Current Week

This and That 2017

June 22, 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Tip of the day— “Seven percent of all American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.” “One in five adults don’t know that hamburgers are beef.” We have a major education challenge.

Now to look at some priority issues of the day. Trade has to be near the top of the list. I think the ag industry is very well-represented. President Trump has nominated Gregg Doud to serve as chief ag negotiator in the Office of U.S. Trade Representative. Gregg has farm interests and Washington trade experience. He worked for Senator Pat Roberts and, before that, for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He should have no trouble getting confirmed. Our other power players on trade are U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Lighthizer worked on the ag trade agreement with the Soviet Union when I was Secretary of Agriculture and Ross just opened the door to sell beef to China. He said China could reduce its $347 billion trade deficit with the U.S. if they purchased less cattle, soybeans, and industrial goods from other country – and buy more from the U.S. Sounds like a good idea to me.

While talking about trade, President Trump’s change in our Cuban relationship looks like a step backward. It doesn’t look like the relationship will change very much. We still have diplomatic relations. Although trade did not increase with President Obama’s outreach to Cuba, he opened up travel opportunities. The reality is until the Congress changes the law to allow private credit for Cuba to purchase our food products, they are not going to buy.

Finally, take a look at the new farm bill, which must be completed next year. Getting it done is not as simple as it should be. Conservative Republicans in Congress want to increase work requirements for “able-bodied” food stamp recipients. Keep in mind the “farm bill” has 2 parts – nutrition programs and farm programs. If the food stamp work requirement is passed this summer, it will hurt our chances of passing the next farm bill. Although estimates are the work requirement could save $400 billion over 10 years, a lot of moderate Members of Congress would not like the cut. The whole farm bill process could blow up.

I think we should keep nutrition and farm programs together. “You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.”

Stay tuned…

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to http://www.johnblockreports.com Have .a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.

Previous Weeks

Government Overreach

June 15 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I talked this week with John Duarte, a California farmer. He is in trouble. He bought 450 acres in 2012. He plowed it and planted it to wheat. He now faces $2.8 million in civil penalties because he did not…

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Trade and Climate Change

June 8 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Two subjects today – It is time to renegotiate NAFTA, but we don’t want to get into a fight that could cost agriculture. Mexico does not have any tariffs on our farm exports. Mexico spends $19 billion on…

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Branstad and Horses

June 1 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I have two subjects to cover today. One that is very hopeful – Governor Terry Branstad, now Ambassador Terry Branstad, is headed to China. The other issue, which is not very hopeful, has to do with horses.

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Budget

May 25 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Back in March, President Trump gave us a look at his budget plan. Although without much detail, it made clear to us that one of his highest priorities was to downsize the federal government. And, he would do…

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Two Issues

May 18 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

“Trump’s Tax Plan Would Spur Growth” – that is the headline in a recent Wall Street Journal paper. First, let me say that President Trump’s tax reform plan is not very specific. I think that is good.…

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GE Science

May 11 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I am encouraged. I think that we have some pretty strong voices in the Trump Administration speaking out in support of agriculture. Our strongest voice comes from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. He said…

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Perdue’s Agenda

May 4 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

It’s only been a week since confirmation, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has hit the ground running. He has ordered that schools be given more flexibility in their school lunch programs, more local…

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Sound Science

April 27 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Last week on Saturday, it was Earth Day. I always thought of Earth Day as a celebration of the earth with its natural beauty and, of course, the food and crops it provides to feed everything living –…

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How Do We Raise Prices?

April 20 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I can report that I was on my Illinois farm last week. Weather was beautiful and we planted 360 acres of corn. Then it rained. At least we got started. It is always exciting when you first hit the field with…

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Confirmation Process

April 13 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

This week, I stopped by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and met with Governor Perdue’s Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor, Brian Klippenstein. It was a short visit but we all agreed that we desperately…

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