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Farm and Food File Results

Fifty years of never forgetting

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Like most Americans of 1955 or so vintage, the lovely Catherine and I will spend time this week recalling our personal whos, whats, whens and wheres of President John F. Kennedy’s murder, funeral and burial 50 years ago. It is likely, though, we won’t talk much about JFK’s politics and policy because we were too […]

Is Big Ag acting overly confident?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What is it about American agriculture that inspires farm and ranch groups to not trust American consumers? What do we fear?

The federal government shutdown: Just plain irresponsible and stupid

Thursday, November 7, 2013

In a recent television interview, famed Wall Street investor Warren Buffett characterized the October federal government shut-down as “totally irresponsible” and said the failure of leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to raise the nation’s debt ceiling until moments before possible default was “just plain stupid.” Unlike most stock market billionaires, Buffett wasn’t talking […]

Could Congress learn a lesson from its history?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Some things never change: In 1981, the White House and Congress were locked in a farm bill fight the likes of which no one had seen before. On one side was an overwhelmingly Democratic House and Senate that wanted more active federal policies on export embargoes, target prices and dairy support prices. They easily had […]

On the road: California, a land all of its own

Thursday, October 24, 2013

From the baking but breezy rest stop in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert, Interstate 15 disappears into the low mountains southwest toward Los Angeles and northeast towards Las Vegas. The desert is huge, brown and desolate. The highway is flat, gray and jammed with cars roaring both directions at 70 miles an hour. California […]

Fields of gold fill the midwest in fall

Thursday, October 17, 2013

On a sparkling fall day a week before the first FarmAid concert at the University of Illinois, I drove the back roads to Champaign to pick up two press passes for the lovely Catherine and me. It was mid-September, 1985, and the brown corn and yellowing soybeans rattled and rippled in a soothing breeze against […]

Cartel capers: Belarus and Russia

Thursday, October 10, 2013

There are two reasons to keep up-to-speed on the fast pace of events in what would seem to be the very dull world of potash. The first reason is that the key players in this once-tightly controlled market continue to lose their grip on it. According to analysts, prices for this key fertilizer will continue […]

Charging into fixed bayonets

Thursday, October 3, 2013

So just what was Congress, and especially the U.S. House of Representatives, doing when it entered the final week of its high-speed game of chicken with the White House and three out of four Americans who said loudly and clearly they did not want a government shutdown? Politics One part of the answer, the political […]

The deal with high mileage chicken

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Just before the Labor Day weekend began, Aug. 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced China was welcome “to export processed, cooked chicken to the United States.” If USDA hoped this little nugget might get overlooked during summer’s last, languid holiday, that thought was deep-fried by noon when Politico, the […]

World population is essential part of food production discussion

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our good friends at Progressive Farmer magazine fill 15 pages of their September issue with a well-researched, well-written “special report” on “Feeding the World.” ( http://www.dtnpf-digital.com/#&pageSet=26) The four-color, four-story package hits all the humane highlights U.S. farmers and ranchers expect in these stories of manifest destiny when “the world will look to the U.S. to […]

Pork is the other red meat

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A lean hog is not a fat chicken but the marketing geniuses hired by the National Pork Board sure sold a lotta’ hams, bacons and butts when, in 1987, they began to promote pork as “The Other White Meat.” Now, 25 years after that brilliant slight of hand, the pork crowd wants to be known […]

More than meals served at the last supper

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The weekly newspaper from my hometown bring news that the small, rural Catholic church near the big southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth will close its doors next year, a casualty, according to its distant bosses, of too few priests and too many parishes. No planning It’s a judgment day that many of the […]

Potash pullout: From Russia with love

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The July 30 news that Uralkali, the huge Russian potash producer, was pulling out of the global fertilizer cartel might be that nation’s richest gift to American farmers since the Great Grain Robbery in 1972. Unlike the grain-buying deal that carried grain prices to 125-year highs 41 Julys ago, this July’s move will drain potash […]

You know the saying, ‘with friends like these’? How it’s playing in D.C.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So you think you’re going to get a farm bill by the time the budget brawl breaks out Oct. 1?

Political dysfunction: D.C. haymakers won’t fill the barn this year

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The hay is blooming, the sun is shining and, in the coming month, Congress is bringing its dysfunction to a VFW hall or church basement near you.

Ridin’ the Capitol Hill crazy train

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

After a 10-day cooling off period known as the Fourth of July recess, House and Senate members came back to steamy, hot Washington, D.C. July 9 to do exactly what most Americans expected them to do: Spew more steamy, hot bilge at each other. These folks are, after all, seasoned professionals when it comes to […]

Readers respond to past columns

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twice a year readers who write, telephone or send drone aircraft to my office take over this space to air their gripes, grievances and gratitude. As in the past, gracious letters outnumber the ones soaked in jalapeno sauce. Unlike the past, however, this year’s peppery correspondence contains record levels of heat. A mid-May email from […]

‘Farm and Food File’ celebrates 20 years

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In yet another testament to the careful inattention this office consistently pays to the career of its founding (and, as ever, only) staff member, an anniversary of sorts came and went a month ago with nary a notice, nod or neigh. During the first week of June, 1993, 20 alarmingly fast years ago, this column […]

Please tell me you remember, right??

Thursday, June 27, 2013

If you thought the farm bill fight was bad, you’re gonna hate the coming battle over the reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). You remember the CFTC, right? Futures market regulator It’s the futures market regulator that everyone despises until some brokerage firm takes $700 million from customer accounts a day before it […]

June, farm bill could be another mess

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June meant the end of school, the beginning of summer and the arrival of dairy month.Now, somehow, June has become the Golf Channel’s official Pace of Play Month, LGBT Pride Month (you can look that up) and Farm Bill Month. Little wonder rural folks are cranky; enjoying frosty bowls of vanilla ice cream on the […]

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