Current Week

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 net support. Also, cotton is at a 5-year low and will likely result in government loan support.

With the above realities in mind, we should take note of the announcement last week that for the next year Russia will not buy any ag products from the U.S., European Union, Australia, Canada, or Norway. They are retaliating against sanctions imposed on Russia 2 weeks ago by the U.S. and the E.U. We cut financing of Russian banks and ended defense sector cooperation.

This back-and-forth all started with Russian annexation of Crimea (which was part of Ukraine). Russia is also suspected of providing the antiaircraft missile that shot down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. This dispute will not end any time soon unless Russia backs away from the eastern border of Ukraine.

So, let’s consider who will be hurt by this conflict. Russia imports a lot of food – 43 billion dollars worth. Almost half of that comes from Europe. Especially high end cheeses, sausages, and fish. European food companies and farmers will be hurt the most. Russia imports more than 16 billion dollars worth of food and ag products from the E.U. They import only about 1.3 billion dollars worth of ag products from the U.S. That’s not much. There was a time when they were a huge market for us. Our poultry industry will be hit the hardest. Russia is our number 2 customer, importing 7% of our poultry exports. Our pork industry will squeal a little bit. Russia buys 1.3% of our pork exports.

The net result of all of this will be felt in Europe and very little in the U.S. I think Russia will suffer the most from their ban on food imports. They need the food. Prices will be driven up. And their rising upper class will not be able to get the good stuff off the supermarket shelves. They will miss that good French wine.

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

Previous Weeks

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.

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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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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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4th of July

July 3 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—

It’s 4th of July. Time to celebrate this great country of ours. I know bad things happen here. We have hunger and obesity. We have school shootings. Even last year, the Boston Marathon could not escape the violence. I turn my…

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Consumer Confusion

June 26 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, we have more uncertainty and questions about our food supply than ever before. Is it safe? Will it make you fat? Where did it come from? How were the animals cared for on the farm? Is our food system sustainable?

All of this…

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This and That

June 19 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— I want to open today by congratulating President H. W. Bush, who celebrated his 90th birthday by parachuting from a helicopter 6,000 feet in the air. President Bush has celebrated his birthdays by jumping out of a plane on his 75th,…

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Roads & Bridges

June 12 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's in the news? It's all over TV – the Veterans Administration scandal. Next, you will hear about the questionable swap of 5 terrorist prisoners for 1 army deserter. Obama Care problems are always in the news. However, have you…

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This and That

June 5 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 —

This week, we'll talk about more than one issue. The first is one that really concerns me and should concern farmers and ranchers across the country. The EPA is at it again. They have given the public until July 21 to comment on new…

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