GFM Network News


Comment: Election winds blowing big change in U.S.

In the recent U.S. election, one of the most prominent Dem losers was longtime ag committee chairman Collin Peterson. The race to be the new chair is already underway. The three front-runners — Georgian David Scott, Californian Jim Costa, and Ohioan Marcia Fudge — each represent a different direction. Scott and Fudge are stronger advocates

Comment: Now would be a good time for some honest dishonesty

As the U.S. election looms, it makes one pine for simpler political times

Somewhere in southern Illinois there’s a high school yearbook that contains a photo of me and another student leaning against a classroom wall on either side of a 1972 campaign poster of a smiling Richard Nixon. The caption writer, another student, notes that my buddy and I are “standing” with our man, the then incumbent


With little recourse, most of the browbeaten and scared workers went back to work. As a result, says ProPublica, more than 43,000 were sickened by COVID-19 and “at least 195” died.

Comment: The Big Meat Gang is getting awfully smelly

This U.S. lobby rewrote its country’s COVID response with a bit of pressure on the White House

In a year of too many dark days, Monday, Sept. 14 was a particularly dark day for two reasons. First, on Sept. 14, ProPublica, the non-profit, investigatory news group, published a 3,100-word exposé on how global meat packers used their clout this spring to get a White House order to keep workers on the job

Comment: ‘How much evidence do you need to vaporize a zombie?’

Farm & Food File: U.S. ag trade policy has a ‘zombie idea’ infestation

While “zombie ideas” isn’t a phrase you often see in farm publications, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has popularized it to describe a uniquely American political condition. Zombie ideas, the Nobel Prize-winning economist explained in a 2018 column, are,” ideas that should have died long ago, yet still keep shambling along, eating politicians’ brains.”

Comment: Public investment needs to return public good

Change is coming and farmers need to get ahead of the curve

If the ill-tempered and deadly first half of 2020 had been a first-calf heifer on the dairy farm of my youth, my father would have ticketed it for the freezer a month ago. His yardstick of heifer potential was short: If she lived up to her breeding, she was a “keeper”; if she “put more


Comment: No one ever loves the umpire

As a founder of the rules-based postwar consensus, the U.S. should be leading not pouting

While the coronavirus pandemic was hammering global trade earlier this year, the various bureaucracies devoted to trade barely skipped a beat before returning to their usual grind. For example, the U.S. and the United Kingdom (U.K.) just began talks on a bilateral trade pact prior to the U.K.’s Oct. 31 “Brexit” from the European Union

Laughter is no longer the best medicine

What’s old is periodically new on the well-worn ag policy treadmill

One reason — there were others — for my departure from farm magazine writing was laughter. Let me explain. In the early-1980s, the world, like now, was headed to hell in a hurry and agriculture was leading the parade. Interest rates were a crushing 14 per cent, farmland prices were on their way to plunging

“We still don’t know what this pandemic will cost, but we do know it’s trillions,” says one rancher. “The next one will cost us even more — maybe everything.”

Comment: Don’t chain me down

Food chains are too unreliable, the coronavirus reveals

For over a month now, nearly anyone who can lift a fork has asked what the “new normal” in agriculture will be. Six weeks later, we now have a pretty good idea that ag’s new normal will look like ag’s old normal. That should give everyone deep concern. If no food supply chain is strong


Comment: We have to start somewhere

Another huge farm bailout is needed due to COVID-19

Before we take the next unsteady step into a very different future, let’s make sure it’s not a step off the plank. How? We can start with disciplined decision-making: Use proven facts, lean on practical experience, and focus on what is safe and smart. That latter part is especially important because if you farm or

2020 U.S. farm income prospects in the aftermath of COVID-19 are dismal.

Comment: Prepare for the worst, pray for the best

One thing is certain, the pain from COVID-19 will be very real

Despite overwhelming evidence from literally every corner of the world, a farmer friend recently related to me that three rural acquaintances had assured him that “this whole virus thing is just a big hoax to bring down Trump.” If so, there’s now 100,000-plus graves, more than a half-million hospital patients, and trillions of dollars of