Better Late Than Never

WASHINGTON (June 18, 2010)—Sometimes, it’s better to get something right late than never at all. In the case of agriculture, the time is now, and one organization is refocusing its attention in the right direction. In a recent meeting, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (a group of 31 wealthy, market-oriented countries) shifted its…

Too Small to Succeed

WASHINGTON (Feb. 5, 2010)—Just moments after President Obama released his much-anticipated budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, widely respected Congressional leaders on both sides of the political aisle voiced displeasure. “Put simply the President’s proposal picks winners and losers,” Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) said in a statement. “By targeting policies that…

Lincoln, Chambliss Commend Kirk Position at WTO Ministerial Meeting

WASHINGTON (Jan. 14, 2010)—U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today noted comments by U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk strongly defending the U.S. position at the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting last December in Geneva. In a letter to Kirk, the Senators praised…

Key Senators Urge USDA to Protect Crop Insurance Program

WASHINGTON (Aug. 24, 2009)—Ten U.S. Senators sent a bipartisan letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week urging its Risk Management Agency (RMA) to approach upcoming negotiations over the Federal Crop Insurance Program with great care. Led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Saxby Chambliss (GA), the Committee’s…

Fatal Attraction: A WTO Update

By: Larry Combest WASHINGTON (July 30, 2009)—This spring, world politicians once again revisited the idle Doha Round of international trade negotiations, doing so first at April’s G-20 Economic Summit. Here, a pledge was secured that the key players in the world economy remained “committed to reaching an ambitious and balanced conclusion” to the Doha Round…

TIME Flies: Part 4

Three decades ago, TIME magazine took an in-depth look at “The New American Farmer”. At the time of their feature, the business of farming was rapidly shifting from the inefficient, tiny farms that dominated the 1930s, to larger-scale family run operations that need to be adept at business, engineering, and technology to keep up with…

TIME Flies: Part 3

In addition to bad hairdos, Woodstock, and butterfly collars, the ‘70s also brought with it groundbreaking technologies that propelled many U.S. businesses into a new era. Farming was no exception. But the new technologies that improved efficiency and boosted yields came with a hefty price tag. The cost of farming skyrocketed during the decade, and…

TIME Flies: Part 2

opponents tell it, you’d think most farmers are raking in the big bucks. But anyone who’s been around the business knows that’s never been the case. The margins in farming are as thin today-maybe thinner-as when TIME magazine had this to say in a 1978 cover story “The New American Farmer“: To succeed in this…

TIME Flies: Part 1

Nowadays, it’s pretty difficult to get a mainstream news organization to pay much attention to the business of farming or the importance of the profession to the country. Big-city reporters today tend to focus on the sensational and the conflicts created by a handful of over-zealous farm opponents. Apparently, it hasn’t always been this way.…

Farmers Take Boston Globe to Task

The Boston Globe’s May 26 editorial against farmers and farm policy was nothing new—it included the arguments opponents of agriculture have been using for years. What was new was the speed with which the agricultural community responded to these attacks to point out the misinformation, and in some places, completely erroneous claims. Former Agriculture Committee…

Cutting Holes in the Farm Safety Net Doesn’t Add Up

WASHINGTON (Mar 26, 2009)—The government is on a spending spree, funneling billions to big business and “toxic assets.”  Amazingly, one minute expense—America’s farmers—briefly found their way into the cost-cutting crosshairs when President Obama released his budget proposal. The outcry over proposed cuts to the farm safety net was fierce.  Powerful lawmakers from both parties and the…

Hands Off the Farm Bill

WASHINGTON (March 23, 2009)—Prompted by President Obama’s proposed budget—which would gut the farm safety net and exclude many full-time farmers from federal assistance—lawmakers and farm groups sent a unified, bipartisan message today to anyone eying farm policy for future budget cuts. 17 Senators, 52 House members, and 40 farm organizations sent separate letters to Congressional…

Gross Sale Out

WASHINGTON (Feb 27, 2009)—While big businesses ranging from insurance giants to banks, car companies, investment houses, and construction firms are raking in hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars, the men and women who feed and clothe the country received some unwelcome news yesterday from President Barack Obama. In the President’s proposed budget, farmers with more…

ForGot Milk?

WASHINGTON (Feb 23, 2009)—Open any major newspaper in the country and you’ll find countless stories of economic distress. Companies are shedding jobs, house foreclosures are on the rise, and the Dow plunges to new lows almost every day. But there’s one story that’s hardly been told—a story that has a direct impact on the breakfast…

Strange Heritage

WASHINGTON (Jan 13, 2009)—The Riverwalk was hopping as farmers from across the country descended on San Antonio for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 90th annual convention this weekend. The city’s convention center looked like most farm shows. John Deere and Case IH rolled in the big green and red tractors, U.S. automakers showed off the…