The State of Agriculture

February 29 2000

What's hot and what's not? That's a good questions. Look at the stock market as a barometer of the nation's economic health and you would have to conclude that we have a mixed bag. Although mostly on the positive side of the ledger. The old line blue chip stand-by stocks are the ones struggling.

Almost all of the food companies -- so basic to our lives -- are languishing at the bottom of the barrel. Take a look. There is IBP, ADM, Kellogg, Philip Morris, John Deere, Ag Co. Up and down the…

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Lunch with Tom Ewing

February 10 2000

I found myself next to Tom Ewing, Congressman on the House Ag Committee from Illinois, at a lunch last week. Congressman Ewing gave us his thoughts on the hot issues of the day and where we may be headed. Since he has announced his retirement plans for next fall, this makes it even easier for him to be very direct and candid. His view: After so much criticism of the Freedom to Farm bill, the Clinton administration presented their Supplemental Income Assurance Program. What a disappointment!…


Frito Lay

February 8 2000

I never thought of Frito com chips as Frankenstein food. Is Frito-Lay, the maker of the top 10 U.S. snacks telling me that there is something wrong with my Doritos? Surely if I wash them down with a little tequila it will be alright!

Why would Frito-Lay jump on the Greenpeace bandwagon? I guess I understood when Heinz and Gerber said they wouldn't use genetically modified products in their baby food.

This action by Frito-Lay is a giant over reaction. The public is not concerned by…


Farm Economy 2000

February 1 2000

The farm economy appears to be turning around ever so slightly. Farm land values have held up very nicely in the face of low farm prices keeping the U.S. farm balance sheet reasonably sound. The Asian economies are gaining strength which should help boost prices of certain select commodities. Can we put on a happy face? We want to.

Yet I just finished reading the speech that Keith Collins, USDA's Chief Economist, gave to the American farm Bureau Convention. He calls them the way he sees…