Friday, May 27, 2016

In a surprisingly move, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns offered three reforms in his Jan. 31 farm bill proposal to fence rich farmers from the farm program payment trough.

When longtime Texas congressman "Cotton" Charlie Stenholm got bushwhacked for re-election by colleague Tom DeLay's infamous Texas redistricting plan in 2004, most ag policy hands lamented that much of the House Agriculture Committee's farm bill experience went down with him.

By Capitol Hill standards, $95.5 million is chicken feed; but even chicken feed has a purpose: fatter broilers, happier hens, more eggs.

If urban sprawl consumes two acres of America's finite farmland every minute, should Congress, through the 2007 farm bill, address farmland protection? If one out of three Americans is either overweight or obese, should the $57 billion the U.

As the roaring combine sawed through 30 feet of soybeans at a fast-walk pace last October, a farming friend, through the convenience of his cell phone, sold 160 acres of still-standing corn for a couple or three nickels over $3 per bushel upon harvest.

A college friend once noted that everyone is missing one word from their personal vocabulary. "My missing word is modesty," he pronounced.

One hundred years ago this week, the nation's first extensive food safety laws went into effect. Inspired by Upton Sinclair's stomach-churning novel The Jungle, President Theodore Roosevelt bullied Congress into passing the Food and Drug Act.

In 2006, ethanol was the strong tail wagging the farm dog. In 2007, ethanol will be the big, well-muscled dog whose price-pumping tail will stir every farm market and nearly every public policy debate.

The move from the big house to the smaller home a year ago brought a pint-sized office, three dozen banker boxes to replace nine, overfilled filing cabinets and a new, tiny-by-comparison work desk.

In late July, this space highlighted recent investigative stories by reporters at the Washington Post.
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