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Farm and Food File Results

A closer look at farmland values

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The mild winter affected U.S. farmland values only mildly. Summer, however, may cool ‘em. According to the much-followed Seventh Federal Reserve District quarterly land survey — a poll across 219 ag bankers in Iowa, Michigan, the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin and the northern two-thirds of Illinois and Indiana — first-quarter 2013 land values in the […]

So, where’s my cow insurance?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It was evident from the hello that the South Dakota rancher had practiced his pitch before he dialed my office. “I’m (so and so),” he said in a clipped, clear voice, “an independent cow-calf producer west of the (Missouri) river with 500 cows. I’m calling with one question: Where do I go to sign up […]

Dairy’s dive into the unknown

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It’s one of American agriculture’s best truisms: Only six people in the world understand U.S. dairy policy and none of the six milks cows. It’s not true, of course. Only four people understand U.S. dairy policy. And soon it’s about to get worse. Under the just-passed Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill, two of dairy’s four […]

You’ll know it when you see it

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case Jacobellis v. Ohio, Justice Potter Stewart wrote a concurring opinion he hoped would establish a legal standard that protected every American’s right to free speech yet guarded “community standards” against “hard core pornography.” That competing interest, Stewart wrote, was difficult to balance because it was difficult to define […]

Patience is farming with a faulty planter

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The first good corn planting day of spring finally arrived at my central Illinois farmette April 30. Like the month’s previous 29 days, however, no one within 100 miles used it to plant because near-record rains had washed April away. Late start So now it’s May and it’s late by any corn-planting standard. On the […]

SNAP should be embraced by ag

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two of the greatest ironies of living in the richest, strongest nation in the history of the world are how many poor people remain in 21st century America and how vulnerable — as the Boston bombings showed again — we are to evildoers. The two are not linked. Evil is evil and it has no […]

Cubs and cattlemen: Paying to lose

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicago Cubs baseball fans and American cow-calf ranchers have two things in common. First, they can’t win for losing and, second, they pay heavily for the right to do just that. For example, on April 15, Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs, announced plans to update the 99-year-old home of the team, Wrigley Field. The […]

Congress needs less old-boy cronyism

Thursday, April 18, 2013

While Max Baucus and Jon Tester are both Democrats, both U.S. senators and both Montana country boys, last month’s hurried vote to fund nearly $1 trillion of current federal spending shows just how different these Big Sky legislators really are. Baucus, a ranch kid with two degrees from Stanford University, has spent nearly 50 years […]

Springing backward, like the economy

Thursday, April 11, 2013

That lion-in/lamb-out thing about March didn’t offer much lamb this year, but it did deliver several platters of snow. Oh, spring arrived on time; winter just didn’t leave on time. The struggle between seasons finally sorted out during Holy Week. Palm Sunday brought eight inches of snow, howling winds and drifted roads to nowhere. Easter […]

Land bulls, bears and squirrels

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The neighborhood farmer grapevine, fiber optic for years now, was set abuzz two weeks ago with news that a 237-acre piece of the township for sale at $12,500 per acre. Whoa, right? Promising land Well, the land sports five-year averages of 199 bu. for corn and 60 bu. for soybeans and is home to a […]

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