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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


Comment: Knives, forks, and farmers favour U.S. immigration reform

When U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) workers returned to their jobs Jan. 28 after the recent, 35-day government shutdown, an estimated five million pieces of unopened mail awaited. Equally daunting, the shutdown coincided with the IRS’s hiring of its annual army of temporary workers to process the impending tax season’s mail. The delay now leaves […] Read more



Comment: Let us pray

Political turmoil and gridlock in the U.S. is just one symptom of a world in gridlock that can’t solve problems

Man, that ended badly. December limped to an ugly conclusion as nearly everyone from Wall Street to Main Street took a year-end pounding not seen in three generations. Pick an investment sector (stocks, bonds, commodities); a nation state (the U.S., China, or the European Union); or a political system (a democratic republic, parliamentary, or single-party […] Read more


Comment: Another war to end all wars

No one knows when — or even if — the ongoing and looming trade wars will end

This year marked 100 years since the end of the First World War, which U.S. President Woodrow Wilson called “the war to end all wars.” Wilson saw himself as a historic peacemaker; instead he became an ironic phrasemaker. The Great War never brought an end to war, or even an end to that war. The […] Read more