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Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington


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 today’s commentary-

We have been wondering if our elected officials would ever pass legislation to fund our government to the end of this fiscal year, which is September 30th. After 5 months of short-term amounts of money provided to avoid closing our government, Congress passed a $1.5 trillion bill to carry us to September 30th.

Congressional appropriators should now get to work on the spending budget for the next fiscal year beginning October 1st. It’s no surprise that the public is not very happy with the performance of their elected representatives. The war between Russia and Ukraine is in the headlines. Men, women, and children killed every day. Cities are being bombed and destroyed. Supply chains are shut down. Food and energy are in short supply in many cities. Countries around the Black Sea depend on wheat, corn, and other farm products to feed their people. Turkey, Egypt, and many others are desperate. Wheat prices have gone up more than 60%. Just be aware Ukraine is a big producer of farm crops. I have been on their farms, ridden their combines harvesting. Will they get to plant this year’s corn or harvest their wheat? I pray for them.

I know trade issues are not in the spotlight right now but all of the tariffs that President Trump imposed on China have not been lifted by President Biden, but they are due to expire this July. We need to get to work on some serious negotiations with China. Lift the tariffs but get something in return.

I want to talk a little bit more about the Ukraine war. The whole world is very angry at Russia. The United Nations General Assembly voted 141 to 5 last week to condemn Russia. Only Cuba, Belarus, North Korea, and Syria stood up in support of Russia’s invasion. China did not vote. At the winter Olympics Chinese leaders Xi Jinping and Russian President Putin pledged “friendship and solidarity” – cooperative with no limits. I guess Putin needs a friend. He doesn’t have many. His destruction and war on an independent Ukraine are going to be very costly. Putin doesn’t want any other countries to join up with NATO. Well, there are some that would feel safer if they did have NATO protection. Independent Finland and Sweden stand firmly against Russia. More to talk about next week.

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The views expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not necessarily those of nor the Southern Farm Network.