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Comment: Walking in the shadow of hope

The first obvious sign of the season-long flood is a perfectly level, three-foot-high ring of dried mud on the machine shed’s siding. Nature put it there and, in time, will likely wash it away. Across the road, 100 feet behind a noticeably tilting mailbox, stands the empty, sagging farmhouse of my youth. It sports no […] Read more


Comment: Agriculture’s coming heart transplant

A lot of farmland is expected to change hands in the coming years

If government and private estimates are accurate, hundreds of millions of North American farm acres will have new owners in the next 15 years. For example, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) survey takers and record keepers, predicts that 100 million acres of today’s farmland will be sold by its current […] Read more




Comment: Agriculture should welcome, not mock, fake meat

P.T. Barnum, the quintessential showman, might have found today’s food carnival more interesting and far more profitable than his namesake circus of yore. For example, slow food is taking note of the fast rise of meatless, or plant-based, burgers this year. Veggie burgers, their previous incarnation, are not new; the lovely Catherine, my significant other […] Read more



Opinion: The enemy of my enemy remains an enemy

Trade wars are proving more complex than the tweeter-in-chief expected

Most farmers are old enough to remember when the U.S. president noted that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” That was, after all, several tariff hikes, dozens of trade meetings, and more than 15,000 presidential tweets ago. It may seem like a lifetime but it was just 19 months ago, on March 2, […] Read more


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