John R. Block Reports from Washington September 5, 2019 “This + That”

           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 –

China is in the headlines every week.  We can’t escape.  Did you know that in China this is the year of the pig?  Every year is the year of some animal but how crazy is it that African Swine Fever has devastated the Chinese pork industry during the official year of the pig?  China is by far the worlds largest pork consumer.  But recent reports suggest that half of China’s pigs have died or been slaughtered.  Think about it this way: if you were a pig farmer and your neighbor pig farmers became infected with swine fever what would you do?  You would rush to send your pigs to market – get the money before they get the disease.  That’s what many farmers have done.  There is no easy solution.

The Chinese farmers are not even close to being able to feed that country’s 3.3 billion people.  They are going to be hungry – very hungry for imported meat.  World meat prices should be strong even with a trade war.  That’s enough on China.

We have a new report on marijuana that should be frightening to a lot of people.  With the rapid expansion of marijuana sales both for recreation and medical use, now the Surgeon General has released a new advisory.  Marijuana will damage the brain.  “Pregnant women and young people can experience damaging effects on the developing brain.”  Also keep in mind that newer strains of marijuana are increasingly more potent and dangerous.

Last subject – the food and Ag industry have hundreds of trade associations and organizations with the responsibility to represent their industry in Washington, DC and abroad.  I’m sure you are aware, but we have some new companies that want to produce meat.  I’m not talking about hog barns of pigs or cattle feed lots.  I’m talking about growing animal cells in a factory situation.  They might end up with chicken or beef burgers.  At this point they call it cell – based or cultured meat.  They don’t have anything on the market yet, but they have their own trade association, the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation.  They must be serious.  My pigs on my farm will not be happy with that fake meat.  Neither will I.

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 www.johnblockreports.com.