GFM Network News


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

Comment: ‘Behold the fowls of the air… ’

We can plan all we want but luck will weigh in too

My father wasn’t a stoic. Instead, his temperament was one of acceptance. He simply accepted the fact that he wasn’t in complete control of most things on the farm. Sure, he was boss over everything in sight: hundreds of acres, 100 dairy cows, five farmhand sons, three hired men, and his unpredictable, iron-bending Uncle Honey.


Due to one of his mother’s home remedies, this author of the Farm & Food File possibly wore more bacon as a child than he ate.

Comment: Homesick? Try Mom or Grandma’s cure-all

Frequently the cures were worse than the illnesses

The onset of a deep chest cold recently pushed me to wander the aisles of the drugstore for any cure that might halt the hacking. Three days and three placebos later, my hack weakened to a wheeze. Time, and the lovely Catherine’s chicken soup, did the trick. Had I been on the southern Illinois dairy

Estimates show about 14 per cent of the 2019 U.S. corn and soybean crops will be unsold when the 2020 harvest begins.

Comment: What we know about corn and soy estimates

This year could shape up to be at least as challenging as 2019 was

The best way to begin a new year is to start with what we know. For example, we know the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) December World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate shows that about 14 per cent of the 2019 U.S. corn and soybean crops will be unsold when the 2020 harvest begins next

Why is the White House linking your grain markets to its struggling immigration policy?

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.


If agriculture continues to innovate at its current pace, farming in 2040 will feature more technology, more production, and likely far fewer people.

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

Some feel that the consumer trust built on USDA meat inspections may be in jeopardy if the responsibility is turned over to industry.

Comment: ‘No problem, I’ll just stop eating pork’

Actions that will erode confidence in food safety could prove costly

One tried-and-true tool politicians use to deflect public criticism directed at them is as old as politics itself: beat up the press. Someone in Secretary Sonny Perdue’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) thought it was time to do just that April 8 as the “FSIS Office of Congressional and Public Affairs” — USDA’s Food Safety