American farmers hardly noticed when, in mid-August, news broke that Australian-based BHP Billiton was willing to pay nearly $40 billion for the world’s largest fertilizer producer, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc. The disinterest was honest; after all, who was BHP Billiton and what did it want with a Canadian fertilizer firm in the steady, if […]
What was to be a clever, voter-sanctioned effort to fence out the animals-are-people-crowd in Ohio last year is, depending on your perspective, either a progressive way for farm and animal rights groups to work together toward humane livestock production or a total sell-out of livestock producers by Big Ag to the Humane Society of the […]
You know it’s gonna’ be a bad day when you open your e-mail and see that day’s New York Times’ sports your picture pleading over why your organization… well, here’s how the Aug. 2 Times explains it: “An influential cattle industry group misused money raised from ranchers and farmers for promoting beef sales and violated […]
A lot of bellowing and bawling was heard from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other in the late July heat of Washington, D.C. In fact, so much whining and wailing was heard that it was difficult to make out the usual voices of lobbyists, politicians and staffers. The new, sweaty chorus sounded more […]
Don’t’ look now, but Dr. Econ — that master of the malaprop, that tangled tiller of economic turnips, the clearest, coldest-eyed killer of the English language — just walked into the office of your faithful reporter and, trapped, I can only… Dr. Econ, how have you been?
Watching Big Pork and Big Beef respond to proposed USDA rules to “clarify conduct that violates the P&S [Packers and Stockyards] Act” is like watching Wall Street bankers: They find it impossible to pull their hands out of your pockets long enough to pull themselves out of the mess they’ve made. That’s a good explanation […]
Reader letters, telephone calls and e-mails arrive at this office every day, and every six months or so some see print here because, as I often explain in personal replies to correspondence, “I’ve had my say, you’re entitled to yours.” For example, a mid-January column on a massive restructuring of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association […]
That didn’t take long. Before most of the newspapers carrying last week’s installment of this summer’s most popular soap opera, “The Beef Checkoff Chronicles,” could reach you, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reined in its “governance structure” plan “to allow,” it said in a June 25 press release, “the Federation of State Beef Councils an […]
In a toughly worded statement June 22, the executive committee of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the group created by Congress to collect and oversee the $1-per-head beef checkoff, served notice that it strongly backed the independence of the Federation of State Beef Councils in the ongoing debate over the checkoff’s future. Declaring independence “The Federation,” […]
It’s just a guess but I’d bet Blanche Lincoln, chair of the Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, would be a tough poker player. The reason is simple: Despite a Congressional record as clean as a hound’s tooth, Lincoln has never lost an election, never been within a country mile of scandal and rarely loses […]
Yes, of course, June is Dairy Month. And National Ice Tea Month, National Candy Month, National Soul Food Month, National Smile Month and National Turkey Lovers Month. With 100 or so Holsteins on the farm of my youth, however, each year, month, week and day started and ended with dairy, so June by any other […]
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 […]