Posted on May 6, 2022
If you think Big Ag has too few suppliers, too few buyers, and too few farmers and ranchers, you need to meet Big Food. It is big-time big.
Who is Big Food?
That straightforward question was tackled by academics, journalists, and legal professionals in a day-long conference on March 12, titled “Reforming America’s Retail Food Markets,” at […]
Posted on March 31, 2022
For the second time in two years, a history-making calamity has shown just how fragile the world’s efficiency-driven, deeply interdependent food system is.
Two years ago, a rampaging pandemic threatened America’s pantries. Today, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens supplies of key ag inputs like fuel and fertilizer while causing deep disruptions to global wheat, corn, and […]
Posted on March 4, 2022
One of modern agriculture’s most beloved offspring, ethanol, received a sharp reprimand Feb. 13 from Iowa’s largest newspaper, The Des Moines Register.
In an editorial titled “Ethanol has been a boon for Iowa’s economy. But it’s time to pivot and figure out what’s next,” The Register chided Iowa Republicans and Democrats alike for supporting ethanol-pushing programs […]
Posted on January 26, 2022
No one was shocked recently when the General Accountability Office (GAO) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had overpaid farmers billions of dollars during the slapdash tariff-mitigation scheme ordered by the Trump White House in 2018 and 2019.
A couple of billion bucks in government waste is, evidently, chump change when–as in the case of […]
Posted on January 21, 2022
It always seems odd to use the final week or two of the current year as a platform to view the coming year. How does looking in the rearview mirror give anyone a clear sense of what’s ahead?
That certainly was the case for most ag markets a year ago. For example, almost no one last […]
Posted on January 3, 2022
People have strange hobbies.
For example, a Great Plains friend of mine once trained a chicken to play dead. Remarkably, on command, his chicken would take a whole-body flop that could have taught Steve Martin a thing or two about physical comedy.
Another friend, a retired professor, is (unsurprisingly, really) even more iconoclastic: he reads Securities and Exchange Commission […]
Posted on November 26, 2021
The federal government can spend more money in 10 minutes than Congress, its watchdog, can track in 10 years. Still, Congressional oversight–as late and limited as it often is–remains a vital element of government.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis proved just how vital in two reports released in October: Tens of millions in […]
Posted on November 11, 2021
In an effort to maintain its enviable, 34-year run of labor peace, Deere & Co. and the United Auto Workers recently announced a deal to boost worker pay–by 20 percent over five and six years, Deere said–to keep the iconic green-and-yellow machines rolling off its 11 assembly lines and through its three distribution centers.
The manufacturing […]
Posted on October 29, 2021
It’s a rare honor to be named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. In fact, in 40 years, only 1,061 Americans have been awarded the title and the no-strings-attached stipend, this year a plush $625,000, commonly referred to as a “genius grant.”
Even more rare are MacArthur Fellows with ties to farming and food. Before this year, only […]
Posted on September 9, 2021
Talk about mixed messaging.
Two homemade campaign signs from last fall’s presidential election remain on the edge of a sprawling, well-kept dairy farm I recently passed. One, large and white against a green backdrop of tasseled corn, touts Donald Trump; the other, smaller and more wordy, declares that if Biden wins, all Americans soon will be “working for […]