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.
When a former National Football League player known for his dirty play was asked if he ever “threw” a game — purposely helped the opposing team win — the player replied by stating the obvious.
A furrowed brow and clenched teeth usually accompany the phrases “Officer, you’re right,” and “I don’t know.” The former hasn’t split my lips since, oh, probably 1974, but the latter is quickly becoming a staple of daily conversations with farmers and ranchers emailing or telephoning to ask how long today’s grain and land markets can […]
History doesn’t record who first uttered the ageless business maxim that “Time is money,” but a good bet might be a meatpacker because minutes and hours, like cattle and hogs, are valuable commodities under constant assault by packers. As such, the most efficient packer — or, as they say in the business, the one that […]
Be it bird hunting in Minnesota or vote hunting on Capitol Hill, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson is seen as a straight shooter of both pheasants and fools.
An unwritten motto of a former employer, market adviser Professional Farmers of America, was that it’s easier to turn journalists into economists than economists into journalists.
One of the oldest truisms in agriculture noted that “when farmers make money, everybody in town makes money.