Farm & Food File stories
Bruce Rastetter, Iowa’s longtime agricultural and political power center, has a sixth sense when it comes to making money.
Many policy choices are made on politics alone while other key decision-making elements like cost, science and even common sense play a lesser or no role at all.
As expected, the 2023 farm bill express is not running on time. In fact, it didn’t even leave the station when its chief engineer, Pennsylvania Republican and incoming House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson, said it would.
As 2023 searches for a toehold, both the commodities and securities markets continue on the paths plowed for them by last year’s larger-than-expected inflation, Russia’s brutal war, a likely surge in the global pandemic and a growing power vacuum in American politics.
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.
The future is easily predictable, especially if you have access to a photocopier and a fax machine. At least that was the successful business plan of a central Illinois neighbor who maintained she had received the “gift” of clairvoyance after surviving a lightning strike.
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.
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 reelection.
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.
If you don’t understand the allure, gyrating value and many crack-ups of cryptocurrency, a few words from New York University’s Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the 2007-2008 housing collapse, might help.
As widespread rains begin to slowly refill lakes, reservoirs and rivers, Thanksgiving thoughts turn back to the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth where the Mississippi River, just a mile from our dairy barn, was a constant, often dominating presence.
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.
Even at first glance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recently announced $3 billion “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities” sounds like doublespeak, an Orwellian invention that reverses the meaning of words.
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.”
If you think U.S. politics are too polarized, too anger-driven and too polluted by big money, take a quick look at the train wreck that United Kingdom politics has become to see what’s in store for us if we don’t regain our collective goodwill soon.