Stories by Alan Guebert

CCC — the nation’s pantry — is Mother Hubbard bare

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It’s not the choices you make in the bad times that usually cause you the most trouble. It’s the choices you make in the good times that often lead to the biggest disasters.

The circus comes to town

Thursday, March 3, 2011

As has been noted here before, most journalists get into the writing game because they cannot do math. I don’t mean the hard stuff like differential equations; I mean the incredibly hard stuff like subtraction and division. Math-challenged as we ink blots might be, we are Nobel Laureates compared to the sausage grinders on Capitol […]

Let’s take a meeting at the USDA

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On Dec. 20, 17 people from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including Secretary Tom Vilsack, 10 from non-governmental organizations, 10 from seed and food firms and 18 from industry groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Biotech Industry Organization met at USDA to discuss “Alfalfa Production Co-Existence.” The benign title belied what many […]

Forecast for March: Very, very hot

Thursday, February 17, 2011

After hiring into the market newsletter biz 30 years ago, my new bosses informed me that I’d sink or swim on how well I learned either fundamental or technical market analysis. I had two weeks to master one. Since fundamental analysis centers on farm and ranch facts and figures and technical analysis relies on charts […]

Motherhood, apple pie and ethanol

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rare is the person, topic or issue that finds the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in unison. In the last two months, however, the voices of the world’s most-respected liberal and most-respected conservative editorial pages sang perfect harmony on one topic, their intense dislike of ethanol, the corn-based […]

Looking for the truth in food labeling

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When the nearby link of a national grocery chain hosted a beef sale last summer, this carnivore grabbed his checkbook and motored to the store’s meatcase as fast as the Exploder’s worn wheel bearings allowed. They’re Angus At the store I was greeted with a ruby wave of shrink-wrapped beef loins sporting stickers that announced […]

Debate continues over beef checkoff

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It wouldn’t be a new year without the big players in the $80 million-per-year beef checkoff — the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the Federation of Qualified State Beef Councils and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association — squaring off over checkoff money, programs and control. And so it is again as members of this tall-walker trinity gather […]

Snow days and sledding miracles

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two fat sparrows sit in the trough of a bird feeder outside my office window and eat their way through today’s snowstorm. Six feet away, a squadron of chickadees does touch-eat-and-goes on a second feeder. In the snow below, a plump dove dines on the sorghum scattered by the unmannered sparrows. As I sip my […]

One plan, three men and 50 years

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry and Fred Kirschenmann get together, conversation, laughter and ideas flow. Other than a closeness in age, the three appear to have little in common. Jackson is a Ph.D. plant breeder and founder, in 1976, of The Land Institute, a Salina, Kan., nonprofit dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to food’s uncertain […]

Let there be light in the pork markets

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Dec. 28, 2010, Wall Street Journal story laments the “near-halt” of pork belly trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Bellies were “once among the CME’s most-traded commodities,” but now “the pork belly is in danger of going belly-up.” Indeed, only six belly contracts traded in November 2010. Why? Two chief reasons, say experts cited […]

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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