Current Week

Pandemic Costs

July 8, 2020

July 8, 2020

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 –

In recent weeks, the news has focused on the number of cases of Coronavirus and related
deaths. We are aware of the large amount of money and support that our federal government has
made available, but I’m not sure we have focused enough on the resulting family disruption and
hunger. Families are struggling to feed their children. Here in the U.S. Black and Hispanic
families are suffering the most. Billions and billions of dollars have been spent. Now on Capitol
Hill there is pressure to provide a 15% increase in food stamp benefits in a new Coronavirus Aid
Package.

Policy research at Northwestern University reports that food insecurity in 2018 for Black households was 25%. Today it is at 39%. For Hispanics, in 2018 the number was 17% and today it is 37%. The number for White children is not very good either – 22% is double what it was in 2018. Here is how they measure food insecurity. “a household that’s either uncertain about or unable to get enough food to feed everyone.”

We can expect another Coronavirus Aid Package and I think more food for those most
needy should be part of it. We have our own food challenges, but so does the rest of the world.
There are millions of families all over the world that don’t have the money to put food on the
table. The World Food Program said last week that it plans to “dramatically escalate food
assistance to feed 138 million people this year. The pandemic is making the poorest poorer and
the hungriest hungrier.” David Beasley, the World Food Program Executive Director, said “the
world could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.

There is another consequence of the pandemic that I had not thought about. Migrant workers from developing countries all over the world every year come to developed countries for work. They come to the US. They go to Germany, the UK, France, and other EU countries. Millions of Filipino, Mexicans, South Americans and Indians find work overseas and send $554 billion back to their home countries. They have come to rely on that cash. But, with the Coronavirus global disruption, the money flow to those in need is expected to decline by 20%.

Hunger will multiply. I have talked about how costly the pandemic has been to our ag industry, but we are not alone.

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

Tough Year

April 23 2020

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 –

Look back to when this year started – economists and ag experts were all predicting an
increase in net farm income. We had a trade deal with China which would give a dramatic…

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Food Industry Challenge

April 16 2020

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 –

Let’s start with some good news. Russia, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and other oil producing
countries agreed to cut production by 10% – about 11 million barrels. That should give…

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Challenging Times

April 8 2020

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 –

There isn’t a lot of happy talk in the U.S. or around the world. These are depressing
times. The Coronavirus sickness and resulting deaths are all you see on tv, hear on the…

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Virus and Low Prices

April 2 2020

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 –

We have never seen anything like the Coronavirus. It has been infecting countries all
over the world. I guess that reminds us that we live in a global economy. This virus is…

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The Frozen Economy

March 26 2020

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 –

After months of uncertainty, the biofuels industry got some good news. The EPA had
been granting exemptions to small refineries so they were not required to blend ethanol…



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Coronavirus

March 18 2020

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 –

It seems like overnight we went from a booming economy to shutting everything down.
Schools are closed, businesses are working online to avoid contact. “Social…

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Today’s Agriculture

March 11 2020

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 in Illinois last week. After that tough weather that we had to deal with
last year – it was beautiful. The soil is dry. Not the muck that made harvest…

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Trade

March 5 2020

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 will be on my farm in Illinois this week and next week I will report what I find. For
now, realizing that almost 30% of our ag production is exported, world markets can be…



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Coronavirus

February 26 2020

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 –

Think about this. Just 2 months ago we were ready to celebrate Christmas. After more
than a year of a trade war with China, China agreed to buy $40 billion worth of our…



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New Year - Down on the Farm

February 20 2020

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 –

We still have some snow on the ground at our farm in Illinois, but it is a good time to
plan next year’s crops. Which fields will be for corn and which for soybeans? What…

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