Friday, April 29, 2016

In the run-up to the Nov. 7 election, any candidate worth a baby-kissing pucker instantly, enthusiastically and repeatedly took the ethanol pledge.

In a move somewhere between brilliantly audacious and unbelievably outrageous, Monsanto's Aug. 15 offer to buy Delta & Pine Land Co.

The weakly regulated, wild west show that has been the Chicago futures markets is poised to become a wilder, more global show now that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced it was purchasing archrival Chicago Board of Trade for $8 billion.

Show me the contents of a person's wallet and I'll outline their life. My skinny wallet, for example, holds just two credit cards (likes convenience, hates consumer debt), a grocery store discount card (cheapskate), a driver's license, voter's registration card and fishing license (name, address, age, dull life) as well as a blood donor card (O Positive).

As fast as time usually passes, it seems to pick up even greater speed in the fall. Corn and soybeans, like maples' leaves, appear to turn golden one day, brown the next and, at least so to me, are gone the next.

Leaving a backlog of work it clearly had no appetite for, a deeply divided, very worried Congress skedaddled out of Washington at the end of September to make its re-election case to an equally divided, equally worried electorate.

On September's two middle Wednesdays, American agriculture's soft hands and hard hands - its lobbyists and farmers - brought their 2007 farm bill shopping lists to the House Agriculture Committee.

Even before the ink had dried on last week's column - a detailed report that, at least to me, made an ironclad case not to raid the Conservation Reserve Program to fuel the anticipated ethanol boom - members of the House Agriculture Committee were listening to testimony that urged a raid on the program to fuel the ethanol boom.

Drop a pebble in the ag policy pond and the resulting ripples seem to rush over many farmers' self-interest.

Farmers and ranchers live in an ocean of numbers. And like the tide, the numbers - pigs-per-litter, gain-per-pound, bushels-per-acre, dollars-per-bushel - can't be held back; they keep coming and keep adding to our nation's food story.
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