There are two file folders in the lower, right drawer of my desk. One is labeled “Mail,” the other “Another Satisfied Customer.” The former is filled with complimentary or question-asking reader mail. The latter holds mail that’s more acidic than affectionate, more hammering than humorous. Like an email from “Gil” in response to an October […]
The weekly hometown newspaper recently brought news of a family friend’s death. The friend, a dairy farmer, had lived a long, good life and was a respected member of his church, community and profession. My family’s connection, outside of cows and kids, was business: He, my father and a few dozen farmers in neighboring southern […]
Big Ag — John Deere, Dow, Monsanto, Pioneer, and Syngenta — are “on the verge of going ‘all in’” on big data collection, analysis and operational planning.
Like most Americans of 1955 or so vintage, the lovely Catherine and I will spend time this week recalling our personal whos, whats, whens and wheres of President John F. Kennedy’s murder, funeral and burial 50 years ago. It is likely, though, we won’t talk much about JFK’s politics and policy because we were too […]
What is it about American agriculture that inspires farm and ranch groups to not trust American consumers? What do we fear?
In a recent television interview, famed Wall Street investor Warren Buffett characterized the October federal government shut-down as “totally irresponsible” and said the failure of leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to raise the nation’s debt ceiling until moments before possible default was “just plain stupid.” Unlike most stock market billionaires, Buffett wasn’t talking […]
Some things never change: In 1981, the White House and Congress were locked in a farm bill fight the likes of which no one had seen before. On one side was an overwhelmingly Democratic House and Senate that wanted more active federal policies on export embargoes, target prices and dairy support prices. They easily had […]
From the baking but breezy rest stop in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert, Interstate 15 disappears into the low mountains southwest toward Los Angeles and northeast towards Las Vegas. The desert is huge, brown and desolate. The highway is flat, gray and jammed with cars roaring both directions at 70 miles an hour. California […]
On a sparkling fall day a week before the first FarmAid concert at the University of Illinois, I drove the back roads to Champaign to pick up two press passes for the lovely Catherine and me. It was mid-September, 1985, and the brown corn and yellowing soybeans rattled and rippled in a soothing breeze against […]
There are two reasons to keep up-to-speed on the fast pace of events in what would seem to be the very dull world of potash. The first reason is that the key players in this once-tightly controlled market continue to lose their grip on it. According to analysts, prices for this key fertilizer will continue […]