Sometime shortly after March 1, winter lost its frozen grip on my backyard and brown blotches of lifeless grass and small mats of soggy hickory leaves began to emerge from their cemetery of snow. It didn’t come as a surprise, though, because for a week the loud, love-sick calls of flaming red cardinals had drifted […]
Farm seed prices almost tripled in four years and, unlike other big input markets, now show no sign of backing — or even letting — up. Columnist Alan Guebert wades in to the ag competition fray.
Type the phrase “farmers feeding world” into Google’s search engine and “about 15 million results” pop up in “0.12 seconds.” Some results may surprise American farmers who, in good old U-S-of-A modesty, may have thought they had been, were and will be feeding the world. Not so, suggests the hunter-gatherers at Google. Every farmer matters […]
In the ever-expanding galaxy of American jurisprudence, few stars shine as brilliantly as Richard A. Posner, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. The best Everything about Posner screams the best: Yale undergrad, Harvard Law, Supreme Court clerk, Stanford law professor, federal judge since 1981, author of more […]
Talk is cheap but words have meaning. In a mid-January speech to the 400 or so farmers, vendors and state officials at the 10th annual Minnesota Organic Conference in St. Cloud, I spent most of my hour talking about words like “elitist,” “educate,” “farmer,” “producer,” “customer” and even “mule.” Attack I thought the talk went […]
Like Henny “Take my wife — please” Youngman, Steven Wright has built a comedy career on one-line jokes. A classic Wright one-liner unblinkingly and unsmilingly asks: “Twenty-four hours in a day, 24 beers in a case — coincidence?” The question is clever and rhetorical; laughter is its only answer. Lots of coincidences January seemed to […]
When the cowboys of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association ride into San Antonio for the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show Jan. 27, the hottest topic of the four-day meeting won’t be stale markets, packer shenanigans or another ground beef recall. No, the biggest bone to chew will be NCBA’s plan to put […]
Roosters crow, cows moo and pigs squeal. To be more precise, proud roosters crow, contented cows moo and, contrary to popular folklore, scared pigs — not happy ones — squeal. In fact, the more scared the pig, the louder the squeal. This simple piece of farm knowledge was confirmed, again, in a squeal-packed, Jan. 5 […]
Iowa’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture starts 2010 embroiled in controversy over its next director.
Rare is the new year that begins without me wondering how I took a wrong turn on the road of life and became a writer rather than a highly paid, universally respected, heaven-bound meatpacking executive. Of course it wasn’t my fault; my farming parents bear complete responsibility. Great shortcoming I mention this great shortcoming on […]