Trade

Farm Exports

November 14 2004

For years and years we have bragged about the surplus of farm exports over imports. In fact 20 years ago we exported twice as much food as we imported and helped to keep the trade deficit from getting any worse. Would you believe that in June and August of this year our farm trade surplus melted away? We'll have a surplus for the year --- However, it is likely that in 1 or 2 years farm sales will be in deficit.

It's not that our exports have collapsed. In fact, we are exporting 50% more…

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Free Trade

April 1 2003

Although I am not very optimistic about the new round of global trade negotiations, I am much more optimistic about negotiation of bilateral agreements. It is so difficult to get every country in the world to agree on a single plan to reduce duties, to harmonize regulatory standards and not get bogged down in an endless harangue about the environment, labor and even animal rights. However, country by country we can and are making progress.

We just concluded a free trade agreement with…

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Support Domestic Energy Sources

October 24 2000

Oil prices have spiked up again. I'm sure we aren't going to tap the strategic oil reserve for any more oil now. The election will be behind us and there won't be any reason to open it up.

The point that we don't want to miss is that there is a very unique climate out there right now. A climate that is crying out for more of our own energy. Less dependence on foreign oil sources.

It's fine to talk about electric cars, etc. but let's be realistic. This nation nms on oil and coal and to a…

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PIK Program

September 13 2000

Say it isn't so! Not the PIK program again. Yes, that's what it is. This time for sugar. I really thought PIK (payment in kind) was history. But I guess not. We have too much sugar and with the loan rate where it is, it appears the sugar processors are going to forfeit at least 500,000 tons of sugar to the government. Secretary Glickman does not want the sugar. He already owns 125,000 tons. The sugar beet farmers are about to harvest another big crop. I introduce you to payment in kind.…

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Government Support for Farmers

July 11 2000

Adopt this proposal and U.S. farmers will be able to "sell their commodities in every comer of the earth without being undercut by subsidized competition or blocked by high tariffs." -- the words of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. The proposal was formally presented to the World Trade Organization the last day of June.

The plan would set a ceiling on government support for farmers and phase down over time. The objective is to systematically wean farmers from government support…

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Congress

June 27 2000

Many of the pundits have been saying that this would be a "do nothing Congress". That political gridlock would close the door on any meaningful legislation. So far that has not been the case at all. Let" just take inventory ofwhere we are with a list of bills that might have been little more than a dream a few months ago. For years the Congress went through the annual charade of voting normal trade relations for China.

The energy expanded every year was enormous. This year we passed…

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The State of Agriculture

February 29 2000

What's hot and what's not? That's a good questions. Look at the stock market as a barometer of the nation's economic health and you would have to conclude that we have a mixed bag. Although mostly on the positive side of the ledger. The old line blue chip stand-by stocks are the ones struggling.

Almost all of the food companies -- so basic to our lives -- are languishing at the bottom of the barrel. Take a look. There is IBP, ADM, Kellogg, Philip Morris, John Deere, Ag Co. Up and down the…

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Farm Economy 2000

February 1 2000

The farm economy appears to be turning around ever so slightly. Farm land values have held up very nicely in the face of low farm prices keeping the U.S. farm balance sheet reasonably sound. The Asian economies are gaining strength which should help boost prices of certain select commodities. Can we put on a happy face? We want to.

Yet I just finished reading the speech that Keith Collins, USDA's Chief Economist, gave to the American farm Bureau Convention. He calls them the way he sees…

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