the country.
Congress is little better. Currently, 109 House members and 30 senators, or about 26 percent of all members, have cast “doubt on the clear, established scientific […]
Posted on January 21, 2022
It always seems odd to use the final week or two of the current year as a platform to view the coming year. How does looking in the rearview mirror give anyone a clear sense of what’s ahead?
That certainly was the case for most ag markets a year ago. For example, almost no one last […]
Posted on December 10, 2021
Not many people or events lead both the New York Times and CBS’s 60 Minutes television broadcast on the same day. The still-building mess at many American ports, however, pulled off that rare feat Sunday, Nov. 14, by simply being the biggest rat’s nest anyone in port management, railroading, trucking, or the West Coast ag exporting business has ever […]
Posted on November 26, 2021
The federal government can spend more money in 10 minutes than Congress, its watchdog, can track in 10 years. Still, Congressional oversight–as late and limited as it often is–remains a vital element of government.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis proved just how vital in two reports released in October: Tens of millions in […]