I remember when I took my first college news writing class back in the 1980s one of the first things the professor drilled into us was that news stories must have balance … full stop. For example, if one wrote a story about how humans contribute to climate change it was imperative that the reporter find people representing all sides of the issue … including “experts” who think human action has no impact on climate change … and maybe for good measure folk believing that climate change was a hoax. Balance. Well … having watched and reported on the climate change issue for decades I’ve come to some interesting conclusions. Most importantly for years Big Oil played journalists as suckers, weaponizing balance to spew and spin oil industry views.
The Food Marketing Institute is trying to conceal how taxpayer dollars are being spent by recipients of the Supplemental Food Assistance Program. To date it’s been an almost eight-year court battle between South Dakota’s Argus Leader newspaper and USDA and FMI.
When it comes to China rarely are things as they seem, there is no deal till there is a deal, and even after the ink dries China is fully capable of ignoring what they promised if it suits their national interests.
Breaking out major prognostic tools (including an 8-ball, Ouija board, paper fortune teller and dart board…yeah we’re high tech around here) here are some of the big agricultural issues on the horizon for 2019.
Many of my blog posts notwithstanding I root for big-agriculture. I want them to succeed. At heart, I am a pragmatist that realizes big ag must be part of any solution to feed the world’s growing population. But having said that there are specific things I believe big ag must do as part of its corporate identity.
Anyone who has followed California agricultural politics in recent years knows residents have a soft spot in their humane hearts for animals raised for production or slaughter. That’s baby cows, fowls, and sows y’all. California fired its first shot for humane treatment of farm animals way back in 2008 with the Humane Society led ballot initiative Proposition 2. California voters overwhelming passed Prop 2 63-to-36 percent banning confinement of egg-laying hens, calves raised for veal, and pregnant pigs. The initiative did not provide specific square-foot guidelines as to what constitutes confinement but rather required that animals needed to turn freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.
Generally speaking, pork barrel politics amounts to politicians trading favors to constituents or special interest groups for political support, often as campaign contributions. Pork barrel spending, better known as earmarks in federal spending bills, have surged in 2018. Who may be profiting this year? Smithfield Foods.