Latest articles


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



Palm Reading Hand Gesture on White Background

Comment: Reading the facts at hand — or in your palm

If you ignore bad news because you don’t want to hear it, it’s at your peril

Years ago, an enterprising neighbour operated a palm reading business from her home with just a secretary, fax machine, and telephone. Her business model was simple: After clients faxed their photocopied handprint and sent some form of payment (rumour had it, it was $20), our neighbour telephoned them with the results of the “reading.” While […] Read more


Comment: Brother, can you spare a cup of water?

Agriculture is a very thirsty industry and that could spell trouble

Humanity depends on three critical threes: Without oxygen, most humans will die within three minutes; without water, life expectancy is three days; without food, we’ve got three weeks. Few here give three seconds of thought of any of these life-ensuring elements because, here, food is safe and plentiful, air quality laws are in place and […] Read more



Comment: Sonny warned ’em — twice, in fact

Trump can’t claim he wasn’t forewarned about agriculture trade calamity

It’s Thanksgiving week recently here in the U.S., so let’s be generous: The White House trade policy, marked by its heavy use of import tariffs and presidential tweets, continues to confound economists and trading partners alike. A more accurate, less generous view of President Donald J. Trump’s trade policy would declare it an unhinged mess […] Read more


United States fifty dollar bill

Comment: House GOP could claim Farm Bill victory despite electoral defeat

Outgoing congressional representatives may deliver President Trump with a legislative victory before they head for the door

A week before American voters decided whether the midterm elections would deliver a red wave or a blue wave, OpenSecrets.org, the non-partisan group that tracks money in politics, made a spot-on prediction: the biggest wave on Nov. 6 would be green. Think greenbacks, that is, because this year’s political candidates, OpenSecrets estimated, would spend US$5.2 […] Read more



Comment: The road to perdition always leads south

U.S. farmers are stuck between a rock and a hard place due to Trump’s trade wars

If war is hell, then trade wars must be a purgatorial stop along the way. For proof, just look where Election Day 2018 finds American farmers. Faced with ample production, stale commodity prices, and the lowest forecasted national farm income since 2002, U.S. farmers are now waiting for a winter of government “tariff mitigation” payments […] Read more


Comment: Our garden’s last stand

There was no food waste on the rural farm of my youth

In the unseasonable heat of mid-September, the yard’s many black walnut trees began shedding their heavy fruit. Now, a month on, the stately trees are bare of nuts and most of their leaves weeks earlier than any year I can remember. Does that suggest an early winter? A long one? Time will tell. All I […] Read more