Down on the Farm

May 1, 2014

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you. 

And now for today’s commentary— 

 I was on the farm in Illinois last week and part of this week. Of course, the first subject to talk about today is the farm. It’s time to plant corn. The weather cooperated, and watching that corn planter roll across that black land was so exciting. After all of the years we have put in a crop, you might think it would be routine boring. It is not. It is an inspiring experience. As of now, we have 2/3 of our corn planted – none of our soy beans. We still have a lot yet to do.  I’ve never seen the soil condition any more ideal – not too wet, not too dry. It’s a long season, but we have a good start. 

 I am so grateful that our pigs are still healthy. I can’t help but worry. It is reported that more than 5 million cases of PEDV (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus) have killed millions of baby pigs. The first confirmed case of this virus was reported 1 year ago. We are receiving record prices for market hogs, partly because of supply concerns. Our pigs, at least for now, are just happy to be healthy. 

 A lot has been written about the Bundy ranch in Nevada. Bureau of Land Management confiscated 400 head of Bundy’s cattle because he had not paid land rent to BLM. I’m not here to say the Bundy ranch is right and the federal government is all wrong. Maybe he will have to pay some rent, but at least now, BLM has returned the cattle and agreed to find a resolution to the stand-off. The federal government in so many cases has become a bully, attacking individual farmers and small businesses. 

My take away from this dispute is that the federal government owns too much land. Did you know that the government owns almost half the land west of the Mississippi River? And, they are always trying to grab more land. I think it would be a good idea for our government to sell some of this land to private companies or individuals. They could graze the pastures, farm the prairies, and drill for oil. Private enterprise is what drives our economy – not the government. 

Finally, we have been reading a lot about Ukraine and Russian aggression. What should we do? Well, a new poll of our citizens (which I agree with 100%) says we should reduce our role in world affairs. We can’t manage the whole world. Let’s take care of our house here at home. I hope the politicians will listen to the American people. 

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C.