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We received good news in recent days that the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers have officially repealed the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule under the Clean Water Act.

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Farmers are 100% supportive of ensuring clean water, including through appropriate regulation, but the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule had no resemblance to responsible oversight. Instead, it was an overreach of massive proportions.

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After the difficult 2019 growing season, farmers are looking ahead to 2020. The extreme conditions farmers endured this year factor into the seed-decision equation for 2020.

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Cattle prices for cash and futures are suffering under the effects of the trade war with China similar other U.S. ag markets. Fortunately, cattle prices are not as depressed as Kansas City wheat that recently fell to a new 14-year low.

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In an era of low agricultural commodity prices plus the history of the Democratic Party and the approach to agricultural policy that it developed during the Great Depression, it should come as no surprise that two of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for president have come out in favor of supply management programs for agriculture.

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P.T. Barnum, the quintessential American showman, might have found today’s food carnival more interesting and far more profitable than his namesake circus of yore.

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The first Monday in September is Labor Day. Falling on a Monday, it makes for what is known as Labor Day weekend. However, I will remember this Labor Day as the “tit-for-tat” weekend because of the fireworks that surfaced between the United States and China that only intensified the trade war that now is more than 1 1/2 years old.

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Most rural Americans are old enough to remember when their president noted that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” That was, after all, several tariff hikes, dozens of trade meetings and more than 15,000 presidential tweets ago. It may seem like a lifetime, but it was just 19 months ago.

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For the first time since at least 1980, we have presidential candidates who have designed their proposed agricultural policies based on the economic characteristics of the crop sector: the low price elasticity of both supply and demand.

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The Trump administration did what Congress or any previous presidential administration couldn’t or wouldn’t: modernize federal agency processes under the 46 year-old Endangered Species Act.

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As the growing season progresses to the maturity stage, it’s a good time to evaluate the crop and consider your harvest plans. Many farmers approach harvest pragmatically, analyzing the logistics of moving machinery and computing the hauling distance for grain storage or sale.

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I have always wondered how farmers really feel about the private crop tours that stop every 15 to 20 miles along a route and without permission go into fields where they pull three ears of corn or three soybean plants.

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As the growing season progresses to the maturity stage, it’s a good time to evaluate the crop and consider your harvest plans. Many farmers approach harvest pragmatically, analyzing the logistics of moving machinery and computing the hauling distance for grain storage or sale.

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Ag Twitter had a big sandbox to play in after the U.S. Department of Agriculture clobbered the agricultural futures markets Aug. 12 with its number-filled Crop Report and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, or WASDE.

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Just a head’s up: If you apply for a position as an anchor/reporter for Brownfield Ag News, do not include in your cover letter a paragraph about how you want to agvocate for farmers or farm families or corn growers, cattlemen or asparagus producers. I’m not looking for Willie Nelson or Neil Young. This isn’t Farm Aid. I’m looking for a reporter.

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Describing the performance of stocks, bonds and commodities the past five sessions as a week of, “frog walkers’ would be fitting, suitable and appropriate. In my column from July entitled “Frog Walker Time” I wrote: “One of my all-time favorite songs is a saddle song entitled, ‘The Strawberry Roan’ composed by Curley Fletcher, an American composer of cowboy songs and cowboy poetry. The classic cowboy song, ‘The Strawberry Roan’ was written in 1915. Curley passed away in 1954.”

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On March 2, 2018, President Trump said, “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” On the same day in my weekly column entitled “Trump Tariffs” I quoted Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize winner in Economics in 2013. Mr. Shiller said, “I’d wonder if this isn’t just a first step, that Trump has in mind raising other tariffs.”

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In 1951, the Christian Mission at Glasgow Christian Church in Glasgow, Illinois, sponsored the printing of a spiral-bound booklet featuring 1,001 helpful household hints.

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The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the yellow roses along the primrose path are dazzling distractions from what, in a matter of days, has already been a long month for farmers and ranchers.

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It’s planting season at Farm Bureau — policy planting season, that is. The soil is primed and ready. Some of you have already planted policies at your county and state levels. For others, the policy development process is about to begin.

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Over the years we have heard the arguments taking place among the proponents of commercial agriculture with their use of synthetic fertilizers and the accompanying mix of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, those who support the use of multi-year crop rotations including cover crops with or without synthetic fertilizers and organic agriculture.

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On the farms of our youths, the dog days of August featured actual dogs and not a whole lot of anything else. Given the unsettled state of today’s growing season, commodity markets and politics, maybe the best way to get through this August is to slide back to that era and just not say or do much else.

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As soybeans continue maturing and move into pod-filling stages, growers should be on the lookout for symptoms of brown stem rot and sudden death syndrome. Understanding diseases that are plaguing your fields now is the first step toward prevention.

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The Aug. 12 U.S. Department of Agriculture crop acreage report could be the most bullish report for corn in the past 20 years. But when it comes to reports, there is no saying what actually will be seen.

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A heat wave swept through our nation’s capital recently, and I’m not just talking about the weather. Politics are as heated as ever these days. In this atmosphere, it can be hard to imagine members of Congress coming together in spite of their differences to get anything done.

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As a vocal proponent for animal agriculture, I receive many letters, emails and phone calls from those who read this column, thanking me for standing up for agriculture or sharing their story. I love receiving that feedback.

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You know it’s going to be a long, hot summer if, on the day before you assume the political leadership of the United Kingdom — as Boris Johnson did on July 23 — one of the world’s most authoritative newspapers, the New York Times, prints a column that begins with the phrase, “Boris Johnson, to whom lying comes as easily as breathing…”

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“May you live in interesting times” is an English translation of a traditional Chinese curse. I am beginning to understand fully why that old saw is considered a curse based on the interesting scenarios emerging in the marketplace right this very moment.

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Look out, rural America, Congress is headed your way during its annual month-long break in August, and its members want to talk trade, trade and trade. They don’t, however, want to talk about America’s flagging 2019 ag exports or the still-in-place retaliatory tariffs that are clipping U.S. exports.

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Right or wrong, words are powerful. The intent with which a word or phrase is delivered does not carry as much weight as most of us believe it should.

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Late planting, no planting, flooding, cool weather, weed pressure, compaction and nitrogen loss are just a few things that spring to mind when we think about the 2019 season so far.

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Here at Farm Bureau, we’re family. We come from all regions and produce all commodities, but our differences fall away when we need each other. We are united in friendship, purpose and our love of agriculture.

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There is a new player in the “fake meat” game. By “fake meat,” I am referring to plant-based protein that is intended to compete with hamburger.

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If one word could be used to characterize the 2019 season, the label would be stressful. The types of stress from field to field include water stress, which leads to nitrogen loss and then fertility stress.

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As we enter mid-summer, many of our favorite foods are ripe and ready for harvest. There’s fresh corn, fruits and vegetables, peas and beans, and more — all ready to be picked and enjoyed now or preserved for later.

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Call it what you will — coincidence, chance or just bad luck — but on the very day that President Donald Trump defended his administration’s almost indefensible record on the environment, the Washington, D. C., metro area was deluged by rainfall not seen since Noah.

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Following up on our column, “2019 is one of those years,” we want to examine some of the financial issues facing farmers in a year with widespread flooding, fields that won’t dry out and prevented planting, all taking place in the midst of a trade war that has put downward pressure on the export price of U.S. commodities.

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A month ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a grain stocks and acreage report that was a bearish shocker. The report was released during market hours at 11 a.m. Chicago time.

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Indiana’s economy is on a roll, and our reserves are healthy because of robust revenue growth. It is of paramount importance that Indiana continues sound fiscal management to further fortify our strong fiscal position.

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In recent decades and with the support of programs like SARE, as well as the increase in organic crop and animal production, cover crops have begun to make a comeback. The most recent Census of Agriculture revealed that “cover crop acreage increased 50% nationally from 2012 to 2017.”

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One of the most significant issues of 2019 continues to loom large over the beef industry — action on trade. There’s the on-again, off-again haggling with certain foreign markets, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement that still must pass congressional muster and the lack of a trade agreement with one of our lead export markets.

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Writers write and readers read and, always to this writer’s pleasant surprise, readers often write. Most letters and emails are either complimentary or inquisitive. More than a few, however, come nowhere near complimentary and some, in fact, are quite, ah, declarative.

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My husband and I raise Simmental cattle. We sell breeding stock to other farmers and beef to restaurants and individuals. We also raise laying hens and a variety of vegetables and herbs that we also sell to restaurants and individuals. 

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