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.
In south Texas, 407 million gallons of water will yield either $200,000 of corn or $2.5 billion of oil and gas. That means there are 12,500 times more reasons to use the water to extract oil and gas than to grow corn and cows.
Most folks are familiar with the Good old boy network, a loose collection of family and friends that can be tapped for personal or business needs. Few, however, know that agriculture has it own network, the good old farmboy network.
It’s hard to see Iowa State University’s key role in a plan by one of its top officials to develop an 800,000-acre farm in Tanzania as anything other than institutional polish to a massive African land deal for politically-connected financial titans. Connections And, yet, there sits ISU, smack in the middle of a geopolitical web […]
Before this 2012 thing gets too far down the road, let’s take a sober second or two to review some of the more inventive ideas from 2011 and see if we can’t make them work in the coming 12 months of political and economic stalemate.
As we slip into the sweet week between Christmas and New Year’s there’s only one task to complete before clearing the desk and brain of all things 2011: readers having the last word in the last column of the year.
A month ago I enjoyed a church dinner in the gymnasium of the grade school I attended 50 years ago. Back then, the gym sparkled with newness because, like the school itself, it was brand new, finished just weeks before I reported to the first grade as an equally new student.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the world has never produced more food, fed more people and, simultaneously, never had so many hungry people.
How do you explain Congress’ public approval rating of only 9 percent and still not one hint of any change in the collective behavior that has made the institution and its members as popular as chickenpox?