Current Week

Exports

October 14, 2021

October 14, 2021

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

This is Randy Russell sitting in for my good friend Jack Block. And now today’s commentary:
Last week USDA released its latest forecast for U.S. agricultural exports, and it contained great
news for the farm sector. Farm exports for this past year hit $173 billion and are projected to
reach a record $178 billion in 2022. Strong gains in exports of soybeans, pork, beef, cotton, and
sorghum have led the way.

And remember all that discussion about the Phase I China deal? Well, in 2021 exports are expected to reach $37 billion and are forecast at a record level of $39 billion for 2022. This makes China our top export market followed by Canada at $24 billion and Mexico at $22 billion. These three markets—China, Canada, and Mexico—represent nearly half of all U.S. farm exports. This is exactly why the agriculture and food industry were such strong supporters of USMCA and the China Phase I Agriculture Agreement. Farm exports are indeed the lifeblood of our industry.

Speaking of exports, we continue to be hampered by breakdowns in the agriculture and food
supply chain. Two major impediments are: labor shortages and bottlenecks at key ports. Last
week the Department of Labor reported that in September the U.S. economy created just 194,000
jobs. This, despite the fact that there are 11 million job openings. And the labor participation fell
to under 62%. How can this be? Well, Congress has provided massive worker assistance during
the pandemic creating, in some cases, disincentives to work. Meanwhile, as schools re-opened,
childcare challenges have grown while some workers have chosen to re-think their careers as
working from home has become more common place.

Also hampering supply chains is the enormous backlog at major ports. As of last week, nearly 500 cargo vessels were docked off of major ports in Asia, the U.S. and Europe. Labor shortages at the docks, shortages of truck drivers and China bidding up container rates have led to massive delays in the export and import of food, consumer goods and energy. Twenty years ago, the top 10 global shipping companies handled about half of all trade. Today they control 82%. Key Members of the House and Senate have called on the Federal Maritime Commission to investigate the industry, the rates they are charging and the port backlog. This is something the Government clearly needs to address. One final point—there is a growing concern in the agriculture industry about foreign ownership of U.S. farmland and agriculturally-related assets. In the months ahead, look for Congress to take a closer look at this trend as part of their focus on building a more resilient food supply chain. This is Randy Russell reporting from Washington.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to
www.johnblockreports.com.

Previous Weeks

Down on the Farm

October 7 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 –

Harvest is here. I was at the farm in Illinois last week. We have two combines – one harvesting corn and the other harvesting soybeans. Riding that combine and watching…

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Fiscal Crossroads

September 30 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 is Randy Russell sitting in for my good friend Jack Block. And now for today’s commentary.

Once again, Washington finds itself in a state of fiscal…

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Problems

September 23 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 –

The Biden Administration has been telling us that “our borders are not open.” We all know that is
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Welfare Bill

September 16 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 –

The Wall Street Journal opinion page reminds us that the $3.5 trillion “Cradle to the Grave” entitlement bill could transform America in 17 days.” President Biden and his…

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Labor Day

September 8 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 –

Monday this week was Labor Day. Thank you to the hard-working men and women that carry the load of our great nation into a positive productive future. It has not been…

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News of the Day

September 3 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the
National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 –

President Biden surrenders to the Taliban. The war in Afghanistan is officially over. After 20
years of conflict and more than 2400 American lives lost and 20,000 of our service…



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China, Food Stamps and Afghanistan

August 28 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 –

China lost more than half of their pork production because of deadly African Swine Fever. Then
our pork exports to China exploded. But now they are getting the disease under…

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This and That

August 20 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 going to target a number of timely issues today. But the one in the headlines is the almost
overnight collapse of the Afghan government. In the last 2 or 3 weeks the…

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Death Tax

August 12 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 read and hear about a $3.5 trillion anti-poverty and climate bill the Democratic leadership wants to pass. But we can’t afford to spend that much money. They say, “no problem.…

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Farming - A Challenge

August 5 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels 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 –

 Drought and wildfires are still taking a toll in the west. Some vegetable farms in California have not been able to get the moisture to raise their crops. They can’t get…

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