Opinion: White House ag bailout will not spell relief

One hardly knows where to begin commenting on USDA’s $12 billion farm aid package designed to help farmers and ranchers financially blindsided by the POTUS’s trade war with China. The Market Facilitation Program is complicated but here are the highlights:

MFP includes $4.77 billion in direct payments to farmers.  Soybean farmers get the lion share – $3.6 billion.  On the other hand, the total allotted to corn farmers is $95 million. Pork producers fair little better at just over $290 million. Beef producers get zero. Soybean farmers will receive $1.65 a bushel, wheat producers 14-cents a bushel and corn farmers 1-cent a bushel on half of their production.  Hog farmers get $8 a pig.  For row crops, the money will not be paid till after harvest.  And oh yeah, it’s capped at a maximum of $125,000 a farmer.

Opinion: Will Bayer rue Monsanto purchase?

Ironically I was on some R-and-R in St. Louis, headquarters to Monsanto, when a California jury dropped the mother of all H-bombs on Bayer’s newest acquisition:  Monsanto’s flagship weed killer Roundup contributed to high school groundsman Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Put bluntly the jury ruled Roundup causes cancer and it awarded terminally-ill Johnson $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.  Yup $289 million total. Bayer, which purchased Monsanto just two months ago, has taken a massive financial hit, losing more than 10 percent of share value. So how did Monsanto and Bayer lose?

Opinion: Obscure John Deere lawsuit has big implications

If you are like most Americans, you probably don’t think too much about where your food comes from beyond the local grocery store. So a little education:  cereal doesn’t come from boxes, eggs and milk don’t come from cartons, meat doesn’t come from a Styrofoam tray and veggies don’t come from cans and plastic bags. It’s the U.S. farmer that keeps our stomachs filled. So as a nation we should be certainly downright concerned to know that people are not rushing into the occupation and those currently playing in the dirt are long in the tooth.  Very long. Next February USDA’s new Census of Agriculture will be released and I’d be shocked if the average age of farmers didn’t go up since the 2012 census.

Opinion: Lab cultured meat debate just getting warmed up

You probably have never heard of the start-up company Memphis Meats.  

Based on its name you likely figure it is based in Memphis,Tennessee and its stock and trade is meat.  

You would certainly be wrong on location – it calls San Leandro, California home.  And as to the meat … well that is yet to be determined.  

Memphis Meats is in a technology race with Israeli company Aleph Farms and others to grow what it calls “clean” meat for human consumption in a laboratory from animal cells sooner rather than later.

Opinion: Are the U.S. chicken and pork industries rigged?

Have you ever wondered why all the gasoline stations in your neighborhood more often than not are selling fuel at the exact same price? A few summers ago I was traveling through Michigan when I needed gas.  I pulled into a Mom-and-Pop and filled up for $1.91 a gallon which I thought was a good price given a few stations I passed with gas over two bucks. As I went inside to pay I overheard this conversation on the phone from what turned out was the station owner:

“… well Shell was one-ninety-one yesterday … same at BP …