Stories by Alan Guebert

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 […]

Watch the traffic, not the lights

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A good friend recently reminded me of a story Jackie “Moms” Mabley liked to tell about how easily people are misled into trusting the wrong thing or person. “People always tell me ‘Moms, watch the lights’ when I’m crossing the street,” Moms would relate, “and I’d always ask, ‘Why?’ I mean, lights never killed nobody, […]

Shouldn’t be a mystery to farm folks: The customer is always right

Thursday, March 8, 2012

UEP is working with the Humane Society of the U.S. to codify federal regulations it knows its customers know they want for its chickens.

What is the grain market telling us?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

As corn and soybeans cash prices flutter around their post-harvest highs, a farmer telephones with a question: How do February’s stronger prices compare to 2010 season average prices for corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton? Well, let’s see. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the national average cash price for 2010 corn was $6.38 per […]

I’m going fishing … checkoff style

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sometimes you just got to shoot the fish in the barrel and take the candy from babies. As a hunter of barrel-trapped fish who always takes candy from babies — that’s right, I’m a journalist — I can spot a carp from any golf course or barstool in any light any day of the week. […]

Snowy winter days sure have changed

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A dash of sugar-like snow is almost lost in the brown grass and gray sky out my back door. Winter’s dullness seems to have finally caught February and the weight has slowed it to a cold crawl. Fifty years ago a tablespoon more snow or a teaspoon more ice would have changed a plow horse […]

MF Global was not running on vapor

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The lead story on the front page of the Jan. 30 Wall Street Journal reported “that a ‘significant amount’” of an estimated $1.2 billion in customer money that disappeared when investment bank MF Global Holdings Ltd. collapsed “could have ‘vaporized’ as a result of chaotic trading … the week before the company’s Oct. 31 bankruptcy filing.”

Crude oil and crude politics

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Like the weather, everyone complains about how slanderous politics has become but no one ever does anything about it.

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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