Suppose the House Ag Committee asks you to come to Washington to offer your ideas on how to improve the Farm Bill for its 2012 update. Suppose you search your closet for your “new” — well, it’s new to you — white shirt and you go. Suppose you begin your testimony by stating the blindingly […]
No matter what your philosophy or location or whatever, we should all “strongly support environmental cancer research and measures that will reduce or remove from the environment toxins that are known or suspected carcinogens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”
Forty-five years may have dimmed a frame or two of memory but I can still see my father emptying small bags of flour-like powder into a five-gallon bucket and then slowing stirring in a trickle of water until the two ingredients combined to make a chalky, white cream. The bags contained the still-new, pre-emergent herbicide […]
Asked once for the source of his best material, American humorist Will Rogers quickly replied that “Everything I know I get from the newspaper.” Were he alive and reading today’s newspapers, Rogers might die laughing. Laughing For example, the Wall Street Journal reported in its April 13 print edition that Cerberus Capital Management LP, a […]
Journalism and jets have carried me to some of the world’s great capitals. Most of those cities, like New Delhi, Paris, London, Prague, Mexico City, Rome, Brussels and Berlin, were in full flower hundreds, even thousands of years before the very idea for our nation — let alone its capital — was planted. And yet, […]
We may have thought Confirmation Sunday as parole day from catechism purgatory but (as our gray-haired elders predicted back then) it would become the first step on a journey of deeper understanding and deeper commitment.
Of all the political hot rocks farm groups are juggling now in Washington, D.C. — cap-and-trade, cuts in crop insurance, shrinking farm program budgets — I’ll bet you a cup of coffee you cannot name the issue that recently united ag heavyweights as diverse as the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union. That […]
Not one new rule, not one new regulation and not one new knuckle-rapping regulator was created in 2009 to rein in the knuckle-draggers that traded an estimated $592 trillion, or 12 times the world’s total economic output, in over-the-counter, in-the-dark derivatives last year.
Sometime shortly after March 1, winter lost its frozen grip on my backyard and brown blotches of lifeless grass and small mats of soggy hickory leaves began to emerge from their cemetery of snow. It didn’t come as a surprise, though, because for a week the loud, love-sick calls of flaming red cardinals had drifted […]
Farm seed prices almost tripled in four years and, unlike other big input markets, now show no sign of backing — or even letting — up. Columnist Alan Guebert wades in to the ag competition fray.
Type the phrase “farmers feeding world” into Google’s search engine and “about 15 million results” pop up in “0.12 seconds.” Some results may surprise American farmers who, in good old U-S-of-A modesty, may have thought they had been, were and will be feeding the world. Not so, suggests the hunter-gatherers at Google. Every farmer matters […]
In the ever-expanding galaxy of American jurisprudence, few stars shine as brilliantly as Richard A. Posner, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. The best Everything about Posner screams the best: Yale undergrad, Harvard Law, Supreme Court clerk, Stanford law professor, federal judge since 1981, author of more […]
Talk is cheap but words have meaning. In a mid-January speech to the 400 or so farmers, vendors and state officials at the 10th annual Minnesota Organic Conference in St. Cloud, I spent most of my hour talking about words like “elitist,” “educate,” “farmer,” “producer,” “customer” and even “mule.” Attack I thought the talk went […]
Like Henny “Take my wife — please” Youngman, Steven Wright has built a comedy career on one-line jokes. A classic Wright one-liner unblinkingly and unsmilingly asks: “Twenty-four hours in a day, 24 beers in a case — coincidence?” The question is clever and rhetorical; laughter is its only answer. Lots of coincidences January seemed to […]
When the cowboys of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association ride into San Antonio for the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 27, the hottest topic of the four-day meeting won’t be stale markets, packer shenanigans or another ground beef recall. No, the biggest bone to chew will be NCBA’s plan to put […]
Roosters crow, cows moo and pigs squeal. To be more precise, proud roosters crow, contented cows moo and, contrary to popular folklore, scared pigs — not happy ones — squeal. In fact, the more scared the pig, the louder the squeal. This simple piece of farm knowledge was confirmed, again, in a squeal-packed, Jan. 5 […]
Iowa’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture starts 2010 embroiled in controversy over its next director.
Rare is the new year that begins without me wondering how I took a wrong turn on the road of life and became a writer rather than a highly paid, universally respected, heaven-bound meatpacking executive. Of course it wasn’t my fault; my farming parents bear complete responsibility. Great shortcoming I mention this great shortcoming on […]
Come on, you don’t want to end this year reading what an aging aggie like me thinks the “Best Stories of 2009″ are. Easy as it might be — health care, global warming, cap-and-trade, Uncle Honey… What, I already wrote about all those things? OK, how about what you wrote on what I wrote to […]
One of the worst meals of my life occurred on a stormy June evening in the early 1980s at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel. The main course that night was a stringy, tasteless filet of me that my bosses at Successful Farming magazine served up to an unhappy advertiser, Allis Chalmers. The sin that put me on […]