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Celebrate the first silent night

Thursday, December 24, 2009

(Note: This column first appeared in Farm and Dairy 16 years ago. I offer it here again this year, because its message never dims. Merry Christmas to all.) If you walked by Edith Troyer’s third grade class at Walnut Creek Elementary School during December, it wasn’t unusual to hear voices of the young students singing […]

Farmers, expect nothing; do something

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Thomas Paine wrote those famous words, he inspired Americans to continue their battle for independence from England. The late 1700s were certainly a different time than today, but the quote speaks to many of us in agriculture right now. These are the times that try men’s souls. Farming in 2009 has been enough to […]

Get used to schizophrenic farming

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We’re often challenged to explain why agriculture deserves special treatment, and those are always good questions. But it’s very simple: Farming is the only sector that is wholly irreplaceable.

Farm income: Anemic expectations

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It will be several years before farm incomes return to 2007 or 2008 levels.

Meatless by choice, or by design?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Earlier this fall, Baltimore City Public Schools initiated its “Meatless Monday” menu that includes a cheese sandwich or cheese lasagna or a bowl of vegetables, but no meat options. None. “We hope Baltimore will become a national model for each school system in the nation to follow,” said Robert Lawrence, director of the Johns Hopkins […]

Where do these people come from?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I’m not a Scrooge, really, I’m not. So I can’t blame it on the upcoming holiday season. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old(er). Or maybe I just need more chocolate. But for whatever the reason, I seem to be getting less tolerant of some of the news that crosses my desk. For example, there […]

HSUS trash talk? Bring it on!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We need to get ready for the coming HSUS battle. Their war chest is deep and their p.r. machine is slick. Issue 2 was a cake walk compared to what’s coming.

The law of averages and cheap food

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our most basic need is food — we can’t alive without it — and we want to spend less money to buy it.

Sustainability + farm productivity = future

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

When it comes to farming, why don’t we see more sentences with the words “sustainable” and “productivity” in them? They are the only things that will keep food on all our tables.

Global energy policy like cheap food?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Economists like the markets to fix the world’s ills, so maybe that’s why so many of them back the cap-and-trade solution to greenhouse gas reduction. After all, why not use market signals to motivate action? I’m a free trader at heart and supporter of the market economy, but I’m not convinced cap and trade will […]

Farmers, are you asking the right questions?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You are not alone. Whether or not you realize it, you have a team — your vet, your lender, your extension educator, your nutritionist, your friends, and even another farmer you respect. Ask them the right questions and challenge them to ask you good ones in return.

Broadband access: We have to bridge the digital divide

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If we dropped Congress in the middle of a no-access zone, how quickly do you think we’d have broadband Internet access nationwide?

Obama school speech furor: You can tell it was a slow news day

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

“Parents, if you want to worry about what’s going on in our public schools, you’ve got a lot more to be concerned about than our president attempting to encourage your child to get an education.”

Soul-less agriculture is a myth

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I’ve had it. Just when I thought I could stop preaching about the importance of food and agriculture and sharing our message, another slanted, “we’re going to hell in a handbasket and it’s all farmers’ fault” piece came out in a major magazine. Time published its article, “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap […]

Today’s ag progress and farm science

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We can’t continue to make ag progress — scientific or technological progress — unless we confront the role of public opinion in today’s agriculture.

Ohio State Fair: In the end, it’s not about winning

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When Branden DeFrank of Jefferson County entered the ring at the Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions with his grand champion steer, he was joined by two youth holding banners. I recognized one teen as Branden’s sister, Kyleigh, who showed the grand champion at last year’s Ohio State Fair. Then, Kyle Sharp, editor of Ohio’s […]

Reality check: We need large farms

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Farming doesn’t need to be just small or large, just organic or conventional, just black or white. There’s room at the table for all. But unless we face the agricultural realities, there might not be any food on that table.

Walmart pushes sustainability index

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Walmart threw its global shoulder into a sustainability product index initiative last week. Forget cap-and-trade legislation, ignore international commissions. Follow the smiley face instead.

Just in case you missed it…

Friday, July 17, 2009

… People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wanted to bring 3,500 1-gallon buckets of pig manure and urine to the Ohio Statehouse for a recent protest. Oh, and fans, too, so the activists could direct the wafting smells into bystanders’ faces. Um, no, the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board wisely said. The […]

Water wars will impact us all

Thursday, July 2, 2009

California is embroiled in a hot issue that affects agriculture, as well as everyday living — an issue that will affects us all sooner or later. Water.

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