Stories by Alan Guebert

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

What will kick Congress into gear?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Alan Guebert takes Washington to task on the 2012 Farm Bill.

Be wary of the banksters in Washington

Thursday, July 26, 2012

On July 17, the U.S. Senate pulled off a Half Ginsburg by convening three Capitol Hill hearings on why the crooks and crackpots in charge of global finance find it ridiculously easy to make suckers out of you and me and Swiss cheese out of American laws. William Ginsburg, you may recall, represented Monica Lewinsky […]

Can’t duck crop insurance disaster

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Many on Capitol Hill are quick to point out that “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.” What they never add is that this little blinding glimpse of the obvious has never stopped legislative quackery in the past and it’s not stopping it now. Drought impact For example, […]

Readers know how to write, too

Friday, July 13, 2012

On an early morning bicycle ride I roll past a massive red combine slumbering at the end of a freshly barbered wheat field.<

‘Free markets’ really aren’t free

Thursday, July 5, 2012

If there’s no such thing as a free lunch — and there isn’t: even the United States Department of Agriculture’s “free” National School Lunch Program cost $10.8 billion in fiscal year 2010 — then it stands to reason that the free market might not be entirely free either. Financial markets For example, to ensure that […]

A golden goose for chicken feed

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Every week for 19 years this 170 square-foot, two-dog, one-person office has declared its complete devotion to numbers. For example, just last week we found it completely fascinating that in just three days this month 100 U.S. senators offered 302 amendments to an ag committee-approved 2012 farm bill that already ran more than 1,000 pages. […]

Bigger programs, bigger boondoggles

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In mid-June, the best guessers on Capitol Hill handicapped a probable 2012 Farm bill this way: either the Senate passes its version by the Fourth of July to push the House to act by late summer or no farm law will pass until after the November general election. That either-or view takes in a lot […]

Some hot numbers in cold times

Thursday, June 14, 2012

As the world stumbles toward a summer of financial winter, one part of the American economy continues its merry, five-year waltz: U.S. ag exports are forecast to reach $134.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2012. Estimate That estimate, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture May 31, is $3.5 billion higher than USDA’s February guess and […]

Go ahead and bet against Europe

Thursday, June 7, 2012

When I hopped on the ag journalism jet in 1981, the European Union (known then as the European Economic Union) forecast it would spend a fabulous sum — $5 billion or so — on its farm support program, the Common Agricultural Policy. By comparison, the USDA estimated total 1981 farm program costs here would be […]

Take a guess how this is going to end

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Since you speak English as well as anyone, perhaps you understand the working paragraph of a May 19 Washington Post column that explains the trading strategy employed by JP Morgan Chase & Co. to, ah, hedge its market risk. It reads: “It is this exemption that would allow (J.P. Morgan executive, Ina) Drew and her […]

Big numbers should trigger hard questions

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hard numbers, hard questions and even harder answers.

The wisdom of hard work on the farm: ‘It won’t kill you’

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It is the universal German Lutheran explanation for all the unnecessary sweat generated by farm folks since the Garden of Eden, “Besides, it doesn’t kill us.”

Sugar water or Kool-Aid?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Alan Guebert reacts to the recently passed Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.

USDA’s unused case to push own rule

Thursday, May 3, 2012

In a striking, two-and-a-half page analysis that ran counter to department leanings, the chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture strongly objected to the department’s use of two outside studies that justified the massive retooling — essentially gutting — of the 2010 update of Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules to ensure […]

The best ag economist I ‘never’ met

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Before I was lucky enough to keep myself in suds and my family in socks with this weekly effort, my previous boss liked to remind me that I had “the best job in ag journalism.” He was right because I spent most of my time and his money writing profiles of the political and intellectual […]

Truth and the slime situation stinks

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It’s hard to mix today’s politics with today’s food and not get slime, slimed or both.

Checkoff oversight virtually nil

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More and more, the federally-mandated, non-refundable commodity checkoffs resemble something out of a Charles Dickens novel. Most feature huge casts, complicated plots and, to read their press releases, are completely responsible for the best of times enjoyed by their farm- and ranch-payers. Truth But when federal auditors examine almost any aspect of the 18 checkoffs […]

Bigger and bigger and …

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It was, literally, a sight for sore eyes. Two years ago March 12, trumpets blasted in Ankeny, Iowa, as America’s new gladiators for agricultural justice — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., his antitrust chief Christine Varney, U.S. Department of Agriculture boss Tom Vilsack and hundreds of farmers — gathered for a day-long discussion on […]

Agriculture needs better leaders

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How will we — farmers everywhere — sustain our ability to feed any of us when there are more of us and less of everything else? Sheep, excellent or otherwise, ain’t gonna get that job done. Leaders will.

It should be easy: English for the eater

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ranchers have a well-earned reputation for speaking plain English plainly. Translation As such, cowboys instantly translate phrases like “government revenue enhancements” and “now pursuing other career opportunities” into “tax increases” and “got fired” without one twitch of their upper lip or one hitch in their giddyup. So what do these straight talkers call “lean finely-textured […]

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