June 18, 2020

June 18, 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 –

I will cover some issues of the day that may not have gotten much attention.

1. The U.S. and Russia have a long-range nuclear arms agreement that will expire next
February. The agreement was negotiated and went into effect 30 years ago. It is time to
renegotiate, and China will also be invited to come aboard. We will all be safer if there is
an absolute limit on nuclear war heads. Whatever we can do to increase cooperation and
reduce conflict will be good for mankind.

2. Still about National Security – President Trump shocked government officials in both
Germany and the U.S. when he announced that he would pull 9,500 of our Troops out of
Germany. We have more than 30,000 in Germany now. The European Union, and
especially Germany, need to do more to fund their defense. The NATO nations have
agreed to each spend 2% of their GDP for military defense. The U.S. is providing more
than 3%, but Germany, the richest of the European nations has not stepped up to the
plate. Some U.S. officials as well as German Chancellor Merkel do not agree with
President Trump. I give President Trump credit. European nations need to take
appropriate action to defend themselves. We will not bring all our 9,500 troops home.
Some will probably end up in Poland, which could provide better positioned strategic
defense against Russia. Once again, it is time to make some adjustments.

3. Last subject, Agriculture – The shock waves sent by the coronavirus epidemic have had a
devastating impact on our industry. On a personal note, we sold a trailer load of market
hogs (180 head) this week. We got about half as much money for them as we did for a
trailer load 1 year ago. The Food and Ag Policy Research Institute at the University of
Missouri expects farm income this year to drop $20 billion – roughly 9%. The National
Pork Producers Council say we will lose $37 per head and cow calf producers will lose
$112 per head. Goeff Cooper, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association reports that
“about 2/3 of our ethanol plants are either shut down or have greatly reduced
production.” That is not good for corn since 40% of corn is used to supply ethanol. The
dairy industry and fresh produce also are having a rough ride. We have been on these
rides before, but it is no fun.

Until next week, this 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