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Farm and Food File Results

Antitrust chief, others moving ahead

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Almost before her first cup of government coffee cooled, Christine Varney, the antitrust chief at the U.S. Department of Justice since April 20, tossed the Bush Administration’s antitrust guidelines — described as toothless — out the window. New collusion cop There’s a new collusion cop in town, she explained May 9, and DOJ’s “Antitrust Division […]

More Astroturf on global warming war

Thursday, October 29, 2009

If the generals and admirals within the concentric walls of the Pentagon — hardly a bastion of greenie weenies — view global warming as a “serious threat to national security,” exactly who does the American Farm Bureau Federation view as the enemy in its latest Astroturf war against climate change legislation? For its part, the […]

Don’t know much ’bout economics

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the transition from farm boy to student to journalist, I skated and stumbled through several academic departments at the Big U. For example, at the height of Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, I studied political science. A visit home during fall harvest that year, however, cured me of that silliness; I missed the […]

The truth about rock-and-roll

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On the sunny, first Sunday of October, Willie Nelson, 76; Neil Young, 63; John Mellencamp, three days shy of 58, and Dave Matthews, 42, brought their Farm Aid road show, now 24, to west St. Louis. Having interviewed the three Farm Aid founders at the inaugural 1985 concert in Champaign, Ill., (Matthews joined the effort […]

We knew cold on our southern Ill. farm

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The distant hickory trees sport golden crowns and the neighbor’s white oak has begun to flash hints of scarlet when the wind rustles its leaves. The slow, colorful drift into winter has begun; the wheels of nature are turning. The wheels of harvest, however, are not. September is gone but nearly every acre of still-green […]

The film The Informant is not funny

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The two, almost-funny moments in The Informant!, Hollywood’s comedic treatment of the deadly serious, 1995 price fixing scandal at Archer Daniels Midland, failed to amuse the 60 or so viewers sharing the theater with the lovely Catherine and me Sept. 20. Both passed with nary an audible laugh, guffaw or snort. That’s funny because each […]

The father of the Green Revolution

Thursday, September 24, 2009

If pushed to guess, I suspect that few of the lengthy, laudatory obituaries published the week after his Sept. 12 death would have pleased Norman E. Borlaug, the Iowa farm boy turned hunger fighter. Borlaug, after all, wasn’t into flowers or flowery words. He was a plain-spoken, dirt-on-the-shoes plant breeder whose semi-dwarf and rust-resistant wheat […]

Accumulated numbers we love

Thursday, September 17, 2009

As many Eastern Cornbelt farmers nervously estimate just how many frost-free days (weeks?) they’ll yet need to bin an almost certain to-be-late harvest, it’s time for me to sweep my bins — or at least this 150 foot-square office — of some numbers that have accumulated over the summer. For example, agriculture has a huge […]

Sleeping with the fishes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

If mega-biz is to be believed, the new antitrust chief in the Obama Department of Justice, Christine A. Varney, is really a hurricane whose chief ambition is to demolish the very foundations of modern American business. If the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, Varney’s first public comments on antitrust, offered in May 12 […]

The company you keep says it all

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In the long, expensive battle fought by U.S. farmers to make corn-based ethanol the premier alternative fuel in America, few Washington influence peddlers fought harder and spent more in opposition to it than the American Petroleum Institute. In fact, you name the biofuel issue and API and its fat checkbook made it into a bare-knuckle […]

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