New Day

February 4, 2021

February 4, 2021

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 –

We have a new President and a very closely divided House and Senate. Where are we going
from here? Today I will hit on some of the government decisions that will impact us.

To open I want to focus on 2 outstanding Members of Congress who retired last week. Pat Roberts served 40 years. When I came to Washington in 1981, I immediately learned to respect and rely on him for advice and assistance. All these years Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has stood up supporting agriculture and rural America. Now I don’t want to fail to recognize Congressman Collin Peterson from Minnesota. He has been in a leadership role on writing farm bills and chairing the House Ag Committee. For fun he has a country band. He can sing and pick his guitar with the best. A great guy – working across the aisle to get things done for agriculture. The ag industry has been blessed with some dedicated leaders. Now we have Tom Vilsack back for a second tour as US Secretary of Agriculture. Thank you to President Biden for choosing Tom Vilsack. He already has the respect of farmers and ranchers that he earned in his first 8 years as Secretary.

Now a few thoughts about what is going on in Congress and the White House. Democrats have
a $1.9 trillion Coronavirus relief bill while Republicans have offered a $618 billion bill. That’s
about one third as big as the Democrats’ bill. It is too soon to know where this is going but there
is need out there for some help. How much debt can we shoulder?
We have already doubled the money spent on food stamps. More people are needing the help
and the benefit level has been raised by 15%. The Biden Administration prioritizing climate
change may offer some opportunity for agriculture. Pork and dairy farmers can capture methane
from manure management systems and then sell that energy. We could cut greenhouse gas
emissions by 50% - just use ethanol instead of gasoline.

One action by this Administration that they seem to think would support their climate change efforts is a big mistake. They want to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. That will not protect the environment. That pipeline is supposed to transport oil from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska. It is not safer or less risky to truck it or send it by train. Oil spills by transport are a serious concern. Also shipping oil by pipeline instead of by truck or train reduces the carbon dioxide emissions by 60% according to the University of Alberta. In case you missed it, Tuesday this week was Groundhog Day. He didn’t see his shadow. That means we will have an early Spring. I can’t wait!

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