My two minutes of fleeting fame as a grain merchandiser


When Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell asked for a photo to go with the online version of my column, I didn’t know I was going to be famous.

Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail last week from Nebraska TV, wanting to interview me! Apparently Bill O’Reilly and Matt Lauer can still survive without my opinions, but Mark Baumert was interested.

I asked how he found me. The answer was simple — he reads my column online.

Now, I have known for some time that anyone in the world can just Google “Marlin Clark” and my columns come up. I was just surprised that he would want me on TV after seeing the online photo. It definitely makes me look like I should stick to radio (where I used to do 29 seconds every morning).

One day after several scoldings by Miss Susan, I got my wife to take my picture for the column. My hair was carefully combed and sprayed. I looked serious, maybe even professorial.

It was only after we saw it online that it occurred to us there was a problem. With a touch of the Black Irish, my hair is still dark. My beard, however, has been white for years. The result had never occurred to me. Neatly combed, my hair looks like a bad rug that matched my beard 20 years ago.

The plan was to give me 10 minutes Monday during the noon broadcast. They would display the pelt-head photo and I would answer questions. It wasn’t that simple.

The big day

Monday morning I found that the host was sick and a Marylyn would be interviewing. And, they never got the photo or any bio info I sent, since it went to the sick guy. They would call after 12 Central time and we would wing it.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I can do 10 minutes on the time of day, so this was no problem, right? Except I started to worry they might think I could rattle statistics off, so I spent some time getting prepared. In fact, I started to obsess.

I started to worry when the call did not come. At 1:15 my time, when we were supposed to be on the air, the call came to put me on standby. I waited some more.

Finally my moment came, and it was just a moment. I realized later that they must have been running long and used me to catch up. Two quick questions about the price bounce we are seeing and the acreage report and I was gone, with all my blather untouched.


I was left with my notes, which I can only use to update the readers’ knowledge.

Yes, there is a reason we have seen sharply higher prices the last three weeks. It is not really a question of what made corn prices go up 59 cents after a 95-cent break in January and February. It is not the 1.43 bounce after a 2.31 drop in beans. It is rather that the forces of the financial tornado and the crude oil prices and the general decline worldwide in all commodity prices ran out of steam.

We are seeing a bounce. Maybe the acreage report we are waiting on from USDA is a factor.

Yes, I told them, I expected more beans, less corn in the March 31 USDA report. Partly this was in response to increased acres last year, so we are getting back to normal. Mostly it is because input costs for corn have not declined back to reality after the run up.

I could have said so much more, then and now. Andy Warhol said we would all have 15 minutes of fame. He owes me 13 and a half.


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Marlin Clark is an associate of Russell Consulting Group, with a local office in Williamsfield, Ohio. Comments are welcome at 440-363-1803.



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