U.S. History

Unfinished Business: Immigration Reform

Like the weather, everyone talks about immigration reform but few do much about it.

In fact, do-nothingness is the dominant trait of immigration lawmaking. A Google search of the phrase “ag immigration stalemate” delivers “about 621,000 results in 0.61 seconds” dating back to at least the mid-1990s.

There was, however, a moment of movement last summer when […]

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You’re a Neoliberal, I’m a Neoliberal, We’re all Neoliberals–For Now

For almost 50 years, the world has gotten faster, richer, and–yes–fatter. The power behind all that (ahem) growth has been neoliberalism.

It’s not a political label or a personal slander. Instead, as author Rana Foroohar explains in her new book, Homecoming, neoliberalism is “an economic and political philosophy that capital, people, and goods should be able […]

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House’s New Ag Boss Doesn’t Offer Much That’s New

While his Republican House colleagues were fighting for votes–and party majority–a week after the Nov. 8 midterm election, Pennsylvania incumbent Glenn Thompson, the ranking GOP member of the House Ag Committee, was basking in the glow of another blowout re-election.

His hammering, 40-point win wasn’t his biggest. That came in 2020 when he won his sixth […]

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And the Numbers Prove It

Journalism, like baseball, aging, and bridesmaids, is often about the numbers. Sometimes big numbers are good, other times small numbers are better. Either way, numbers usually define our work, our families, and our lives in more ways than we care to count.

And they can surprise us, too.

Like in early November when the International Food Policy […]

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Don’t Bet Against the Latest Supermarket Super Merger

Late on Friday, May 7, the day before the running of the 2022 Kentucky Derby, a chestnut-colored colt named Rich Strike made the race’s lineup after, literally, another horse withdrew from the competition at the last minute.

The next day, May 8, Rich Strike struck it rich: The ridiculously long, 80-1 longshot won the Derby, the […]

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Mother Nature Has A Population Plan Too

A scientist friend recently noted that at today’s rate of consumption, the world is environmentally and economically sustainable for roughly 1 billion people. “That means with the world’s population of 8 billion,” he half-joked, “you’re a goner.”

Right, just not right now; let nature take its course, eh?

Recent population trends, however, show that nature might already […]

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When Free Markets Hit the Frying Pan, Consumers Often Get Burned

On Nov. 6, 2018, 12 million Californians voted, by a 63-to-37-percent majority, to establish minimum welfare standards for livestock and poultry products–chiefly eggs, pork, and veal–sold in the nation’s most populous state.

The initiative, called Proposition 12 (Prop 12), was an emphatic endorsement of two previous actions (one by voters in 2008; the other by […]

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Drought, War, Inflation, and Consumer Disconnect

By almost any measure, 2022 has been a tough year for most. Inflation, war, the growing consequences of climate change, and widening political divide are just a few of the compounding woes we continue to deal with as harvest and U.S. midterm elections loom.

In the middle of this chaos, however, U.S. farmers received remarkably good […]

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A No-Ethanol Future Doesn’t Mean a No-Profit Future

It’s rare to find one Midwestern academic publicly questioning the economic and environmental impacts of ethanol.

It’s even rarer to find four academics–one from a corn state land grant university, three from a leading university in the leading corn-producing state–raising objections to the biofuel and its byproducts that will use one out of every three bushels […]

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From Catalonia to California, It’s Been One Long, Hot Summer

Long ago when traveling through Europe, a friend developed what he called the “Alan Rule” since I never remembered the Celsius-to-Fahrenheit conversion math: 10 degrees Celsius, wear a coat; 20 degrees, a light jacket; 30 degrees, shirtsleeves.

There was no suggestion for 40 degrees because 40 degrees Celsius is a baking 104 degrees Fahrenheit (F), an […]

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