Current Week

Water Rule

September 17, 2014

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 ag industry has been hammering Congress to stop EPA’s new Waters of the United States rule, and last week, the House voted to block EPA’s rush to extend their jurisdiction.

EPA wants to take control of farm and ranch streams, wet lands, ditches, ponds. We won’t be able to tile a wet spot, or straighten a ditch or do anything without getting a government permit. The money and time to do routine improvements is a serious concern in farm country.

Now, since the House has passed legislation to pull back the EPA overreach, you might think that – we’ve stopped them. Well, think again. There aren’t enough votes in the Democratic-led Senate to pass the bill in the Senate. After the November election, that could change, but for now the House legislation is only a statement. Besides, President Obama has threatened to veto the House bill should it ever get to his desk anyway.

EPA has tried to convince ag groups that “nothing will change.” They just want to define their role to resolve the “grey areas.” At this point, there is no trust between farm & ranch and the EPA. Agriculture worries that they will be required to get approval for the application of fertilizer or pesticides. The American Farm Bureau says the new rule would give EPA “new oversight authority over millions of miles of streams. Virtually all farmers will be impacted.”

In the House, 35 Democrats and 227 Republicans voted for the bill. Collin Peterson, lead Democrat on the House Ag Committee, said, “This legislation is necessary because the EPA does not seem to understand the real world effects these regulations will have on farmers.”

This battle is not over.

O.K. – let’s turn the page because there are other very important challenges that need to be addressed.

We have country of origin labeling, the Renewable Fuel Standard, immigration reform, trade agreements with Europe and the Pacific, and on and on.

Back to reality and look at the schedule. Congress doesn’t have any time or interest in making the hard choices now. With the mid-term election in November, they will hit the campaign trail in October. All they will get done now is to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open after October 1.

No more government shutdowns.

That’s it for this week. Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C.

Previous Weeks

Energy Security

September 11 2014

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—

Perhaps it took 2 or 3 years, but it seems like overnight. We are not going crazy worrying about a possible energy shortage. We had long gas lines in the 70s. Prices skyrocketed. We were begging Saudi Arabia to pump more gas in the 90s.

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Cool

September 4 2014

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—

Turn back the clock to year 2002 and, that year, the farm bill added COOL (country of origin labeling) for meat. That has been a problem for the last 12 years. Consumer groups argue that they have a right to know where their meat comes…

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Labor Day

August 28 2014

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—

Hard to believe, but summer is over. It’s Labor Day. On that note, I want to say how much respect I have for the hard-working men and women that labor in the trenches. I’m not talking about big corporation managers, not talking about…

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Salt

August 21 2014

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 should we be eating? We are getting hammered from every angle about what is good for us versus what is bad. Too many carbs, stay away from red meat, don’t trust GE foods, sugar will make you fat. The government wants to…

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Russian Food Embargo

August 14 2014

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 August crop report confirms what we already knew. We are going to harvest a very big corn crop and soy beans are not far behind.

Not surprising, the price of corn is bouncing around at a level that could result in government safety…

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Middle East

August 7 2014

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 a lot going on. No shortage of issues.

Turn your attention to the Middle East. Israel has been pounding Hamas and Gaza for days. Their objective has been to destroy more than 30 tunnels from Gaza into Israel. Looks like –…

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Putin and Cuba

July 31 2014

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—

For many years, I have advocated and worked to improve relations with Cuba. I’ve gone there supporting ag trade on two occasions. I’ve never said that Castro is a good friend. We all know that Cuba is a Communist dictatorship with…

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Getting Nothing Done

July 24 2014

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—

Today, I want to talk to you about the deficit – not the dollar deficit. That’s for another day.

I want to talk about the deficit of action, the deficit of responsibility.

The U.S. Congress and the President have failed the…

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Farm Program

July 17 2014

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— Let’s talk about the farm bill today.

The level of support and type of support has evolved over time. Today’s bill isn’t my father’s farm bill.

The importance of farm supports to farmers has diminished over the years.…

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Checkoff Programs

July 10 2014

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 ag industry in recent years has been on a roll – strong prices, increased exports, reasonable yields and a level of optimism not enjoyed by much of the rest of our economy.

Still, it’s no time to relax. As an industry, a…

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