Opinion: Beware shrinking federal agriculture research and development expenditures

Wonk (noun) : Definition of wonk: a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field broadly: nerd – a policy wonk or a computer wonk  – Merrian-WebsterOkay.  I’m wonkish.  It’s my responsibility to sweat the small stuff agriculturally speaking that might someday become a thing. (Although I won’t admit to the British take on wonk which ironically is far less flattering. While I am wonkish , I am not wonky.All that being said there’s a trend I’ve been aware of for the past few years that’s a little disturbing.What if I told you that the federal government over the next decade might might become less effective in helping to reduce:• Water and fertilizer use;

• The need for fungicides and pesticides in plant and food production;

• The incidence of foodborne illnesses.Not to mention an inability to increase the availability of new plant varieties and animal products to deliver food with enhanced nutrient content.

Opinion: Time to end the Standard Time insanity

If I could I’d hop into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback (WABAC “patent pending”) Machine. “Sherman set the WABAC for the turn of the 20th century.  There are two guys I’d like to slap with a wet lasagna noodle”

One of the guys is New Zealander George Hudson, who liked to spend his spare time playing golf. The other guy is Englishman William Willet, who’s fun time passion was collecting bugs.  By now you got to be wondering what’s my beef with these two guys and what could they possibly have in common.

Opinion: U.S. trade shouldn’t be just about the Benjamins

I’ve watched with interest the twists and turns of the U.S.-China trade war. Reportedly, the two nations have made significant progress in sketching out a series of memorandums of understanding on forced technology transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade. At the core all these issues have one thing in common – money.  In a nutshell: How will the China U.S. trade pie and associated issues be financially sliced and diced? That’s fine as far as it goes, but making U.S. trade with China about the Benjamins is a massively lost opportunity to deal with the nuclear threat that is North Korea.

Opinion: Missouri’s meat law panders to beef industry

I think tofu (curdled soy milk) is delicious.  Tofu is a foodies’ blank canvas, a vehicle for other ingredients and bold flavors, that create healthy, creative meals.  And it can serve as a tremendous meat substitute.   

And that’s where Missouri is drawing a line in the sand.  Missouri has become the first state in the nation to make it a crime for food manufacturers to label their products as “meat” if “not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Violators face fines up to $1,000 and a year in state slammer.

Opinion: California Prop 12 could reshape nation’s commerce of eggs, veal and pork

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.