Endangered Species

May 26 2005

For those of us in the business of farming, our highest priority is to produce a product and sell it -- at a profit. Otherwise we won't stay in business. We may be raising cattle or pigs, corn or rice, or whatever. But, we're never happy when some outside force starts stealing our livelihood.

The Endangered Species Act made it possible for preservation extremists -- mostly from the east to close down farming operations in the west to save the kangaroo rat. Yes -- to save a rat. To me the only…

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Corn is King

May 19 2005

Corn is king in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and many mid-western states and on thousands of farms. Last week, on our family farm in Illinois, I was inspired and excited to look down the rows of tiny corn plants spiking through the black soil. It's a new crop year -- new hopes and lots of uncertainty. The thrill of growing and producing something that you can see, touch and measure is one of the farming addictions that we can't escape.

Corn is such an important crop and the uses continue to expand.…

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May 12 2005

A lot of questions are debated in this town. And often the right side of the issue is not so obvious. Well, in the next few weeks, Congress will be debating and voting on approval of CAFTA, a trade agreement with the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. In this case -- at least from Agriculture's point-of-view, it is as Illinois Farm Bureau President, Phil Nelson, put it, "a no brainer."

According to Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, with an agreement "we are likely to…

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Mother’s Day

May 5 2005

Here I am, on the farm in Illinois. Just being here brings back memories of my mother. It happens to be Mother's Day weekend, but those fond memories come to mind whenever I stand in the yard in front of the wooden frame house where I grew up; whenever I look at a new born litter of baby pigs and whenever I walk the newly planted corn fields. You can just smell the special aroma of freshly worked soil.

I can 't help but recall all the noon meals that my mother cooked for hired men. How many…

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