2005

The Farm Bill

August 25 2005

Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns has been listening and talking to farmers, focusing more than anything, on the next farm bill. He has been a big hit with his constituents. He is relaxed, at home, and can speak our language. I am encouraged because when the next bill is written, I expect the Secretary to be in the middle of the negotiations, and that is good. In fact, I was talking with him this morning, he is looking forward to being an active player in writing the next bill.

Every…

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Cuba

August 11 2005

Four years ago I went to Cuba with an agricultural trade team. We were hoping to help open that market for U. S. farmers. We weren't alone. Farm organizations, members of Congress from rural states and trading companies worked to relax our trade embargo policy. In the end we were successful. We opened the door to sell our farm products to Cuba: from zero exports in 2000 to 400 million dollars in 2004.

But this past February, that door was slammed shut. The U.S. Treasury Dept. issued new…

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Dog Days of August

August 11 2005

Yes, these are the "dog days of August." It's hot. Gas prices are through the roof. The War in Iraq doesn't seem to be going well. Drought has hurt the corn crop. Grain prices are scraping the bottom -corn, wheat, soybean, even cotton. The President's approval ratings are down but the approval ratings of Congress are far worse.

I'm reminded of what another former Secretary of Agriculture, Richard Lyng, told me on more than one occasion. "When times are good, you think they'll never get bad,…

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