Challenges We Face

May 27, 2020

May 27, 2020

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 Coronavirus came out of nowhere and has crippled the world economy, killing
thousands and thousands of people. The virus is not through yet either. Look at Brazil.
President Trump just shut off travel from Brazil to the US. As our new cases have declined,
things are getting better here. Our economy is starting to open up. We can’t stay locked down.
China is where the virus originated. Loud voices screaming from both parties to see who can be
tougher on China. China allowed the virus to spread all over the world and now they plan to put
a heavy hand on Hong Kong. Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden says President
Trump is too soft on China. What should the US response be? Will President Trump abandon
the “Phase One” China trade deal? Let’s hope not. China has committed to buy $80 billion of
ag products. President Trump negotiated a good deal for the US and especially agriculture. He
made progress on protecting our intellectual property.

Turn to the UK – Prime Minister Johnson wants a comprehensive trade deal with the US
and he wants it done soon. We are ready but the fact that the UK has not finalized a trade deal in
their separation from the European Union may be a problem. Speaking of the EU, they have
adopted some sweeping goals for their agriculture industry that to me are shocking. They want
to transform how Europeans farm and what they eat. They want 25% of their food production to
be organic. They want to dramatically reduce the chemicals used in farming by 50%. Fertilizer
is to be cut by 20%. If they don’t use some chemicals to kill the weeds, they will need a lot more
labor to hoe the crops. They don’t use biotechnology now to keep the corn borer and root worms
at bay. That’s one reason why they use more pesticides than we do. Their goal is to reduce
carbon emissions and improve water quality. That’s good. But here is what will happen. They
will produce less food.

We all know that organic farming delivers less food. If the farmers of the world don’t
accept and utilize new technology, yields could be 30% less. Who is going to starve? Of course,
the world could cut down more forest land in order to produce enough food. I don’t think the EU
plan makes much sense.

Until next week, this is John Block reporting from Washington, D.C. If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to