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Farm and Food File Results

Dairy’s dive into the unknown

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It’s one of American agriculture’s best truisms: Only six people in the world understand U.S. dairy policy and none of the six milks cows. It’s not true, of course. Only four people understand U.S. dairy policy. And soon it’s about to get worse. Under the just-passed Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill, two of dairy’s four […]

You’ll know it when you see it

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case Jacobellis v. Ohio, Justice Potter Stewart wrote a concurring opinion he hoped would establish a legal standard that protected every American’s right to free speech yet guarded “community standards” against “hard core pornography.” That competing interest, Stewart wrote, was difficult to balance because it was difficult to define […]

Patience is farming with a faulty planter

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The first good corn planting day of spring finally arrived at my central Illinois farmette April 30. Like the month’s previous 29 days, however, no one within 100 miles used it to plant because near-record rains had washed April away. Late start So now it’s May and it’s late by any corn-planting standard. On the […]

SNAP should be embraced by ag

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Two of the greatest ironies of living in the richest, strongest nation in the history of the world are how many poor people remain in 21st century America and how vulnerable — as the Boston bombings showed again — we are to evildoers. The two are not linked. Evil is evil and it has no […]

Cubs and cattlemen: Paying to lose

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicago Cubs baseball fans and American cow-calf ranchers have two things in common. First, they can’t win for losing and, second, they pay heavily for the right to do just that. For example, on April 15, Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs, announced plans to update the 99-year-old home of the team, Wrigley Field. The […]

Congress needs less old-boy cronyism

Thursday, April 18, 2013

While Max Baucus and Jon Tester are both Democrats, both U.S. senators and both Montana country boys, last month’s hurried vote to fund nearly $1 trillion of current federal spending shows just how different these Big Sky legislators really are. Baucus, a ranch kid with two degrees from Stanford University, has spent nearly 50 years […]

Springing backward, like the economy

Thursday, April 11, 2013

That lion-in/lamb-out thing about March didn’t offer much lamb this year, but it did deliver several platters of snow. Oh, spring arrived on time; winter just didn’t leave on time. The struggle between seasons finally sorted out during Holy Week. Palm Sunday brought eight inches of snow, howling winds and drifted roads to nowhere. Easter […]

Land bulls, bears and squirrels

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The neighborhood farmer grapevine, fiber optic for years now, was set abuzz two weeks ago with news that a 237-acre piece of the township for sale at $12,500 per acre. Whoa, right? Promising land Well, the land sports five-year averages of 199 bu. for corn and 60 bu. for soybeans and is home to a […]

Congress can no longer fiddle around

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Contrary to rumor, Nero did not fiddle while Rome burned. He couldn’t have; fiddles did not exist in first century Rome. Far more likely, however, is that Nero lit the fire that burned nearly one-third of the city in 64 A.D. because he wanted to clear the 200 or so acres to build a new […]

I say neigh … I mean, nay, I say!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The coincidence was positively delicious. Shortly after Swedish furniture seller Ikea found itself, shall we say, saddle-deep in a saucy mess that featured racier red meat in its Swedish meatballs than you’d normally get from the average European cow, the USDA announced changes to its controversial Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, law for American […]

Your program caused these problems

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In the run-up to the Great Budget Sequester of 2013, a deeply indebted America once again learned what every American knows from birth: your government program got us into this mess, not mine. As evidence, look at the red-hot reaction by ag forces to the rumor — not fact, but rumor — that the White […]

Health care is about care, not politics

Thursday, February 28, 2013

When you’re sick, nothing—not money, politics or even religion—matters more than getting well. And, yet, when you’re healthy, those items matter more in any health care policy debate than the goal of the policy being debated: healing you when you’re sick. This disconnect isn’t just personal, it’s national, regional and local and it continues to […]

U.S. Supreme Court to decide seed case

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The stakes are high in the dispute over rights to genetically modified seeds. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today (Feb. 19, 2013).

It’s all talk: No trust in antitrust

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A recent New York Times headline whetted the proverbial whistle: “Justice Dept.’s Fight Against Modelo Brings in Familiar Face.”Modelo, the name of a lovely Mexican beer, drew me into a brief story that related how the company’s outside counsel, Christine Varney, is “squarely at odds” with the U.S. Department of Justice in its lawsuit to […]

Walk through D.C. gives history lesson

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The stroll to the U.S. Capitol is leisurely despite a soft winter sun and hard northwest breeze to encourage a quicker pace. Treasuring the moment I resist the farm urge to hurry; I take my time because this may be my last long walk in Washington, D.C. for a while and I want to savor […]

Visionary genius, short-sighted fools

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Last October, several University of Illinois alums sent a letter “to encourage [me] to … join [them] by making a contribution to a scholarship fund that has a personal meaning to you.” College cost What, I toss a pebble-sized check into the Big U’s pond and that “C” in Math 111 nearly 40 years ago […]

Two ways to write a letter

Thursday, January 17, 2013

There are ways to write a letter and then there are ways to write a letter. One way includes pleasantries, ideas, even artful persuasion. Another features anger, bile and bricks. These differences were on display recently when two members of Congress wrote and sent letters of withering dissent. One, from Collin Petersen, the ranking member […]

2012 farm bill: Cliff walking in clodhoppers

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In an almost endless stream of post-vote analyses Jan. 2, Capitol Hill pundits focused mostly on who the political winners and losers were in the Christmas-to-New Year’s Grinch-vs.-Grinch brawl to “save” the nation from a “fiscal cliff.” </p><p>That’s to be expected because it’s a lot more fun to read about sandbox fights between 7-year-olds than […]

A ‘gasified windbag’ starts a new year

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Alan Guerbert discusses 2012 and readers’ reactions to his column.

Crop insurance: ‘Just insane’

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Neither the outcome of the federal election nor the fast-approaching budget “fiscal cliff” bothered any of the 250 gawkers and bidders at a 1,170-acre land rental auction Nov. 10 in Thurman, Iowa. That’s right, an auction where the right to crop one family’s five parcels of Fremont County, Iowa, the absolute southwest corner of the […]

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