Current Week

Opportunities & Challenges

February 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 have a number of subjects to put on the table today.

To open this up, I want to remind everyone just how our farm and ranch economy is suffering today. Farm income is expected to fall 7% to $60 billion this year. That is less than half what it was just 5 years ago. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, “The state of the rural economy is fragile.” When adjusted for inflation, farm income is forecast to be at the lowest level since 2002.

On top of our income problem, nearly 40 of our states are suffering from drought and getting worse every week. The south, west, and high plains are suffering the most. Our winter wheat crop has already been damaged.

At this time, I have not read very much about drought in the Midwest. However, in talking to farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and other states, they are concerned. The tiles on my farm in Illinois are hardly running. Last year at this time, our subsoil was saturated.

President Trump just released his proposed budget and it could have some influence on the money available for agriculture. Of course, we should remember that Presidents’ budgets are “dead on arrival” – because the Congress decides who gets the money and how much. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) had this to say: “We are writing this farm bill under dramatically different circumstances than the last bill four years ago, when prices were high and rural America was thriving.” I believe that the challenges that agriculture faces today will help to protect farm program funding – especially crop insurance.

Another plus for rural America could be President Trump’s infrastructure plan. The President wants to invest $200 billion with states and private companies providing the rest. According to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “The plan would invest significantly in our rural communities, improving broad band access, internet, water systems, roads, and more.” I have to ask the question – can our Congress come together and pass major infrastructure legislation?

I don’t know. There should be bipartisan support for some kind of a bill. We have already passed legislation to spend a lot of money that we don’t have. Why not just spend some more. I can’t believe I said that – I have always been a “deficit hawk.”

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to http://www.johnblockreports.com Have .a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from

Previous Weeks

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November 30 2017

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We just celebrated another Thanksgiving. And we do have a lot to be thankful for. Our economy is roaring with GDP in the 3% range and near full employment.

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November 16 2017

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Last week, I attended the Farm Broadcasters Annual Convention in Kansas City. Over the last 35 years, I have attended almost all of the NAFB events. This year’s…

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November 9 2017

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NAFTA

November 2 2017

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Today, let’s talk about trade and tax reform. President Trump wants to improve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Congress is presenting a tax…

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The Opioid Crisis - Stop Pointing Fingers

October 26 2017

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

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The opioid epidemic is a national crisis. Drug overdoses are killing 64,000 Americans each year. It is the leading cause of…

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Dusky Gopher Frog

October 18 2017

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By now, I should not be surprised when the federal government uses its power and strength to hammer a defenseless individual citizen. Let me tell you about Edward…

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Trade Worries

October 12 2017

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Worries about our ag trade are escalating. Farmers are desperate. We export more than a quarter of what we produce. Farm prices are in the tank. Any wrong move that would…

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Renewable Fuels

October 5 2017

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At this time when farmers are suffering with low prices for corn and soybeans, the EPA is making a move that could cut the bio diesel mandate by as much as 315 million…

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Priorities

September 28 2017

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The TV has been dominated by hurricanes. The Texas coast was devastated and next, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. Powerful winds destroyed half of the crops. Orange juice is…

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