This and That

August 29, 2019

August 29, 2019

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 have watched and rode the roller coaster of farm markets all of my life, but I have never witnessed the wild ups and downs that we are seeing every day now. Will the trade war with China get worse or will we reach an agreement? I guess we’ll just hold on and continue the ride. ProFarmer corn and soybean estimates suggest we won’t have as much surplus as the August 12 USDA reports. 

Some good news on Sunday – President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe announced that the U.S. and Japan had reached a preliminary deal to lower Japanese tariffs. Ag exports to Japan could increase by as much as $7 billion according to U.S. Trade Ambassador Lighthizer.

A subject that we hear so much about is hemp but there are so many unanswered questions. It is now legal in some states and not in others. A truckload of hemp worth $1.3 million produced in Oregon and headed for a market in Colorado was stopped and taken under Idaho government control. Industrial hemp looks just like marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are both illegal in Idaho. There are still a lot of legal gray areas that you might want to explore before jumping into the hemp business.

Now I want to put on the table for consideration something that is not just an ag issue. It affects all our people. If you live in Canada, you can buy prescription drugs for half the price that we pay in the U.S. That’s not fair. That’s unacceptable. U.S. citizens are driving across the border to buy drugs. Insulin, a drug for diabetics, costs 10 times as much in the U.S. as in Canada. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden have teamed up to pass a bill to fix the problem. Here are Senator Grassley’s words – “Everyone can agree that the price of many prescription drugs is too high. These skyrocketing costs hurt seniors, lower income earners, people with disabilities and all Americans.” The fact that the big drug companies sell their products to other countries so much cheaper than they sell to us makes no sense. Yes, we support free markets and don’t like price controls, but something must be done.

Hats off to the hard working blue collar workers this coming Labor Day!

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