Stories by Alan Guebert

I say neigh … I mean, nay, I say!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The coincidence was positively delicious. Shortly after Swedish furniture seller Ikea found itself, shall we say, saddle-deep in a saucy mess that featured racier red meat in its Swedish meatballs than you’d normally get from the average European cow, the USDA announced changes to its controversial Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, law for American […]

Ronnie Kirk, we barely knew you … but we remember

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On Feb. 27, the eve the Great Sequester, President Barack Obama left the Oval Office and its byzantine game of federal budget chicken to walk next door to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to personally thank Ron Kirk “for his service and his friendship over the last four years” to the nation and to the […]

Your program caused these problems

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In the run-up to the Great Budget Sequester of 2013, a deeply indebted America once again learned what every American knows from birth: your government program got us into this mess, not mine. As evidence, look at the red-hot reaction by ag forces to the rumor — not fact, but rumor — that the White […]

Health care is about care, not politics

Thursday, February 28, 2013

When you’re sick, nothing—not money, politics or even religion—matters more than getting well. And, yet, when you’re healthy, those items matter more in any health care policy debate than the goal of the policy being debated: healing you when you’re sick. This disconnect isn’t just personal, it’s national, regional and local and it continues to […]

U.S. Supreme Court to decide seed case

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The stakes are high in the dispute over rights to genetically modified seeds. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today (Feb. 19, 2013).

It’s all talk: No trust in antitrust

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A recent New York Times headline whetted the proverbial whistle: “Justice Dept.’s Fight Against Modelo Brings in Familiar Face.”Modelo, the name of a lovely Mexican beer, drew me into a brief story that related how the company’s outside counsel, Christine Varney, is “squarely at odds” with the U.S. Department of Justice in its lawsuit to […]

Another tango, another delay

Thursday, February 7, 2013

For all last year’s talk about completing a farm bill before this year’s spring planting, the operative message from Congress to farmers now appears to be “Take two aspirins and we’ll call you in June.” The first part of the message, take two aspirins, is good advice for anyone attempting to sort out today’s federal […]

Walk through D.C. gives history lesson

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The stroll to the U.S. Capitol is leisurely despite a soft winter sun and hard northwest breeze to encourage a quicker pace. Treasuring the moment I resist the farm urge to hurry; I take my time because this may be my last long walk in Washington, D.C. for a while and I want to savor […]

Visionary genius, short-sighted fools

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Last October, several University of Illinois alums sent a letter “to encourage [me] to … join [them] by making a contribution to a scholarship fund that has a personal meaning to you.” College cost What, I toss a pebble-sized check into the Big U’s pond and that “C” in Math 111 nearly 40 years ago […]

Two ways to write a letter

Thursday, January 17, 2013

There are ways to write a letter and then there are ways to write a letter. One way includes pleasantries, ideas, even artful persuasion. Another features anger, bile and bricks. These differences were on display recently when two members of Congress wrote and sent letters of withering dissent. One, from Collin Petersen, the ranking member […]

2012 farm bill: Cliff walking in clodhoppers

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In an almost endless stream of post-vote analyses Jan. 2, Capitol Hill pundits focused mostly on who the political winners and losers were in the Christmas-to-New Year’s Grinch-vs.-Grinch brawl to “save” the nation from a “fiscal cliff.” </p><p>That’s to be expected because it’s a lot more fun to read about sandbox fights between 7-year-olds than […]

A ‘gasified windbag’ starts a new year

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Alan Guerbert discusses 2012 and readers’ reactions to his column.

Crop insurance: ‘Just insane’

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Neither the outcome of the federal election nor the fast-approaching budget “fiscal cliff” bothered any of the 250 gawkers and bidders at a 1,170-acre land rental auction Nov. 10 in Thurman, Iowa. That’s right, an auction where the right to crop one family’s five parcels of Fremont County, Iowa, the absolute southwest corner of the […]

Santa, if you can’t bring a combine or a farm bill, how ’bout some hay?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You, my friend, are one tough customer for Santa. I mean, like many, the Fat Man knows food, but he doesn’t know farming. As such, he gets lost in the jargon when trying to pick the perfect gift for you and your farming and ranching pals. For example, just last week Old Kris texted to […]

Lame ducks holding up the farm bill

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On the face of it, few things carry a more apt name than today’s “lame duck” Congress. Indeed, how lame is it that after two years of raw partisanship and paralyzing inactivity, we believe two legislative bodies that haven’t agreed on what day it is since 2010 will — what — reform taxes, pass a […]

Did Mississippi Farm Bureau railroad state director for opinions?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

To hear Fred Stokes tell it, he got carried away “a mite” in a Kansas City news conference Aug. 10 with his explanation of a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board over the management of the beef checkoff. Noting that the Humane Society of the U.S. had done the […]

Cooking goose brings back memories

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

For the first year in five, the lovely Catherine and I will not be driving a sack of sweet potatoes, a cooler with a thawing turkey buried under dozens of adult beverages and a jar of sauerkraut to Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving with The Heirs. Different plans Instead, we’ll be slicing a bird and playing […]

Grandpa and dad knew balance while farming was vital

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Life seems to bounce from one hard lesson to the next. For example, no sooner than someone tells you “It’s not about the money,” you learn that, yes, it’s always about the money. Then, after years of working hard to acquire that money, you discover that, no, you can’t take it with you. Farming and […]

Creaming the co-op: There appears to be no winners in the milk battle

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sometimes it takes a newspaper’s ink-stained thumb to right the scale of justice, and no newspaper has a bigger, inkier thumb than the New York Times. On Sunday, Oct. 28, the Times published a 2,900-word tribute to the greedy good-old-boyism that seems to have been the only business plan of America’s biggest dairy cooperative, Dairy […]

In California she says tomato; he says GMO delivery device

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It’s pretty hard to be taken seriously in any debate if, geographically, you are located on the “Left Coast,” have elected a person known nationally as “Governor Moonbeam” to statewide office five times and are home to an industry, movie-making, built on fantasy that’s centered in an area referred to as “LaLa Land.” Farm fight […]

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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