Pork Under Attack

October 29, 2015

October 29, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. 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 was on the farm last week. Harvest is all wrapped up. Yields were not a record but good – corn 213 bushels per acre and soybeans 72 bushels per acre. Now, everyone up and down the road is starting to apply the fertilizer for next year’s crop. You are never really finished. Bring in the crop – sell some of it, maybe a lot – to help pay for next year’s inputs. Hope the price will move up.

Our hogs are happy and healthy and that brings me to an issue that shocked me. Three weeks ago, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said no more pork would be served. 206,000 inmates would be denied “the other white meat.” Why? The Bureau of Prisons said they had banned pork because inmates didn’t like it. However, when Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley demanded they give him the evidence to back up their position, they were embarrassed to acknowledge that their survey results show that the majority of inmates like pork.

Newton Kendig, Assistant Director of the Bureau of Prisons Health Services sent a letter to Senator Grassley noting “This re-evaluation led us to the conclusion that the decision to remove pork roast was an error.” So – pork is back on the menu.

As the Washington Post points out, “The Bureau of Prisons unwittingly set off a tempest in crossing Grassley. He is Chairman of the Committee that oversees the federal prison system, but also represents the country’s largest pork producing state.” Senator Grassley pointed out that 1 out of every 3 pigs in the U.S. lives in Iowa. Good job, Senator -- that’s the way to represent farmers and your state!

I watched the Republican Presidential debate this week. It was good. No thanks to the moderators. They asked dumb questions trying to start a fight. Our huge national debt, tax reform, over-regulation, and big dysfunctional government – those were the targets that the candidates hit on.

Back to pork – our industry is never safe. Now the United Nations World Health Organization has a new dietary report suggesting that bacon and sausage and burgers may not be good for you. Maybe next week we can talk about this new assault on meat.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.