Let me translate…

Let me translate…

No one you know says “grain” when they mean “soybeans” or “John Deere” when they mean “tractor.” Of course, you might get away with these vague and misleading substitutes when talking to the non-farming public because most people don’t know soybeans are an oilseed, not a grain, and that Deere & Co. makes a lot more than just

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We need to talk…

It’s August, and that means that much of Congress is, literally, either out of session, out of the country, or out to lunch. That doesn’t mean, however, that some of its more diligent members aren’t somehow serving the public.

Take the House Ag Committee. A handful of its 46 members will attend three Farm Bill “Conversations in the Field” this month

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Rules for fools

Rules for fools

During my first days of Lutheran grade school, I was surprised to learn that the world had only ten rules. Sure, eight of them ordered what I “shalt not” do and just two told me what I must do. Still, no Lutheran worth his catechism ever had a problem with a negative four-to-one ratio. But then Mrs. Kuring,

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Dew point…

The sun’s steady rise slowly spreads its gathering light on the morning dew until the lawn dances with sparkles and the day with possibilities. The July dew, soaking wet and glistening bright, almost always promised a day of sunshine, heat, and humidity on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth. Jackie, the farm’s main field hand, explained the dew-heavy

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Too many cooks

Toques — the starched, stovepipe hats worn by chefs — are crowned with 100 tiny pleats that, explain the French, represent the 100 ways to prepare an egg that every cook must master before earning the title “Chef” and a much-prized toque. Recent action by President Donald J. Trump and his administration suggest there must also be 100 ways to

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If it’s not broken…

Farmers and ranchers are a resourceful lot. Their widespread reputation for fixing almost anything anywhere – often with little more than baling wire and spit – is well-earned and greatly admired. One thing these masters of the mechanical don’t do, however, is fix what isn’t broken. No farmer or rancher wastes either sweat or bubble gum on tires that aren’t

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You’re getting warmer…

In a White House Rose Garden ceremony June 1, President Donald Trump announced he would pull the U.S. from the Paris treaty on global climate change. It was a matter of national sovereignty, explained Trump. Or, as he colorfully noted, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
True, but he was elected to represent Paris, IL; Paris,

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Meat and money always cooks up corruption

Political scandals in Brazil — like much in the fast-growing, global food giant — are so bold and so far out bounds that calling them “outrageous” slanders their perpetrators. Moreover, the scandals occur so frequently that it seems Brazil requires political chicanery and bribery to even function. The latest evidence involves JBS SA, the Brazilian meatpacker that dominates global poultry

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Trump’s butcher shop

Donald Trump may want to “Make America Great Again,” but his just-proposed 2018 budget contains no plans to make rural America or the nation’s less fortunate great again. In fact, according to the Trump administration’s budget blueprint, American farmers, ranchers, and down-on-their-luck citizens must achieve greatness with trillions less in government support so it and Congress can bestow a trillion-dollar

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The artlessness of the deal…

What Trump administration appointees lack in reticence they make up for in certitude. Take Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Just two weeks after being shown his stately office at the USDA South Building, Perdue announced a major makeover of it: he invoked a 2014 Farm Bill directive to create a new USDA post, undersecretary of trade, by eliminating an existing

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Ag's greatest innovation

In my youth, May brought two noticeable changes to the big Lutheran church my family faithfully attended. The first was heat. No building on earth better held daytime heat from Mother’s Day through Reformation Day than that century-old house of worship. The second was the season’s short-sleeved parade of lost limbs, a brutal testament to the unforgiving and unshielded farm

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Pass the biscuits… and the buck…

Leave it to the language experts at England’s Oxford Dictionaries to come up with a two-word “Word of the Year” for 2016.
That (those) word(s) is (are) “post-truth.”
Post-truth, explain the Oxford experts, is “defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.’”
A food example might

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The numbers aren't adding up… By Alan Guebert According to numbers compiled and published by Agri-Pulse, the Washington D.C.-based ag news service, the top bosses at ag-centered commodity groups and federally-chartered checkoff agencies had far b

The numbers aren\’t adding up…

By Alan Guebert

According to numbers compiled and published by Agri-Pulse, the Washington D.C.-based ag news service, the top bosses at ag-centered commodity groups and federally-chartered checkoff agencies had far better recent years than the farmers and ranchers they claim to serve. For example, Agri-Pulse\’s annual compensation report published last September noted that Steve Censky, CEO

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Courting courage…

On April 10, Art Cullen of the Storm Lake (IA) Times was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing. His work, explained the Pulitzer board, “fueled by tenacious reporting, impressive expertise, and engaging writing… successfully challenged the powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa.”

Challenged, yes; beat ’em, no.

Cullen — who co-owns the tiny, twice-weekly Times (circulation: 3,000) with his brother

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There goes the neighborhood…

There goes the neighborhood…

By Alan Guebert

Farmers and ranchers pride themselves on neighborliness… and rightly so. Rare is the season, after all, when the local newspaper or radio station doesn\’t carry a lump-in-the-throat story explaining how neighbors of an ill or injured member of a farm or ranch family gathered for a day or two to do a month or

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