Stories by Alan Guebert

Numbers tell the story of agriculture

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Farmers and ranchers live in an ocean of numbers. And like the tide, the numbers – pigs-per-litter, gain-per-pound, bushels-per-acre, dollars-per-bushel – can’t be held back; they keep coming and keep adding to our nation’s food story.

Numbers tell the story of agriculture

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Farmers and ranchers live in an ocean of numbers. And like the tide, the numbers – pigs-per-litter, gain-per-pound, bushels-per-acre, dollars-per-bushel – can’t be held back; they keep coming and keep adding to our nation’s food story.

It’s here: September’s colorful call

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The glowing orange tops of two nearby maples are the first clear announcement that change, despite the day’s drilling heat and shirt-soaking humidity, is coming.

Farm bill 2007: Stop, look and listen

Thursday, August 24, 2006

August is the month public officials traditionally use your tax dollars to travel to gather information, ideas and frequent flier miles they claim will help them serve you better.

Is checkoff money being used illegally?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Do you know where your thousands – and on a national scale, hundreds of millions – of federally-mandated, non-refundable checkoff dollars go? It’s a question Bobby King, policy director of Minnesota’s Land Stewardship Project, asked when he viewed advertisements that attacked “anti-livestock activist groups” in the state on Minneapolis’ powerhouse WCCO television station earlier this year.

Big U.S. aid goes to big agribusiness

Thursday, August 10, 2006

While American taxpayers await an accounting on the billions sent to the Gulf Coast to clean up Katrina’s devastation, USDA already knows the tab for four emergency programs hastily designed “to further reduce stress on the grain transportation system” caused by the storm.

Who killed the trade talks at Doha?

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Unlike Mark Twain’s quip upon reading his obituary, my early July “RIP Doha” column was neither premature nor exaggerated.

The high cost of political help

Thursday, July 27, 2006

July has been a tough month for farmers and ranchers in The Washington Post. On July 2 and again July 18, The Post published lengthy investigative pieces on the enormous cost, wanton waste, and built-in silliness of today’s federal farm programs.

World Trade Organization locked in dispute between the big and the little

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The biggest non-news news of the yet-young summer arrived July 1 when the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization talks melted into a muddy puddle of recriminations as the trade yakkers in Geneva failed to even begin their “last ditch” effort to save the troubled talks.

Considering taxes, trade and biofuels

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Outside of accuracy, honesty and tight prose, the rules established (way back in May 1993) for these 700-word weekly adventures were few.

Matter doesn’t always matter

Thursday, July 6, 2006

A month ago, Fred Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, preached to the preachers of the Northern Plains Conference of the United Church of Christ in Bismarck.

Dairy self-help program self-delusional

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Three years ago come July 1, 70 percent or so of American dairy farmers began taxing themselves to fund a program the industry dubbed Cooperatives Working Together, or CWT.

U.S. farm groups say ‘no more’ in WTO

Thursday, June 22, 2006

When the Senate confirmed Susan C. Schwab as the Bush Administration’s Trade Representative June 8 – the second trade rep in just 13 months – it did so by voice vote, an uncommon occurrence for the usually-on-the-record body.

Busting the great ag export myth

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman couldn’t stop for a cup of coffee in farm and ranch country without waxing romantically on how “1 in 4 acres of American farm production is exported.

My summer as a kitchen migrant

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Sometime in the early summer of 1965 I migrated from my mother’s hot kitchen and the family’s enormous garden to our farm’s sweltering hayfields and crowded milking parlor.

The fact and fiction of fast food

Thursday, June 1, 2006

America’s food industry, like the nation’s church leaders, spent much of May wringing its hands over, by all accounts, pieces of poorly written, poorly acted fiction.

Limits to ethanol’s wild success exist

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When biofuel promoters begin to extol the virtues of ethanol, it’s sometimes difficult to determine if their excitement is powered by corn-based fuel or corn-based liquor.

Hacking away at 2007 (Iraqi) farm bill

Thursday, May 18, 2006

On May 8, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns took the Bush administration’s first formal step toward the 2007 farm bill.

Bye to Harvard’s only ag economist

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The news of John Kenneth Galbraith’s April 29 passing brought but a moment’s sadness before it swept me back to the book-lined study of his home where, in mid-June 1986, he availed himself to a lengthy interview so I could prepare a profile of him for Farm Journal’s Top Producer magazine.

Your mother raised such an idiot!

Thursday, May 4, 2006

The e-mailer was hotter than a $3 pistol. “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” the opening salvo of the angry note asked after a column on immigration reform – and the lack thereof – a month ago.

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About Alan

Alan Guebert was raised on an 800-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm. After graduation from the University of Illinois in 1980, he served as a writer and editor at Professional Farmers of America, Successful Farming magazine and Farm Journal magazine. His syndicated agricultural column, The Farm and Food File, began in June, 1993, and now appears weekly in more than 70 publications throughout the U.S. and Canada. He and spouse Catherine, a social worker, have two adult children. farmandfoodfile.com