Current Week

“COOL” Isn’t Cool

May 21, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

As a farmer, we understand that if you have something that doesn’t work, you fix it. It will just cost you money if you ignore the problem. Somehow, the federal government doesn’t seem to understand that common sense fact.

The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law was first passed in 2002. Canada and Mexico have been challenging the law now for 13 years. The World Trade Organization just this week ruled it to be a violation of U.S. international trade obligations. We are a member of the WTO and therefore should live within the rules. That is our obligation, and we expect other countries to do the same.

This week, for the third time, the WTO ruled against us. That ruling gives Canada and Mexico the legal right to retaliate. Canada already has a list of proposed restrictions which will result in a dramatic cut in our exports to Canada and Mexico. That is serious. Canada and Mexico are our number 1 and 2 export markets. Besides, they are our closest neighbors.

Senator Pat Roberts (KS) had this to say: “If Congress doesn’t act swiftly, retaliation will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy.” I think we should be aware that if we don’t fix this law, it will cost us millions of dollars in ag exports as well as other exports.

The law today requires that a calf born in Canada, if shipped to the U.S., would see that meat label read “Born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in U.S.” Can you imagine the cost and confusion that can cause? What about the Montana farmer that imported Canadian calves and mixed his own U.S. calves with the Canadian calves? By law, he would have to keep track of them and market them separately. The U.S. processing plant would have to process them separately. That’s the only way to make sure that Canadian label was on the Canadian steak.

Consumers say they have the right to know where that animal has been. Why? It isn’t worth the hassle. USDA just released new study results that point out the COOL labeling policy costs consumers nearly 8 billion dollars over 10 years.

We don’t need to try and change COOL. We’ve tried that before. COOL isn’t cool. Get rid of it.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.

Previous Weeks

TPA and Budget

May 14 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

It was disappointing this week to see the Senate Democrats reject Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Only one Democrat voted for it. Only one Republican voted against it. (How is this for strange bedfellows?) President Obama was on the…

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Down on the Farm

May 7 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I was on the farm last week and early this week. My timing was right. I wanted to be there for the corn planting. We finished and started on soy beans. I have never seen the seeds go in the ground under better conditions. That rich,…

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Raisins

April 30 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The U.S. Supreme Court decides a lot of very serious, high-profile cases – one of them recently is gay marriage. However, just 10 days ago, they heard one about raisins. Yes – raisins.

The Raisin Program dates back to the Great…

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TPA 2015

April 23 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

There is no shortage of serious issues that need to be addressed. To me, the most important one that the Congress is teeing up is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch (Utah) and ranking…

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Federal Income Taxes

April 16 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Once again – just in time – I paid my federal income taxes. Do we have a good tax system to finance our federal government? I don’t think so. Only 5% of the public say, “It’s working just fine.”

Our Tax Code is too big and…

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California Water

April 9 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Every time I go to California, I marvel at the lush green lawns, the gorgeous golf courses, vegetable crops, and fruit trees – all meticulously well-tended and growing green -- maybe not anymore.

Governor Jerry Brown of…

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Energy Supply

April 2 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

What was the biggest thing that happened last year – was it the endless turmoil in the Middle East, or Putin’s incursion into Ukraine, or the price of corn cut in half? None of the above. It was the price of oil cut in half. From…

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Dietary Guidelines – Confused About Caffeine

March 25 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The news wires have been buzzing lately about the recently released scientific report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. One of the hottest topics for discussion is how out of…

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TPA

March 19 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Seven former Secretaries of Agriculture (including yours truly) (Republicans and Democrats) signed a letter supporting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). President Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and the U.S. Trade…

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Farming Contrast

March 12 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I’ve been on my Illinois farm this week. Having been on Cuban farms last week, I can’t help but note the amazing contrast. Just flying into Havana, I observed the plowed fields were red – red soil. Our soil is black. I…

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