Current Week

Farm Bill

August 16, 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

Today, I’m going to talk about the farm bill, but before I get started on that, my thoughts on the tragic Charlottesville riots where a hate monger from a different state slammed into the crowd with his car killing one young lady and injuring many others. The intention of the white nationalist rally was to prevent the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. The result was death and destruction. President Trump condemned the Ku Klux Klan and Neo Nazis. “Hatred and bigotry have no place in America.” He also said, “There is blame on both sides.”

I agree, but this is not the first example of race rioting and probably will not be the last. Remember Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas – and other examples of confrontation fueled by the violent left; property destroyed, cars burned, stores ransacked, police officers shot. There are bad people out there on both sides. We don’t need these kinds of unlawful and sometimes deadly encounters.

Now, let’s consider the farm bill. Congress started writing farm bills in the 1930s to help farmers through the Great Depression. Every four or five years, we get a new farm bill. The farm bill is more than farm programs. Nutrition programs, including food stamps, spend about 80% of the money. Then, we have farm supports led by crop insurance, conservation, and the Forest Service. Our current farm bill runs out September 30, 2018 – little more than one year from now. There has been some talk of separating the nutrition programs from the farm programs. That will not work. Food programs and farm programs need to find common ground. I think they will. There is pressure to cut the overall spending, but then the question is, who do you take the money from? And, the battle begins.

On the food stamp front, one approach to save some money would be to impose some work requirements on able-bodied recipients. We have twice as many on food stamps today as we did when I was Secretary of Agriculture.

Crop insurance could be a target, but I think it will stand its ground. Cotton is looking for help, and so is dairy. Wheat production is down, and they may be able to justify some bump up in support.

The House and Senate Agriculture Committee Members are having hearing sessions with farmers and others interested in the bill. This is just the beginning. Secretary Perdue took an RV tour with stops in five Midwest states. These are listening sessions now, but the real business will start soon.

My opinion on the 2018 farm bill, when all is said and done, is that it will not be very different from the one we have now. Stay tuned.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to

www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.

Previous Weeks

Branstad and Horses

June 1 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

I have two subjects to cover today. One that is very hopeful – Governor Terry Branstad, now Ambassador Terry Branstad, is headed to China. The other issue, which is not very hopeful, has to do with horses.

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Budget

May 25 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

Back in March, President Trump gave us a look at his budget plan. Although without much detail, it made clear to us that one of his highest priorities was to downsize the federal government. And, he would do…

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Two Issues

May 18 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

“Trump’s Tax Plan Would Spur Growth” – that is the headline in a recent Wall Street Journal paper. First, let me say that President Trump’s tax reform plan is not very specific. I think that is good.…

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GE Science

May 11 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

I am encouraged. I think that we have some pretty strong voices in the Trump Administration speaking out in support of agriculture. Our strongest voice comes from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. He said…

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Perdue’s Agenda

May 4 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

It’s only been a week since confirmation, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has hit the ground running. He has ordered that schools be given more flexibility in their school lunch programs, more local…

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Sound Science

April 27 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

Last week on Saturday, it was Earth Day. I always thought of Earth Day as a celebration of the earth with its natural beauty and, of course, the food and crops it provides to feed everything living –…

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How Do We Raise Prices?

April 20 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

I can report that I was on my Illinois farm last week. Weather was beautiful and we planted 360 acres of corn. Then it rained. At least we got started. It is always exciting when you first hit the field with…

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Confirmation Process

April 13 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

This week, I stopped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and met with Governor Perdue’s Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor, Brian Klippenstein. It was a short visit but we all agreed that we desperately…

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Slow Process

April 6 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

President Trump took his oath of office with a priority list of actions he wanted to take in his first 100 days. It has not been easy. In the first place, I don’t think his team had prepared enough to move…

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Unsustainable Debt

March 30 2017

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

And now for today’s commentary—

I am out of town today and speak to you by telephone. We all know that President Trump has an ambitious agenda. One of those projects is to balance our budget. Our rising debt is frightening. It has hit a…

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