Food Safety

November 13, 2001

November 13, 2001

Things are happening on the farm and food front. A furious and confusing farm bill debate rages in the Senate. A completed bill for the President to sign still seems unlikely this year. When will Congress complete the appropriations bill for the President to sign? That is one thing they have to finish before adjourning. I think they'll still be here working into December.

Trade promotion authority according to House Speaker Denny Hastert is coming to a vote. We have an ongoing debate about what we should do about food security. My opinion is that we are already doing a lot to insure the safety of our food, but there aren't enough guards or money to protect against every possible risk. This country would be turned into an armed camp. We'd be in a security straight jacket. Nothing would get done and the economy would collapse. Let's not overdo the terrorist threat.

I almost forgot about an energy bill that surely will have an ethanol title. We have our hands full -- a farm bill debate, trade promotion authority, food security, ethanol and a war in Afghanistan with the U. S. delivering tons of food.

With all of that, the White House decided they needed some help on the farm front and last week appointed Chuck Conner to serve as special assistant to the president for agriculture and trade policy. Chuck has had a wealth of experience, having served Senator Lugar of Indiana and the Senate Ag Committee for several years.

This abrupt decision by President Bush suggests us two things. 1. There is a lot going on related to agriculture and the political implications are big. 2. The President wanted someone in the White House at his side. It wasn't good enough to just look to the Secretary ofAgriculture for help.

We may have our harvest done at the farm but the work is nowhere near done out here. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving. Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.