GFM Network News


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


Many political and farm leaders in rural communities howl about the evils of “big government” and “socialism” even though big government social programs keep their communities from disappearing.

Comment: ‘Why are you giving extreme voices so much attention?’

Taking a break from a long-standing tradition is a sign of the divisive times

Around this time of year, I usually feature comments from readers whose views differ from those found here the previous 50 or so weeks. At least that’s how it has been for at least 25 years. Not this year, however, because I received a reader email Dec. 9 that asked me to stop highlighting these

Comment: Howard’s priceless gift of simple giving

Sometimes those with the least material things have the most true wealth

The Christmas tree was a scrub cedar hacked from the edge of the woods that bordered the farm. Big-bulbed lights, strung in barber pole fashion, generated almost as much heat as the nearby wood stove. Yellowed Christmas cards, saved over the years and perched like doves in the untrimmed branches, served as ornaments. “I believe

Comment: The bold choice

The front-runner for U.S. agriculture secretary would be a break with tradition

It’s a challenge to find one person with the combined skills of a farmer, rancher, forester, food aid administrator, tribal leader, attorney, economist, conservationist, miner, insurance expert, food scientist, and finance specialist to fill the about-to-open job of the secretary of agriculture. In fact, that person — described, in part, by the titles of the


In the opinion that led to the settlements, one of the appellate judges who denied Smithfield a retrial, asked a simple question: “How did it come to this?”

Comment: Gambling on the future of food, rural communities

As wealth and power concentrate in the ag sector, the outcomes are getting worse

Three events on consecutive mid-November days show farmers, ranchers, and all citizens where agriculture now is. Event One: On Nov. 18, the Iowa Capital Dispatch, a not-for-profit news website, detailed allegations on how managers at Tyson Food’s hog-killing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, literally gambled on employee lives as the coronavirus took root last April. “In

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