American dairy producers accused a yogurt maker of crossing a line when it announced it would soon begin requiring the milk it buys to be GM free. It was a predictable but misguided response.  |  File photo

Don’t tell consumers ‘you’re wrong’

When most of us hear the words, “have I got a great deal for you”, we grab our wallets because experience suggests any forthcoming deal won’t be great. Similarly, when someone says, “here’s the straight talk,” our baloney meters redline because we know the coming talk will be about as straight as a hound’s hind […] Read more

Congress has launched hearings into the latest proposed mergers in the crop input sector, but it has missed the boat.  |  File photo

Too late to curb crop input mergers

One of the oldest truisms agriculture offers is the simple, rock-solid advice that the time to close the barn door is before the cows get out. Closing the door afterward, as everyone knows, is pointless because the cows are already long gone. Everyone, except of course, the United States Congress which, in September, hosted a […] Read more

U.S. farm policy subsidizes overproduction that leads to lower prices, prompting growers to hope for crop disasters to lift prices.  |  WP graphic

U.S. policy leads to hopes for failure

The most positive news about the most negative United States presidential campaign in modern history is that, in 80 or so days, we can forget to remember it. Or should that read “remember to forget it?” It’s hard to get the words right when it’s so easy for political actors to get them wrong. In […] Read more

Voluntary or mandatory, bar codes or symbols, the labelling laws around genetically modified products have gone from complicated to comical.  |  File photo

U.S. GM labelling laws designed to fail

Americans have been perfecting the art of non-action action for years. It began about a generation ago with the non-apology apology: “If I offended you, I apologize.” Later we moved on to the non-committal commitment: “I’ll be there unless I get a better offer.” Now, courtesy of Congress, our non-legislating legislature, we might soon be […] Read more

U.K. farmers may face trade hurdles because U.K. exports will be required to meet international regulations.  |  File photo

U.K. farmers will lose in Brexit move

Across the centuries, Great Britain has given the world many things uniquely British — the Puritans, Andrew Carnegie, the Beatles. However, on June 23, it gave the world another significant gift: a big step into the dark abyss of a go-it-alone future in today’s ever-globalizing world. Sure, most of the United Kingdom’s citizens who voted […] Read more

The multinational companies that dominate the global seed and crop protection industry are consolidating.  |  File photo

It’s all about size in global marketplace

Since late last summer, Big Seed’s big players have looked more like anxious high school kids hoping to pair off for the senior prom than international businesses investing in new products and markets. The first to go courting was Monsanto. Last August, it offered nearly $46 billion for its Swiss classmate, Syngenta, only to be […] Read more

The right wing of the U.S. Republican Party is proposing a significant shake-up of agricultural policy in the United States. | File photo

Right wing politics zero in on ag policy

American humorist Will Rogers once noted that he “wasn’t a member of any organized political party” because “I am a Democrat.” The crack is dead-on funny because it’s bulls-eye true. Just ask any Democrat. Agricultural Republicans on Capitol Hill, however, are working feverishly to take the title from Rogers’ Dems. Last month, festering differences between […] Read more

Equitable access key to solving hunger

It’s just a fact that some people see the proverbial glass half-full rather than half-empty, and some people say tomahto, others tomato. These tomahto-half-fullers aren’t knuckleheads. They simply view the world from a different angle and, often, that difference offers fresh insights and solutions others can’t see, given their never changing, tomato view. Tim Wise, […] Read more

Many analysts recommend buying bacon now as prices are likely to go up due to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus reducing pork supply.  |  File photo

Let’s talk beef … and biofuel … and PED

Facts, figures and data are as essential to journalism as verbs, nouns and dangling participles. In fact, journalism without facts is a cup of tea without tea. We also understand that erudite farm and food conversationalists — like you, for instance — are often on the prowl for convincing evidence and fresh facts to inform […] Read more

Russia punches Ukraine’s breadbasket

When Russian president Vladimir Putin sent his nation’s armed but un-marked troops into the sovereign territory of Ukraine, he became the latest in a long line of Russian Little Big Men to punch Eurasia’s famed breadbasket in the gut. First came the imperial czars, then the revolutionary Bolsheviks and, right behind them and most brutally, […] Read more