Posted on January 22, 2021
Three events on consecutive mid-November days show farmers, ranchers, and all Americans where U.S. agriculture now is.
Event One: On Nov. 18, the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a not-for-profit news website, detailed allegations on how managers at Tyson Food’s hog-killing plant in Waterloo, IA, literally gambled on employee lives as the coronavirus took root last April.
Posted on December 9, 2020
One of the perennial certainties of any election season is how pundits chew over the politics of losing campaigns rather than discuss the policy implications of winning campaigns.
The biggest reason is the cleanliness of who’s-up and who’s-down as opposed to a messy dive into the greasy nuance of what victory means to legislative sausage […]
Posted on December 9, 2020
As political winners joust over election spoils, many Americans are tickled pink (or purple) to leave the costliest, most bitter campaign season behind and return to their lives of family, work, and dreams.
For U.S. farmers and ranchers that means a return to three pre-election realities: a strong, export-led rise in grain prices; another winter […]
Posted on November 11, 2020
If there is such a thing as a 76-year-old poster child, Collin Peterson, the chairman of the House Ag Committee, could be the weatherworn face of today’s red-and-blue political divide in rural America. His qualifications for the job are, well, colorful.
For example, he’s a 15-term, incumbent Democrat in a rural Minnesota congressional district […]
Posted on October 28, 2020
Somewhere in southern Illinois there’s a high school yearbook that contains a photo of me and another student leaning against a classroom wall on either side of a 1972 campaign poster of a smiling Richard Nixon. The caption writer, another student, notes that my buddy and I are “standing” with our man, the then-incumbent president.
Posted on September 30, 2020
While “zombie ideas” isn’t a phrase you often see in farm publications, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has popularized it to describe a uniquely American political condition.
Zombie ideas, the 2008 Nobel winner in economics explained in a 2018 column, are “ideas that should have died long ago, yet still keep shambling along, eating politicians’ brains.”
Posted on September 17, 2020
There are many reasons to dislike JBS USA, the world’s—and America’s—largest meatpacker.
In 2017, for example, JBS heirs and bosses, Joesely and Wesley Batista, cut a plea deal to escape prosecution in a bribery scandal that involved an incredible 1,829 politicians in their native Brazil. Both, however, later served six months in jail on […]
Posted on August 27, 2020
One trillion is one thousand billion or one million million. In money terms, $1 trillion is a stack of $100 bills 631 miles high.
Now consider that the three coronavirus relief bills already approved by Congress will collectively spend about $3 trillion, or a $100-bill stack 1,893 miles high.
But wait, Congress isn’t done. Its […]
Posted on August 14, 2020
Two generations ago, no one in the cattle business ever thought “herd immunity” was a solution to bovine brucellosis. Instead, farmers and ranchers, often with the help of U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarians, blood-tested every animal they could find to discover, trace, and isolate the disease’s source and spread.
It was hard, dirty work but […]
Posted on July 20, 2020
While the coronavirus pandemic was hammering global trade earlier this year, the various U.S. bureaucracies devoted to trade barely skipped a beat before returning to their usual grind.
For example, the U.S. and the United Kingdom (U.K.) just began talks on a bilateral trade pact prior to the U.K.’s Oct. 31 “Brexit” from the […]