Posted on December 18, 2019
Thanksgiving was the kickoff to a month of bookkeeping, depreciation schedules, and checkbook balancing for my parents on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth. It culminated in an afternoon meeting, usually the week after Christmas, where my father would detail the farm’s annual performance to his three, city-dwelling partners and lay out his plans for […]
Posted on November 26, 2019
If China agreed to purchase “$40 to $50 billion” of U.S. farm goods in “the next two years,” as President Donald J. Trump announced Oct. 11, the futures market—where market reality is quickly sorted from political talk—literally wasn’t buying it.
In fact, November soybean futures, the nearby contract, opened Monday, Oct. 14 at $9.405 per bu. and […]
Posted on October 16, 2019
You know you’re deep in the rabbit hole when bad news—say, a government report that shows steep cuts in anticipated 2019 crop yields—is good news because it will hopefully boost prices. Conversely, when good news arrives, like an unexpected week of perfect September weather, it’s actually bad news because it just drags already low […]
Posted on August 29, 2019
The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the yellow roses along the primrose path are dazzling distractions from what, in a matter of days, has already been a long month for farmers and ranchers.
Worse, a long harvest and bitter winter also loom as President Donald J. Trump threatens even tougher trade sanctions […]
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 March 6, 2019
For those of us who have slid, shoveled, and skated through the wildest up-and-down February weather in years, here’s a warm thought: corn planters are rolling in southern Texas.
Need another reason to plant a smile on your face? In eight weeks, corn planters will be running all over today’s wintry Midwest.
After that brief […]
Posted on December 5, 2018
November 11 marked 100 years since the end of World War I, which U.S. President Woodrow Wilson called “the war to end all wars.”
Wilson saw himself as a historic peacemaker; instead he became an ironic phrasemaker. The Great War never brought an end to war, or even an end to that war. The then-raging Russian […]
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, […]