Most American farmers spent the last week of May and the first week of June either driving through mud or stuck in it. Their two farming partners, Mother Nature and Uncle Sam, were little help; one brought threats of more rain and mud, the other threats of more tariffs and bailouts. Farmers in my neighborhood, however, spent part of the time pulling their wide 16- and 24-row planters through narrow 24- and 48-hour planting windows to, literally, jam their 2019 corn crops into far-from-ideal ground with what my father often described as a "a lick and a promise."
It's a truism in American agriculture that food-growing technology undergoes an industry-shaking metamorphosis every generation. When Grandpa (both yours and mine) farmed, hybrid seed corn came in and oat-eating horsepower went out. His sons, our fathers, were early adopters of anhydrous ammonia, 2,4-D, and, whoa, combines. Twenty-five years later, our generational farm-changing moment arrived with genetically modified seed. It revolutionized farming as chromosomes replaced cultivators and seed, soil, and marketing consultants became as important as customers.
If you want to anger almost any American farmer, write something less than flattering about the declining use of biofuels — especially ethanol — in the U.S. today. If you want to really anger almost any American farmer, write something unflattering about biofuels — especially ethanol — that includes the sentence, "U.S. farmers, particularly cornbelt farmers, have gotten a really bad deal from the Trump Administration on the biofuels front."
If what we're seeing now is the Trump trade "strategy" — cram trade talks between the U.S. and China, the U.S. and Japan, and the U.S. and European Union (E.U.) into an ever-tightening window — export-dependent American farmers and ranchers are in serious trouble for several reasons. The first reason is the relentless calendar. Trade talks require years to negotiate. The updated NAFTA 2.0, for example, missed its U.S.-imposed deadline and, in fact, remains in limbo because its hasty negotiation left unanswered questions.
One of the oldest theoretical constructions in economics declares that in a perfect market, short term profits and losses eventually even out so that, in the long term, all profits are zero. Famed 20th century English economist John Maynard Keynes get credit for restating this jargon-rich theory in clear, concise language when, in 1923, he wrote, "In the long run we are all dead."
For those of us who have slid, shoveled, and skated through the wildest up-and-down February weather in years, here's a warm thought: corn planters are rolling in southern Texas. Need another reason to plant a smile on your face? In eight weeks, corn planters will be running all over today's wintry Midwest.
The President of the United States should not be the only federal official required to offer the nation's citizens an annual report on the "State of the Union." Every senior department executive — from Cabinet secretaries and the Pentagon chiefs to the Senate's majority leader and the House speaker — should be required to examine their integral part of the world's oldest living democracy to tell us, its owner-operators, what they are doing to keep it running while preparing to meet the challenges we are certain to encounter.
U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts biggest fall since 1983 By Alan Guebert The tweeting heard by U.S. farmers and ranchers this fall isn’t that loquacious social media birdie Twitter. Instead, it’s canaries — coal mine canaries, to be exact — and their song is neither short nor sweet. In fact, it’s downright dour. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, this year’s 36 percent fall in net farm income is the biggest drop since the bad year of 1983. Just two years ago, net farm income set a record, $123.7 billion.
In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia gave members of the National Pork Producers Council and the farmer-directors of the checkoff-collecting National Pork Board one more reason to loathe the Humane Society of the United States. In a terse, 11-page order, Circuit Judge Cornelia T.
In a relatively short, toughly worded decision issued earlier in August, a federal judge in Idaho struck down that state’s year-old “ag gag” law that sought to “criminalize” undercover, or whistleblower, investigations of livestock facilities suspected of animal abuse. The action by B. Lynn Winmill, chief judge of Idaho’s U.S. District Court, is the first time any ag gag law, currently in force in seven states, has been declared unconstitutional.