Current Week

Cuba and More

December 1, 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  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 want to review a few issues today as we plan our farming operation and look over the horizon at next year’s opportunities and challenges.  U.S. farm income this year is expected to be down again, hitting an 8-year low of $71 billion.  In 2013, we climbed to a peak of $120 billion.  That was off the chart.  A positive statistic is that our debt is still manageable – not like in the 1980s when a lot of farms and country banks went belly up. 

Next issue – Donald Trump will be working with a number of countries to boost our trade export numbers.  We all know that U.S. agriculture runs an impressive trade surplus of about $16 billion.  Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1993, our exports to Canada and Mexico have jumped from $8.9 billion to $38.6 billion.  That’s impressive. 

But, let’s look at the EU.  Europe is exporting twice as much ag product to us as we export to them.  How can that be?  We are certainly as good at producing food as they are.  We are in the process of negotiating a trade agreement with Europe but it is not even close to being done.  They use their tariffs to protect their beef, pork, poultry, and GMO rules to close the door on grains.  I think Donald Trump can get a better deal. 

My last issue is Cuba.  I was there last year.  We were trying to find a way to open the trade door, which has been closed for 50 years.  Suddenly, Fidel Castro dies.  Maybe some things will change; maybe not.  Certainly, President Obama has made some serious progress.  President Obama has named an Ambassador in Havana with full diplomatic relations, but he is yet to be confirmed by the Senate.  But that doesn’t fix everything, because we still have legislation which requires that Cuba pay cash in advance for their imports.  That restriction needs to be lifted.  Let our exporters deal with the Cuban importers.  Get the government out of it. 

What will President-Elect Trump do now?  Will he trash the progress that President Obama has made?  I don’t have a crystal ball to read, but I am hopeful.  Fidel is gone.  Raul, his brother, knows that Cuba is under a lot of pressure.  Russia used to subsidize Cuba for years.  They can’t afford it anymore.  Venezuela provided free oil to Cuba.  Venezuela is all but broke – they can’t help.  Cuba needs to do something.  Their citizens live on less than $1 per day.  They can talk about how educated they are and how good their healthcare is, but that island country is broke.  Young people are fleeing the island in droves – 60,000 over the last year.  Maybe Donald and Raul can patch things up.  We shall see.    

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, D.C. 

Previous Weeks

Thanksgiving

November 24 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—  

I’m not talking about politics or President-Elect Donald Trump today.  Let’s be thankful for our good fortune to be here in America this Thanksgiving weekend.  The celebration of Thanksgiving dates…

Read More/Listen

Rural America Speaks Up

November 17 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—  

Now that the election is over, Democrats are trying to figure out what went wrong.  Not only will they lose the White House in January, they did not get control of the Senate and gained very little in the…

Read More/Listen

Trump Wins

November 10 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—  

It’s a new day.  Donald Trump was elected President of the U.S.  Washington, D.C. is in shock.  It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.  Clinton was supposed to win. 

A year and a half ago, Donald…

Read More/Listen

2016 Election Day Part II

November 2 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—  

This year’s election process has been wild and crazy.  Hard to imagine, but we will know the results on Tuesday.  Last week, Rick Frank delivered this radio program for me.  He said that he would vote…

Read More/Listen

Election Day 2016 - The Need for a Balanced Government

October 27 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This is Rick Frank Sitting in for Jack Block.  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—  

Tuesday, November 8 is Election Day.  A free and fair election is what separates the U.S. from many of our toughest competitors – for example, China,…

Read More/Listen

This and That

October 20 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—  

I will cover a list of issues today.  I am encouraged to note that Secretary Vilsack made a wise suggestion to the House and Senate Ag Committees.  He said they should change the “Farm Bill’s” name.…

Read More/Listen

Ag Industry United

October 13 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—  

In these times of low farm prices, it is encouraging to see farm associations and leaders stepping up to protect our farmers and ranchers. 

The CEOs of CropLife America, the National Corn Growers…

Read More/Listen

Cuba

October 6 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—  

Farm income is collapsing.  Livestock and grain prices are in the tank.  What to do now?  Of course, we have to persevere and ride this recession out. 

There are some common sense things that could help a…

Read More/Listen

On the Farm

September 29 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—  

Down on the farm in Illinois – that’s where I am.  I’m on the telephone today. 

What an exciting, rewarding harvest this is.  I have never seen better corn and soybeans.  Yields are off the chart.…

Read More/Listen

Equal Justice

September 22 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—  

We keep reading about foreign countries – especially Russia – hacking into our E-mails, embarrassing the Democratic National Committee.  E-mails have caused concern that Russia will try to influence…

Read More/Listen

Page 1 of 93 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›