Current Week

Issues and Headlines

May 24, 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Topping the chart on America’s farms and ranches has been worries about a trade war. The United States and China threatened tariffs and trade restrictions. We announced $150 billion of levies on Chinese goods coming in to the U.S. China planned $50 billion of taxes on U.S. farm products. China had closed the door on our exports of sorghum also.

But, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his Trump Team sat down with the Chinese Team and came away with good news, announcing that we have decided to “put the trade war on hold.” Here is what the New York Times had to say: “China pledged to increase purchases of American goods by $200 billion by 2020.” President Trump’s critics, however, argue that a $200 billion increase is not possible.

Okay – but maybe we could increase exports to China by $100 billion. A good chunk of that could be agriculture and energy products. We’ll take that. Now, I realize that at this point we only have a verbal agreement. However, I am hopeful. China and the U.S. need to work together. We both have North Korea to be concerned about, and a war on the Korean Peninsula would be a far bigger problem for China than the U.S.

In addition, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping appear to be pretty good friends. If China will begin to reform their trade practices, the whole world will stand up and cheer. We realize success is not guaranteed, but there is a sigh of relief in farm country for now.

Another concern popped up that we had not anticipated. The House farm bill was put up for a vote and it failed. Thirty Republicans and all the Democrats voted against it. Some of the opponents were using the bill as leverage to get a vote on entirely separate legislation – legislation to reform immigration policy. With all of this craziness going on, let me just say that

I think we will get a farm bill. Farm bills are always hard to get across the finish line. The House and Senate will have to pass separate bills and reconcile the two. The current farm legislation is still in place and we will be fine if we can pass a bill or an extension by the end of the year.

Stay tuned.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to http://www.johnblockreports.com

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

Previous Weeks

Trade and the Farm Bill

May 16 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

I was on the farm in Illinois last week. I went into the coffee shop, talked to neighbors, and all the questions were about a trade war and the farm bill legislation. Almost…

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Down on the Farm 2018

May 9 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

I was wondering if spring would ever come. We had snow on the farm just 3 weeks ago. Suddenly, things changed. The sun came out, and it began to dry and warm the soil. I’m on…

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Farmer’s Worry

May 2 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Farmers, ranchers, and the whole ag industry have a lot to worry about. Start with farm income – our income has been cut in half over the last 3 or 4 years. There are some…

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North Korea

April 25 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

A few months ago, did we ever think that direct talks between President Trump and Kim Jong Un to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula could ever happen? Of…

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Uncertain Times

April 19 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Farmers and ranchers across the U.S. are under a lot of stress as we enter planting season. Farm income has been cut in half and uncertainty fills the air as we move into the…

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Debt

April 12 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Here is what I read in the Wall Street Journal – “Deficit financing has become the mother’s milk of politics. Each party is giving the other its wish list with all the…

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Clean Meat

April 4 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

All the time, we hear the loud voices of consumer groups that insist the public must be informed about the food we eat. “Label it organic.” “If it has GMOs, the consumer…

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Trade

March 28 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

Pick up a paper or turn on the TV – It’s all about trade.

So that’s the subject I’m going to talk about today. Will there be a trade war? Our agriculture industry that…

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Ag Day and RFS

March 22 2018

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

This week, Tuesday March 20, we celebrated National Ag Day. The event was held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, featuring Vice President Mike Pence as speaker. My focus…

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Where to From Here?

March 15 2018

“Where To From Here?”

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary -

I don’t think we have any idea where the Trump tariffs on steel and aluminum will take us. There is still a lot of concern about how they could…

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