This and That, September 17

September 17, 2015

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 in Germany, Austria, and Hungary just two months ago on our Danube River cruise. It was clam and peaceful. Not today. Thousands of refugees are streaming across the borders to escape the wars in the Middle East. Syria was a stable country with a population of 22 million just three years ago. That number is cut in half. They are either fleeing their country or they are dead. The human suffering of families is hard to imagine. And there is no easy solution now. I blame the U.S. and Europe both. When President Obama was elected President, the region was reasonably stable. Not today. It’s too late. The “cat is out of the bag.” We’re not going to war over there to fix it now. I hope.

Another issue closer to home – yes, we have our own battle over illegal immigrants – 12 million of them. We hear a lot of voices crying – “Send the immigrants back home.” And the loudest voice is Donald Trump – the lead Republican running for President. The National Milk Producers Federation does not like what they hear. If we sent the undocumented dairy farm workers back, “milk prices will double.”

One-third of U.S. dairy operations employ foreign-born workers. Who would be there to milk the cows? Randy Mooney (dairy farmer from Missouri) had this to say: “Dairy farmers have tried desperately to get American workers to do these jobs – no success.” That is despite an average pay of $11.54 per hour. That’s well above the minimum wage. Dairy farmers wonder who would milk the cows. I ask, “Who’s going to butcher my pigs? There won’t be anyone to pick the strawberries either.”

Another issue that we care about – ethanol. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has pushed us to use more ethanol. That standard has always been criticized by the petroleum industry. Now, they have a new study which claims that RFS will cause “severe economic harm.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had this to say about their study: “This is an absurd report and it shows the length to which the oil industry is going to nick the biofuel industry.” Go get them, Mr. Secretary. I’m with you.

It’s harvest time down on the farm, and farming is a dangerous business. Be careful.

Don’t take any chances.

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.