John R. Block Reports from Washington October 12, 2020 “Bad Year”

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

This year has been one for the record book, and it’s not over yet.  We were riding a wave of success when it started with the lowest unemployment in years – rising wages and the ag industry had an exciting trade deal with China.  Then along came the Coronavirus – killing millions of people all around the world.  No one can be certain of safety.  In the spring when the virus hit and devastated New York and California, rural America hoped it might miss us.  No way – it went to Texas and Florida and now the Midwest is the latest hot spot.  The Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin and spreading fast.  There is no escape.

Now – President Trump has the virus.  We are happy he seems to be recovering quickly.  We pray for all individuals and families that have had to deal with this.  It has been a major disruption of global trade.  Jobs have been lost.  Many of the world’s countries that used to be big customers of ours just don’t have the money to buy our export goods.  Our U.S. trade deficit hit a record high in August – $67 billion including services.  The deficit in goods – almost $84 billion.  China seems to be recovering faster than a lot of other countries.  The Washington Post writes: “Economies in Europe, Japan, Brazil and India all are projected to suffer deeper recessions this year than the U.S.  U.S. output is expected to drop 4% while Europe will experience a 7% decline.”  If we are going to recover from the virus recession, we will have to do it without much help from overseas.

Here is another challenge that we face here in the U.S. Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington.  Fires have burned more than 4 million acres.  We may have a shortage of California wine now.  Everyone is looking for who to blame.  Fires in the West are not new.  But they are worse this year.  It is warm.  Can we blame climate change?  But we are not going to fix climate change overnight.  We could, however, do a much better job of managing our forests. All the dead trees, wood, and leaves are just waiting for the first spark.  Stop worrying about the spotted owl.  Clean up our forests.  If we don’t, the owl will burn with everything else.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C.  If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to