Latest articles


Opinion: Agriculture leaking support fast

When you’ve been in the ag journalism game for almost 40 years, few things surprise you. And, yet, on June 21, the Washington Post published a farm-based story that made even this greybeard marvel at how tone deaf and superior sounding rural politics has become. Even more startling was the reader reaction to that growing […] Read more


Comment: Welcome to paradise, er, paradox

There’s an interesting paradox occurring in today’s commodity and financial markets. Maybe you’ve noticed it; market watchers certainly have. Here’s what they’ve seen: Every time President Donald J. Trump takes to Twitter to threaten a nation with import tariffs — most recently, Mexico — the U.S. stock market shoots higher. Paradoxically, however, every time U.S. […] Read more



Comment: ‘A lick and a promise’ aren’t enough

It’s one of the worst seeding seasons in memory for Midwestern U.S. farmers and their government isn’t helping

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 neighbourhood, […] Read more


Opinion: Fuel the market, not the trade war

Complicating an already complicated spring, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced a broad, new scheme that could pay U.S. farmers up to US$14.5 billion. This second bailout plan will not feature a by-the-bushel payment like last year’s nearly US$9-billion bailout because, Perdue explained, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) doesn’t want the new […] Read more



Growing young maize seedling in cultivated agricultural farm field with modern technology concepts

Comment: Talkin’ about my generation

This farm generation is wrestling with bits and bytes in their generational revolution

It’s a truism in agriculture that food-growing technology undergoes an industry-shaking metamorphosis every generation. When Grandpa (both yours and mine) farmed, better seed like hybrids 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 […] Read more


Comment: Spring needs to bring thaw in agricultural trade

U.S. farmers and ranchers need their markets back

For those of us who have slid, shovelled, and skated through the wildest up-and-down winter weather in years, here’s a warm thought: planting is well underway in parts of North America, with more to come soon. After that brief pleasantness, however, the outlook gets pretty cold pretty fast. Early February reports from the U.S. Department […] Read more



Biofuel or Corn Syrup, gasoline, energy, environmentalist

Comment: Ethanol’s tightening tough spot

Ethanol is facing a shrinking gasoline market

Ethanol is in a tight spot, according to Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois. On April 12, Irwin published an analysis of today’s ethanol market on the university’s farmdocDAILY website under the workmanlike title of “Implications of Recent Trends in U.S. Gasoline Consumption for Ethanol.” In it Irwin calculated that a […] Read more


Comment: ‘No problem, I’ll just stop eating pork’

Actions that will erode confidence in food safety could prove costly

One tried-and-true tool politicians use to deflect public criticism directed at them is as old as politics itself: beat up the press. Someone in Secretary Sonny Perdue’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) thought it was time to do just that April 8 as the “FSIS Office of Congressional and Public Affairs” — USDA’s Food Safety […] Read more




Comment: If you want to see the future, you need to look ahead

Everyone wants to be seen as sustainable but what does that buzzword even mean?

To most farmers and ranchers, “sustainable” is a word that, like exercise or vacation, has a dictionary definition and a personal definition. The difference between the two, however, often is the difference between the local fair and the World’s Fair. These folks aren’t alone. Almost everyone and everything from commodity groups to coal companies make […] Read more