GFM Network News


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

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


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