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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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