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


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


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: Public investment needs to return public good

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