GFM Network News


In 2020, U.S. gas sales were 119 billion gallons, down 21 billion gallons compared to 2017.

Opinion: Ethanol’s future is running out of gas

As electric vehicles take off, biofuels are set to sputter

The key ingredients for a looming crack-up in ethanol — the fast rise of electric vehicles, lukewarm politics, and more evidence of catastrophic climate change — are in place and few in ag policy circles are prepared to face that reality. In fact, none of those woes are new; they’ve been building for years. For

Ironically, those who carry “the burden of impact of these costs are disproportionately borne by communities that are marginalized and underserved…”

Opinion: ‘The true cost of food’

Study says nearly two-thirds of food costs aren’t properly accounted for

Like any chain, today’s ubiquitous “supply chains” are only as strong as their weakest links. We again learned this elemental lesson last year, when the rapidly exploding Covid-19 pandemic swept the nation’s streets, sidewalks, and pantries clean of cars, people, and groceries. Less evident are today’s still-broken links in the global food supply chain. For


That’s the problem with the “industrial mind” in today’s agriculture: It floats along on a rising sea of taxpayer money and unaccounted costs to a place where few profit but everyone pays one way or another.

Comment: The actual costs of the ‘industrial mind’

Human ‘cleverness’ can’t outweigh nature, at least not for long

In an essay in his new book, Hogs Are Up, Wes Jackson, founder of the Land Institute near Salina, Kansas, and a shrewd observer of U.S. agriculture, revisits a speech he gave in Coon Rapids, Iowa, in August 2009 to mark the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s famous visit to the Roswell Garst farm. During

The company is simply pocketing the lion’s share of the price increase as profit and blaming it on higher worker pay.

Comment: Worker wages are not the cause of higher food prices

Big companies complain about worker wages but the data doesn’t support them

After my first year at the Big U, I returned to the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth for a summer of work. The first task, however, was to ask my father to double my hourly pay from 50 cents an hour, the amount I’d been paid through high school, to $1 per hour

The final idea, invest in new, independent local packers, is rock-solid but it also depends on heavy involvement by government for fast, effective implementation, a two-step that Congress rarely executes well.

Comment: Ag groups make a united, hollow call on meatpackers to play nice

Too many cattle producer divisions are easy for packers to exploit

On May 17, six farm groups joined voices to call on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Congress, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure a “more financially sustainable situation for cattle feeders and cow-calf producers.” That’s make-nice farm talk for “Meatpackers are skinning cattlemen so badly now that we six, not-usually-friendly groups ask


Comment: Big Agbiz’s big ‘price-fixing’ settlements need big fix

When a massive fine is peanuts to a big company, there’s a problem reforming its behaviour

In a now too-common story in agriculture, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) last month agreed to pay farmers $45 million (all figures U.S. funds) to settle what the March 13 Wall Street Journal described as “price-fixing allegations levelled at its peanut-processing division.” While $45 million is, indeed, peanuts to ADM — its estimated 2020 revenue will

Comment: Letting go now that you’re gone

An expanded U.S. House Agriculture Committee means a wider-ranging discussion

After Collin Peterson, the former chairman of the U.S. House Ag Committee, lost his November 2020 re-election bid to Republican challenger Michelle Fischbach, the 15-term congressman packed 194 boxes with office material and Capitol Hill memories and returned to his native Minnesota. The memorabilia included stacks of paper, piles of walnut plaques, one well-used office

Comment: The best way to start is to start

Comment: The best way to start is to start

Undoing decades of harm will take time and concerted effort

Forty years ago, two editors at Successful Farming magazine, Gene Johnston and Dean Houghton, won most major ag journalism awards with a story titled “Who will kill the hogs?” The piece (not available online) tracked a new, potent shift just beginning to hit: Local meat packers were being squeezed for hogs and markets by other,


Asking plants to use carbon differently than they do now might be a hard pull for both science and Mother Nature.

Comment: Questions surround carbon sequestration

Answers are needed if markets are going to function properly

You might not think so, if the local coffee shop is your guide, but farmers think climate change is real. In fact, notes the December 2020 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, 58 per cent of Iowa farmers and landowners now agree that climate change is both occurring and is caused by either human activity

Taking out or putting in, say, 10 million acres of American production in CRP over two or three years has a significant, albeit slow, impact on global markets.

Comment: First USDA quick fix. CRP expansion and reform

Incoming U.S. agriculture secretary has signalled a boost could be coming to the long-standing program

On his way out the door last month, former House Ag Committee chairman Collin Peterson, just off a hammering re-election defeat, offered the nation one final idea: the incoming secretary of agriculture should be empowered to enrol up to 50 million acres in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) over the next five years. Yes, 50