Every week for 19 years this 170 square-foot, two-dog, one-person office has declared its complete devotion to numbers. For example, just last week we found it completely fascinating that in just three days this month 100 U.S. senators offered 302 amendments to an ag committee-approved 2012 farm bill that already ran more than 1,000 pages. […]
In mid-June, the best guessers on Capitol Hill handicapped a probable 2012 Farm bill this way: either the Senate passes its version by the Fourth of July to push the House to act by late summer or no farm law will pass until after the November general election. That either-or view takes in a lot […]
As the world stumbles toward a summer of financial winter, one part of the American economy continues its merry, five-year waltz: U.S. ag exports are forecast to reach $134.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2012. Estimate That estimate, released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture May 31, is $3.5 billion higher than USDA’s February guess and […]
When I hopped on the ag journalism jet in 1981, the European Union (known then as the European Economic Union) forecast it would spend a fabulous sum — $5 billion or so — on its farm support program, the Common Agricultural Policy. By comparison, the USDA estimated total 1981 farm program costs here would be […]
Since you speak English as well as anyone, perhaps you understand the working paragraph of a May 19 Washington Post column that explains the trading strategy employed by JP Morgan Chase & Co. to, ah, hedge its market risk. It reads: “It is this exemption that would allow (J.P. Morgan executive, Ina) Drew and her […]
Hard numbers, hard questions and even harder answers.
It is the universal German Lutheran explanation for all the unnecessary sweat generated by farm folks since the Garden of Eden, “Besides, it doesn’t kill us.”
Alan Guebert reacts to the recently passed Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.
In a striking, two-and-a-half page analysis that ran counter to department leanings, the chief economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture strongly objected to the department’s use of two outside studies that justified the massive retooling — essentially gutting — of the 2010 update of Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules to ensure […]
Before I was lucky enough to keep myself in suds and my family in socks with this weekly effort, my previous boss liked to remind me that I had “the best job in ag journalism.” He was right because I spent most of my time and his money writing profiles of the political and intellectual […]
It’s hard to mix today’s politics with today’s food and not get slime, slimed or both.
It was, literally, a sight for sore eyes. Two years ago March 12, trumpets blasted in Ankeny, Iowa, as America’s new gladiators for agricultural justice — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., his antitrust chief Christine Varney, U.S. Department of Agriculture boss Tom Vilsack and hundreds of farmers — gathered for a day-long discussion on […]
How will we — farmers everywhere — sustain our ability to feed any of us when there are more of us and less of everything else? Sheep, excellent or otherwise, ain’t gonna get that job done. Leaders will.
Ranchers have a well-earned reputation for speaking plain English plainly. Translation As such, cowboys instantly translate phrases like “government revenue enhancements” and “now pursuing other career opportunities” into “tax increases” and “got fired” without one twitch of their upper lip or one hitch in their giddyup. So what do these straight talkers call “lean finely-textured […]
A good friend recently reminded me of a story Jackie “Moms” Mabley liked to tell about how easily people are misled into trusting the wrong thing or person. “People always tell me ‘Moms, watch the lights’ when I’m crossing the street,” Moms would relate, “and I’d always ask, ‘Why?’ I mean, lights never killed nobody, […]
UEP is working with the Humane Society of the U.S. to codify federal regulations it knows its customers know they want for its chickens.
As corn and soybeans cash prices flutter around their post-harvest highs, a farmer telephones with a question: How do February’s stronger prices compare to 2010 season average prices for corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton? Well, let’s see. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the national average cash price for 2010 corn was $6.38 per […]
A dash of sugar-like snow is almost lost in the brown grass and gray sky out my back door. Winter’s dullness seems to have finally caught February and the weight has slowed it to a cold crawl. Fifty years ago a tablespoon more snow or a teaspoon more ice would have changed a plow horse […]
The lead story on the front page of the Jan. 30 Wall Street Journal reported “that a ‘significant amount’” of an estimated $1.2 billion in customer money that disappeared when investment bank MF Global Holdings Ltd. collapsed “could have ‘vaporized’ as a result of chaotic trading … the week before the company’s Oct. 31 bankruptcy filing.”
Like the weather, everyone complains about how slanderous politics has become but no one ever does anything about it.