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Farm and Food File Results

Snow days and sledding miracles

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two fat sparrows sit in the trough of a bird feeder outside my office window and eat their way through today’s snowstorm. Six feet away, a squadron of chickadees does touch-eat-and-goes on a second feeder. In the snow below, a plump dove dines on the sorghum scattered by the unmannered sparrows. As I sip my […]

One plan, three men and 50 years

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry and Fred Kirschenmann get together, conversation, laughter and ideas flow. Other than a closeness in age, the three appear to have little in common. Jackson is a Ph.D. plant breeder and founder, in 1976, of The Land Institute, a Salina, Kan., nonprofit dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to food’s uncertain […]

Let there be light in the pork markets

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Dec. 28, 2010, Wall Street Journal story laments the “near-halt” of pork belly trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Bellies were “once among the CME’s most-traded commodities,” but now “the pork belly is in danger of going belly-up.” Indeed, only six belly contracts traded in November 2010. Why? Two chief reasons, say experts cited […]

Dear Mr. Apples and Oranges

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another final column of the year and, as is the custom, another year where readers will have the final word. Some of their words are bitter, some are sweet and all arrive with either red hot passion or cold blue conviction. Take the mid-August email that started, “You didn’t do a very good job of […]

The ‘level playing field’ of trade

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some phrases just make the heart flutter. “Call the vet,” was one that always tripped my father’s ticker. “Level the playing field of trade,” has the same effect on me. Level the playing field of trade. Strategy Hmm, is it a negotiating strategy, a goal, an ideal? Wait a second; don’t I want an unlevel […]

Hog producers not going to have a very merry Christmas this year

Thursday, December 9, 2010

As Christmas approaches, some seasonal elves will shop, some will bake, some will string a couple of megawatts of colorful lights from the front porch to the barn. I hope to avoid most of this season-pushing by burrowing into my den of paper to wait out all this buying, baking and beautifying. Three weeks from […]

Cattle industry flying for 79 floors

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Twice a week, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman drives political and economic policymakers into full rant on topics as opposite as global free trade (he loves it) and national industrial policy (he loves it, too). Kiss him or kick him, Friedman can turn a phrase. A current Friedmanism notes that “If you jump […]

Always cows; usually a turkey

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On the 100-cow, southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth, two hearty helpings of Holsteins were always on the Thanksgiving Day menu. In between came other entrees — church, usually a turkey, pie, a nap and, often, a pinochle game. The turkey was the “usual” dinner centerpiece, but not always, because I remember one or […]

This isn’t going to be a tea party

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If ascendant Republicans act on what they say was the clear message sent by voters Nov. 2, the 112th Congress ain’t gonna be a tea party. Boiling pigs Oh, something will boil, all right. It may be the fat most politicians claim is stored in all those pork barrels on Capitol Hill. After that, maybe […]

Proposed GIPSA rules may be a good thing for packers in future

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If you only quote the Amen Corner, the only reply you’ll ever hear is “Hallelujah!” And so it was in late October when yet another hired preacher of the Meatpacker Gang, a Brooklyn, N.Y., outfit named John Dunham & Associates, claimed proposed rules to bring meatpackers into compliance with the Packers & Stockyards Act will […]

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