Opinion: Election security paramount to democracy

At Big Ag Watch, blogging about the interrelationships between our nation’s largest agricultural companies, the administrative and legislative branches of the federal government, the courts, agricultural advocacy groups and producers is a core mission. Especially as those relationships inform our understanding of agricultural policy and law. Make no mistake about it.  It is our elected government officials, and if necessary the courts, that ultimately determine how our nation grows and distributes food. Let’s say it again.

Opinion: Will courts redefine CAFO operations?

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations have been around a long, long, long time. Ironically the CAFO may own its invention to a shipping mistake. Back in 1923, Ocean View, Sussex County, Delaware, red-haired farmer’s wife Cecile Long Steele needed 50 chicks for egg production.  She ordered the birds from Vernon Steen’s Dagboro hatchery. Well, there must had been something wrong with Steen’s eyes because he sent Cecile not 50 but 500 chicks. Instead of sending the birds back Cecile built a shed and raised the chicks indoors, eventually selling 387 birds that survived conditions in the coop for 62 cents a pound.

Opinion: New trade agreement deal a loss for U.S. agriculture

Conventional wisdom from some pundits when the POTUS followed through on his campaign promise to withdraw from Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations was that the deal would die without U.S. leadership. Well, not only did the deal NOT die, but a new deal – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) –  was inked last month by the remaining nations:   Brunei, Chile, Australia, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam. The 11 nations together account for about 15 percent of global trade. When I heard of the signing, the 1977 Fleetwood Mac mega hit “Go Your Own Way” came quickly to mind:
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it
Another lonely day
You can go your own way
Go your own way
Because it’s clear that Asia-Pacific nations sent U.S. trade negotiators the message that they are willing and able to step in and fill the America trade void. Let’s pull no punches here.  As the U.S. withdraws from what is becoming a world-wide multilateral trading system in favor of defensive bilateral trade agreements of relatively low ambition and scope, U.S. agricultural interests will suffer.

Opinion: Monsanto faces court reckoning on ghostwriting scheme

Later this year – June 18 to be specific – the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco will hear evidence on whether Monsanto hired and paid supposedly neutral mouthpieces under the table to present false or biased information to the public on the safety of its Roundup chemical glyphosate. On the surface, written evidence unsealed by the court is damning. A minority report prepared for members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released in February is especially enlightening in laying out the case for accusers. The scheme is tangled and complicated, but here is the rough outline. Create or find a front-group with a creditable sounding name from which academics could write pieces attacking opponents of the chemical industry and its products.

Opinion: U.S. agriculture will be big loser in the steel-aluminum trade dispute

The POTUS says he is prepared to start a trade war with the world over U.S. steel and aluminum, imposing tariffs of 25 percent on foreign steel and 10 percent on foreign aluminum.

The White House is citing national security concerns for the tariffs.

But I’m here to tell you that if the tariffs come to fruition it will be U.S. agriculture that will suffer.  Bigly.