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 June 5, 2019
It’s a truism in American agriculture that food-growing technology undergoes an industry-shaking metamorphosis every generation.
When Grandpa (both yours and mine) farmed, hybrid seed corn came in and oat-eating horsepower went out. His sons, our fathers, were early adopters of anhydrous ammonia, 2,4-D, and, whoa, combines.
Twenty-five years later, our generational farm-changing moment arrived with […]
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
Sanford Bishop and Sonny Perdue go way back.
So far back that Bishop, now a 14-term, Democratic congressman from south Georgia, remembers when Perdue, now the Secretary of Agriculture under President Donald J. Trump, was a Democrat.
Their friendship, however, was tested April 9 when Perdue appeared before the House Appropriations ag subcommittee to […]
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 April 24, 2019
One tried-and-true tool politicians use to deflect public criticism is as old as politics itself: beat up the press.
Someone in Secretary Sonny Perdue’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) thought it was time to do just that April 8 as the “FSIS Office of Congressional and Public Affairs”—USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service—issued a blistering […]
Posted on March 14, 2019
One of the oldest theoretical constructions in economics declares that in a perfect market, short term profits and losses eventually even out so that, in the long term, all profits are zero.
Famed 20th century English economist John Maynard Keynes gets credit for restating this jargon-rich theory into clear, concise language when, in 1923, he wrote, […]
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 February 27, 2019
The President of the United States should not be the only federal official required to offer the nation’s citizens an annual report on the “State of the Union.”
Every senior department executive—from Cabinet secretaries and the Pentagon chiefs to the Senate’s majority leader and the House speaker—should be required to examine their integral part of […]