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Farm and Food File Results

This isn’t going to be a tea party

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If ascendant Republicans act on what they say was the clear message sent by voters Nov. 2, the 112th Congress ain’t gonna be a tea party. Boiling pigs Oh, something will boil, all right. It may be the fat most politicians claim is stored in all those pork barrels on Capitol Hill. After that, maybe […]

Proposed GIPSA rules may be a good thing for packers in future

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If you only quote the Amen Corner, the only reply you’ll ever hear is “Hallelujah!” And so it was in late October when yet another hired preacher of the Meatpacker Gang, a Brooklyn, N.Y., outfit named John Dunham & Associates, claimed proposed rules to bring meatpackers into compliance with the Packers & Stockyards Act will […]

Lucas likely to head Ag Committee

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If the current political forecast holds, Nov. 2 will deliver House Democrats their biggest pasting since 1994. With over 60 of their seats either leaning or already lost to GOP challengers, House Dems appear headed for the political weeds. That could be especially so for Dems from corn and cattle country. Several mid-October polls show […]

I believe in Santa Claus. No, really.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Like an over-filler auger wagon, I cannot carry this load anymore, so, for the record, let me say this plainly and sincerely: I believe in Santa Claus. This admission may surprise friends who treasure my many rare abilities and foes who fear my modesty. Who, after all, is more rare or more modest than me? […]

Universities can’t serve two interests

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A September piece in The Economist, the esteemed English business and political weekly, makes the bold statement that “America’s universities lost their way badly in the era of easy money. If they do not find it again, they may go the way of GM,” the global automotive giant that became a global lemon in less […]

On the road to France, where buckets of butter and veal fill their stomachs

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When the lovely Catherine and I travel, we often follow a plan that is purposely vague. Sure, we know where we’re going, but the route we drive, fly or canoe to reach it often could be described as “north out of Des Moines” or “turn right at Amarillo.” This year’s big adventure, however, defied footloose: […]

Phosphorus market: Gravest, strategic U.S. issue you’ve never heard of

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Before anyone smiles too broadly about the grain prices, they might want to take a peek at fertilizer prices. If so, they’ll discover, as DTN reporter Russ Quinn recently did, the only price rising faster than either corn or wheat is fertilizer. “Six fertilizers have seen double-digit increases in price compared to one year earlier,” […]

The days of buses, bullies and books

Thursday, September 23, 2010

By mid-September, most children west of the Ohio have a month of the new school year already on the books. That means some young scholar right now is discovering the beauty of the Pythagorean Theorem, trying to remember what “is” is in Spanish and wishing he or she didn’t have to get on that big, […]

Remember, people vote, cattle don’t

Thursday, September 9, 2010

During a sudsy session in a college pub nearly 40 years ago, a friend wryly observed that every person lacks one word in what he labeled their “personal vocabulary.” Looking my way, Charlie explained. “For example, Alan, your missing word is ‘height.’” Everyone laughed. Clever. “My missing word,” continued the extroverted friend, “is ‘modesty.’” We […]

Keep an eye on $40 billion potash pie

Thursday, September 2, 2010

American farmers hardly noticed when, in mid-August, news broke that Australian-based BHP Billiton was willing to pay nearly $40 billion for the world’s largest fertilizer producer, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Inc. The disinterest was honest; after all, who was BHP Billiton and what did it want with a Canadian fertilizer firm in the steady, if […]

Ohio livestock growers caged by farm groups

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What was to be a clever, voter-sanctioned effort to fence out the animals-are-people-crowd in Ohio last year is, depending on your perspective, either a progressive way for farm and animal rights groups to work together toward humane livestock production or a total sell-out of livestock producers by Big Ag to the Humane Society of the […]

Lack of internal controls could present problems for cattle industry

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You know it’s gonna’ be a bad day when you open your e-mail and see that day’s New York Times’ sports your picture pleading over why your organization… well, here’s how the Aug. 2 Times explains it: “An influential cattle industry group misused money raised from ranchers and farmers for promoting beef sales and violated […]

It’s weaning time for packers

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A lot of bellowing and bawling was heard from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other in the late July heat of Washington, D.C. In fact, so much whining and wailing was heard that it was difficult to make out the usual voices of lobbyists, politicians and staffers. The new, sweaty chorus sounded more […]

Economists in the house? Run!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don’t’ look now, but Dr. Econ — that master of the malaprop, that tangled tiller of economic turnips, the clearest, coldest-eyed killer of the English language — just walked into the office of your faithful reporter and, trapped, I can only… Dr. Econ, how have you been?

New game, new rules in meat markets

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Watching Big Pork and Big Beef respond to proposed USDA rules to “clarify conduct that violates the P&S [Packers and Stockyards] Act” is like watching Wall Street bankers: They find it impossible to pull their hands out of your pockets long enough to pull themselves out of the mess they’ve made. That’s a good explanation […]

Golly, tell me how you really feel: Readers respond to previous columns

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reader letters, telephone calls and e-mails arrive at this office every day, and every six months or so some see print here because, as I often explain in personal replies to correspondence, “I’ve had my say, you’re entitled to yours.” For example, a mid-January column on a massive restructuring of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association […]

NCBA realizes reorganization misstep

Thursday, July 8, 2010

That didn’t take long. Before most of the newspapers carrying last week’s installment of this summer’s most popular soap opera, “The Beef Checkoff Chronicles,” could reach you, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reined in its “governance structure” plan “to allow,” it said in a June 25 press release, “the Federation of State Beef Councils an […]

Beef checkoff to NCBA: Drop dead

Thursday, July 1, 2010

In a toughly worded statement June 22, the executive committee of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the group created by Congress to collect and oversee the $1-per-head beef checkoff, served notice that it strongly backed the independence of the Federation of State Beef Councils in the ongoing debate over the checkoff’s future. Declaring independence “The Federation,” […]

A lot to like about Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It’s just a guess but I’d bet Blanche Lincoln, chair of the Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, would be a tough poker player. The reason is simple: Despite a Congressional record as clean as a hound’s tooth, Lincoln has never lost an election, never been within a country mile of scandal and rarely loses […]

June was cultivator, not dairy, month

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yes, of course, June is Dairy Month. And National Ice Tea Month, National Candy Month, National Soul Food Month, National Smile Month and National Turkey Lovers Month. With 100 or so Holsteins on the farm of my youth, however, each year, month, week and day started and ended with dairy, so June by any other […]

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