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Farm and Food File Results

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 […]

The GIPSA watchdog better bite

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who is J. Dudley Butler and why are meatpackers and their allies saying nasty things about the courtly, 61-year-old from Yazoo County, Miss.? The short answer is that Butler is the new administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). That makes him the watchdog over Big Meat and […]

Uncle Honey was all thumbs

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A morning thunderstorm ripped through my rural farmette recently and in its wake I found a front yard peppered with green walnuts, a sky bluer than the Pacific and memories as warm as the August afternoon that threatened. On the big dairy farm of my youth, everyone — my two older brothers and I, my […]

Cap and trade: Show me the money

Thursday, August 6, 2009

One of the basic rules of my incredibly successful one-dog, two-ink pen operation is that if the government wants to give some of my tax money back, I take it. Depreciation? Thank you. Double declining balance, three-backflips depreciation? Thank you very much. That simple principle, however, was trampled July 22 when a Senate Ag Committee […]

Farm news that happened while you weren’t watching …

Thursday, July 30, 2009

With the summer already two-thirds over and the dog days of August about to seep in, I’ll bet you didn’t notice that… About the time troubled New York lender CIT Group started coughing up blood two weeks ago, a trustee for one of its former clients, Meadowbrook Farms Cooperative, was alerting a federal bankruptcy judge […]

Dairymen crying over spilled milk prices

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Maybe this is what Willie and Waylon were thinking when they warned American “mommas” to not let their “babies to grow up to be cowboys:” Anyone with a dairy cow this year will lose, on average, $70 per month feeding and milking it; more if the cow is also packin’ debt. Losing big That means, […]


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