2016 Wish List

January 21, 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere and the National Corn Growers 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—

Last year in January, I presented my wish list for 2015. On that program, I asked for a “solution to our immigration problem.” We didn’t get a solution. Now, our Presidential candidates are all over the board with Donald Trump promising to send all the illegals back. We won’t solve the problem this year.

Another wish was to “write a free trade agreement.” We negotiated a deal with 12 Pacific Rim countries. Now we need to pass it in the Congress. Won’t be easy. Fortunately, President Obama is pushing it. But now, we have more than one of the Republican Presidential candidates unhappy with free trade agreements. Hillary Clinton is not sure if she likes the agreement either. This very important trade deal for American agriculture and all of America is still hung up on the political wars.

The next wish was to “upgrade our locks and dams.” At least, we have the authority and more money to begin working on our water infrastructure now.

It was not on last year’s list, but it should have been – roads and bridges. Just before the end of the year, Congress passed legislation giving us the money to get started upgrading them. “Tax reform” was on my list last year. I don’t know when we can get it done. On the plus side, Speaker Paul Ryan has it high on his list also.

Let’s get rid of “country of origin labeling” and we did.

One of last year’s wish list issues was to see the “ag industry come together to support and protect modern agriculture.” Although we have done better in supporting genetically engineered crops and modern technology, we need to do more. I was excited when the Food and Drug Administration said a genetically engineered fish is safe to eat. The new salmon grows to market weight twice as fast as the conventional Atlantic salmon. Maybe more GE animals will be on the table some day.

With all the GE research going on and the potential to engineer something better, I hope the public will come to appreciate the value of improved crops and animals. There is no sacrifice in food safety. This battle has raged for a long while and won’t end any time soon. GMO food labeling is in the spotlight right now. Secretary Vilsack is trying to find a solution.

Not to forget – let’s keep pushing that Cuban door open.

Beyond agriculture, the Middle East is in flames. We need a cease fire.

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 Washington, D.C.