Is US agriculture too big?

On Friday, March 12, there was a joint USDA – US Department of Justice workshop on market concentration issues at Ankeny, Iowa. This workshop was the first of 4 planned workshops to be held in various regions of the US. The majority of this workshop focused on crop production issues, specifically patent protection of seed traits and genetically modified seed traits. I read recently that Monsanto now has a say in over 85% of all soybean seed sales and something over 50% of all US seed corn sales because of its patent on Roundup resistance.  Read More...

Producer optimism

This week I was a speaker at the Iowa regional swine seminars sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producer Association and Iowa State University. While the industry still is reeling from the loss in equity the past 2 years, at every meeting site there was some optimism that the worst of the bleeding may be over for now. Read More...

Ice storms and the Dufus Factor

At every meeting where I talk about the ‘Dufus Factor’ I ask for a show of hands of who in the audience has been involved in removal of dead pigs from a production facility following a power outage. I have yet to do a meeting where no hands have been raised. This suggests that as an industry we don’t pay enough attention to our power outage safety equipment at production sites. Read More...