Current Week

Anxiety in Farm Country

May 22, 2019

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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

I was on the farm last week.  We did get some corn planted but then the rain came again.  Last year at this time we had all our corn and soybeans planted.  The later we are in getting the seed in the ground the lower the yield.  As of last weekend only 11% of corn was planted, in Illinois, 6% in Indiana, 48% in Iowa etc.  The last time the farming industry suffered weather challenges like this was 1992.  Without an abrupt weather change, our yields will suffer a big decline.  A short crop will mean higher prices, which is good.  In fact, we have already seen corn and wheat prices shoot up.  That can help.  But now we have to grow it.  Then we can sell it.

The Ag industry has some big clouds hanging over our heads.  Yes, late planting is discouraging, but we still have a costly trade war with China that seems to be getting worse instead of better.  The Department of Agriculture is working on a $20 billion aid plan to support our industry.  That will help, but farmers would prefer to get their money from the market place.

There is some good news.  President Trump is lifting the tariffs on steel and aluminum that he imposed on Canada and Mexico.  That could open the door for the passage of the US Mexico Canada trade agreement.  Mexico and Canada will be back to buying more of our products.  Tell the Congress to approve USMCA soon.

Our trade negotiations with Japan seem to be making progress.  We have been restricted in beef sales to Japan since 2003.  That’s when we had a couple of cases of mad cow disease and they shut us out for 16 years.  They are buying our beef now.  However, they still have some beef tariffs on our exports which leaves us at a disadvantage.  Our market prices for beef, pork and other meat products are forecast to be strong as we look ahead.  China’s African Swine fever has forced a 30% plunge in sow herd numbers.  The world will be short on pork, and that will increase demand for other meats.

This spring there is a lot of anxiety out in farm and ranch country.  The worry is not at the level it was in the early 1980's when I was Secretary of Agriculture, but it is growing.  We have a very strong national economy, but the Ag industry desperately needs some good news.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.  If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com.

Previous Weeks

Cannabis – The Wild, Wild West

May 15 2019

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. 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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

Drive a quarter of a mile in any direction while in San Diego and you will see a largebillboard shouting, “Aches and Pains –…

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Global Economy

May 9 2019

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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

Is this a global economy or what? We have been in a trade war with China for nearly 2 years. Farm and ranch exports have suffered a dramatic set back. Soybean prices are in…

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Spring 2019

May 1 2019

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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

Last Sunday former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar died. He served 36 years in the U.S. Senate – what an outstanding leader and great guy. In 1985 we had to write and pass a new…

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Down on the Farm April 2019

April 26 2019

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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

Earlier this week, I was on the farm in Illinois, and I want to talk to you about that.

I had a chance to meet and talk to neighbors and friends, and I always ask them about…

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What’s Ahead

April 18 2019

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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

This weekend I will be on my farm in Illinois.  When I booked my flight, I thought we might be planting corn.  Not likely – too much rain.

At this moment I am looking at…

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Creativity

April 11 2019

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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

From farm to fork the food industry is doing more than its share to hold inflation down.  The US Department of Agriculture projects only a 1 percent increase in the cost…

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Swine Fever & USMCA

April 4 2019

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 a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

 And now for today’s commentary –

What should we focus on today?  Let’s start with African Swine Fever.  ASF is the deadliest disease threatening the pork industry.  It is estimated that China has lost…

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No Collusion

March 28 2019

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 –

After 2 long years of distraction and political attacks, Special Counsel Muller released his report.  “The Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with the Russian…

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Issues of the Day

March 21 2019

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 –

Let’s begin with hemp.  When I was a little boy, hemp was growing wild on the roadsides and ditches.  It was harvested to make rope during World War II.  It is a close…

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The President’s Budget

March 13 2019

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 –

Issues of the Day.  The President’s Budget.  If everything goes according to plan, when we enter our next fiscal year, October 1, we will have a budget passed by the…

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