Stories by Alan Guebert

Some things, you simply cannot make up

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A month ago an editor friend replied to a draft copy of one of these weekly efforts with the simple email comment: “You’ve got to be kidding.” My reply assured him I wasn’t kidding because, “No one, not even me, can make this stuff up.” For example, could you make up the fact that when […]

The deal with high mileage chicken

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Just before the Labor Day weekend began, Aug. 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced China was welcome “to export processed, cooked chicken to the United States.” If USDA hoped this little nugget might get overlooked during summer’s last, languid holiday, that thought was deep-fried by noon when Politico, the […]

World population is essential part of food production discussion

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our good friends at Progressive Farmer magazine fill 15 pages of their September issue with a well-researched, well-written “special report” on “Feeding the World.” ( http://www.dtnpf-digital.com/#&pageSet=26) The four-color, four-story package hits all the humane highlights U.S. farmers and ranchers expect in these stories of manifest destiny when “the world will look to the U.S. to […]

Pork is the other red meat

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A lean hog is not a fat chicken but the marketing geniuses hired by the National Pork Board sure sold a lotta’ hams, bacons and butts when, in 1987, they began to promote pork as “The Other White Meat.” Now, 25 years after that brilliant slight of hand, the pork crowd wants to be known […]

More than meals served at the last supper

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The weekly newspaper from my hometown bring news that the small, rural Catholic church near the big southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth will close its doors next year, a casualty, according to its distant bosses, of too few priests and too many parishes. No planning It’s a judgment day that many of the […]

Potash pullout: From Russia with love

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The July 30 news that Uralkali, the huge Russian potash producer, was pulling out of the global fertilizer cartel might be that nation’s richest gift to American farmers since the Great Grain Robbery in 1972. Unlike the grain-buying deal that carried grain prices to 125-year highs 41 Julys ago, this July’s move will drain potash […]

You know the saying, ‘with friends like these’? How it’s playing in D.C.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So you think you’re going to get a farm bill by the time the budget brawl breaks out Oct. 1?

Political dysfunction: D.C. haymakers won’t fill the barn this year

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The hay is blooming, the sun is shining and, in the coming month, Congress is bringing its dysfunction to a VFW hall or church basement near you.

Ridin’ the Capitol Hill crazy train

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

After a 10-day cooling off period known as the Fourth of July recess, House and Senate members came back to steamy, hot Washington, D.C. July 9 to do exactly what most Americans expected them to do: Spew more steamy, hot bilge at each other. These folks are, after all, seasoned professionals when it comes to […]

Readers respond to past columns

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twice a year readers who write, telephone or send drone aircraft to my office take over this space to air their gripes, grievances and gratitude. As in the past, gracious letters outnumber the ones soaked in jalapeno sauce. Unlike the past, however, this year’s peppery correspondence contains record levels of heat. A mid-May email from […]

‘Farm and Food File’ celebrates 20 years

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In yet another testament to the careful inattention this office consistently pays to the career of its founding (and, as ever, only) staff member, an anniversary of sorts came and went a month ago with nary a notice, nod or neigh. During the first week of June, 1993, 20 alarmingly fast years ago, this column […]

Please tell me you remember, right??

Thursday, June 27, 2013

If you thought the farm bill fight was bad, you’re gonna hate the coming battle over the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). You remember the CFTC, right? Futures market regulator It’s the futures market regulator that everyone despises until some brokerage firm takes $700 million from customer accounts a day before it […]

June, farm bill could be another mess

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June meant the end of school, the beginning of summer and the arrival of dairy month.Now, somehow, June has become the Golf Channel’s official Pace of Play Month, LGBT Pride Month (you can look that up) and Farm Bill Month. Little wonder rural folks are cranky; enjoying frosty bowls of vanilla ice cream on the […]

Top 10 reasons to love the China deal

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

There’s many reasons to be thrilled about Shuanghui International Holding Inc.’s proposed $4.7 billion purchase of Smithfield Foods, Inc. Here’s only 10…

A closer look at farmland values

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The mild winter affected U.S. farmland values only mildly. Summer, however, may cool ‘em. According to the much-followed Seventh Federal Reserve District quarterly land survey — a poll across 219 ag bankers in Iowa, Michigan, the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin and the northern two-thirds of Illinois and Indiana — first-quarter 2013 land values in the […]

So, where’s my cow insurance?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It was evident from the hello that the South Dakota rancher had practiced his pitch before he dialed my office. “I’m (so and so),” he said in a clipped, clear voice, “an independent cow-calf producer west of the (Missouri) river with 500 cows. I’m calling with one question: Where do I go to sign up […]

Dairy’s dive into the unknown

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It’s one of American agriculture’s best truisms: Only six people in the world understand U.S. dairy policy and none of the six milks cows. It’s not true, of course. Only four people understand U.S. dairy policy. And soon it’s about to get worse. Under the just-passed Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill, two of dairy’s four […]

You’ll know it when you see it

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case Jacobellis v. Ohio, Justice Potter Stewart wrote a concurring opinion he hoped would establish a legal standard that protected every American’s right to free speech yet guarded “community standards” against “hard core pornography.” That competing interest, Stewart wrote, was difficult to balance because it was difficult to define […]

Patience is farming with a faulty planter

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The first good corn planting day of spring finally arrived at my central Illinois farmette April 30. Like the month’s previous 29 days, however, no one within 100 miles used it to plant because near-record rains had washed April away. Late start So now it’s May and it’s late by any corn-planting standard. On the […]

SNAP should be embraced by ag

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two of the greatest ironies of living in the richest, strongest nation in the history of the world are how many poor people remain in 21st century America and how vulnerable — as the Boston bombings showed again — we are to evildoers. The two are not linked. Evil is evil and it has no […]

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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