According to two documents posted on Sen. Charles Grassley’s, R-Iowa, congressional Web site, the “grassroots” anti-ethanol media blitz that’s hitched today’s climbing food prices to farmer-backed biofuels is as fake as astro-turf. Indeed, Grassley explained to Senate colleagues during his May 15 endorsement of the new farm bill, “It turns out that a $300,000, six-month […]
As the cold, wet planting season of 2008 slips into mid-May, corn and soybean farmers are grousing about weather delays, the likelihood of reduced yields and a summer of stress before they find out if the former clobbered the latter. While I empathize with their dilemma — this is easily the most costly crop any […]
Since 1981, when I picked up my first pen, paper and paycheck as a journalist, six farm bills have come and gone. With them came and went some giant elements in U.S. farm policy; elements like the Farmer Owned Reserve, planting set-asides, Kansas Sen. Bob Dole and longtime House Ag Committee boss Kike de la […]
In the long, glorious history of America, it’s unlikely that April 22, 2008, will be remembered as anything other than just another balmy, bureaucratic spring day in Washington, D.C. Meetings met, talkers talked and, in typical Washington fashion, the day ended with little movement other than finger pointing. Such were the outcomes of key meetings […]
Spring finally found the legs to arrive in central Illinois nearly a month after the calendar alerted us to be on the lookout for it. Certain signs — corn planters and daffodils blooming in every barnyard, Queen Mary-sized fertilizer trucks cruising down every county blacktop — suggest the season’s here to stay. Also here to […]
American humorist Will Rogers once joked that “there’s no trick” in coming up with political wisecracks “when you have the whole government working for you.” That insight was confirmed again March 14 when President George W. Bush addressed the Economic Club of New York. The U.S. economy, the president finally acknowledged, was sputtering. But, he […]
The last time the hefty price of wheat was a dinner conversation topic the then-secretary of agriculture, Earl Butz, hit the road to deflect consumer anger from farmers. His only weapon was a loaf of stale bread. “Farmers don’t set the price of food,” Old Fencerow to Fencerow would proclaim as he unwrapped the bread […]
Today’s barely functioning cash grain and livestock markets will soon be getting their price signals from the world’s largest single, for-profit, around-the-clock money, grain, meat and metals futures trading operation.
One fine spring evening 35 or so years ago, I rang the doorbell of the home of the young lady I intended to ask to a high school dance. After a short pause, the front door opened to frame her father, his bare feet and a can of refreshment in the doorway. Momentarily stunned at […]
If either you or I get in a high-stakes poker game and we lose our shirts, an absolute certain bet is that the government will not bail us out.