The glowing orange tops of two nearby maples are the first clear announcement that change, despite the day’s drilling heat and shirt-soaking humidity, is coming.
August is the month public officials traditionally use your tax dollars to travel to gather information, ideas and frequent flier miles they claim will help them serve you better.
Do you know where your thousands – and on a national scale, hundreds of millions – of federally-mandated, non-refundable checkoff dollars go? It’s a question Bobby King, policy director of Minnesota’s Land Stewardship Project, asked when he viewed advertisements that attacked “anti-livestock activist groups” in the state on Minneapolis’ powerhouse WCCO television station earlier this year.
While American taxpayers await an accounting on the billions sent to the Gulf Coast to clean up Katrina’s devastation, USDA already knows the tab for four emergency programs hastily designed “to further reduce stress on the grain transportation system” caused by the storm.
Unlike Mark Twain’s quip upon reading his obituary, my early July “RIP Doha” column was neither premature nor exaggerated.
July has been a tough month for farmers and ranchers in The Washington Post. On July 2 and again July 18, The Post published lengthy investigative pieces on the enormous cost, wanton waste, and built-in silliness of today’s federal farm programs.
The biggest non-news news of the yet-young summer arrived July 1 when the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization talks melted into a muddy puddle of recriminations as the trade yakkers in Geneva failed to even begin their “last ditch” effort to save the troubled talks.
Outside of accuracy, honesty and tight prose, the rules established (way back in May 1993) for these 700-word weekly adventures were few.
A month ago, Fred Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, preached to the preachers of the Northern Plains Conference of the United Church of Christ in Bismarck.
Three years ago come July 1, 70 percent or so of American dairy farmers began taxing themselves to fund a program the industry dubbed Cooperatives Working Together, or CWT.
When the Senate confirmed Susan C. Schwab as the Bush Administration’s Trade Representative June 8 – the second trade rep in just 13 months – it did so by voice vote, an uncommon occurrence for the usually-on-the-record body.
Former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman couldn’t stop for a cup of coffee in farm and ranch country without waxing romantically on how “1 in 4 acres of American farm production is exported.
Sometime in the early summer of 1965 I migrated from my mother’s hot kitchen and the family’s enormous garden to our farm’s sweltering hayfields and crowded milking parlor.
America’s food industry, like the nation’s church leaders, spent much of May wringing its hands over, by all accounts, pieces of poorly written, poorly acted fiction.
When biofuel promoters begin to extol the virtues of ethanol, it’s sometimes difficult to determine if their excitement is powered by corn-based fuel or corn-based liquor.
On May 8, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns took the Bush administration’s first formal step toward the 2007 farm bill.
The news of John Kenneth Galbraith’s April 29 passing brought but a moment’s sadness before it swept me back to the book-lined study of his home where, in mid-June 1986, he availed himself to a lengthy interview so I could prepare a profile of him for Farm Journal’s Top Producer magazine.
The e-mailer was hotter than a $3 pistol. “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” the opening salvo of the angry note asked after a column on immigration reform – and the lack thereof – a month ago.
While the nation’s farmers leap into spring planting, this office is reluctantly digging through the winter drifts of stories gone undone.
During Australia’s inquiry of the $215 million in kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime, documents have been made public that show American-based Australian diplomats working hand-in glove with U.