Special Interests

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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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Herman Melville was a pretty good fiction writer but his 1851 whale of a tale—something about a big fish and a peg-legged man named Ahab—was, in fact, based on the true story of the American whaling ship Essex that, in 1820, was attacked and sunk by a huge whale in the south Pacific.
I’m sorry, you […]

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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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Let’s Hear It for the Readers, and Writers

At the end of every fiscal year, June 30, and the end of every calendar year, December 31, readers claim this space to offer their views of my views.
Take Mike C. from Texas who, after I wrote a spring column on how climate change will affect food production in 2050, sent a parody of a […]

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Betting Against Climate Change

According to 2013 data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you and I owe our very existence to water. After all, 92 percent of our blood, 75 percent of our brains and muscles, 60 percent bodies and 22 percent of our bones is plain, simple old water.
Even more to the point, while most of […]

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Big Meat’s Next Fat Hog

Two of the world’s biggest meatpackers, Tyson Foods and JBS SA, are in a bare-knuckled, checkbook throw-down over who will own Hillshire Brands, the Chicago-based maker of branded processed meats and packaged food.
Which ever firm wins this brawl will matter less to Tyson and JBS than to you or me because it will enable one […]

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