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Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington

“Bird Flu & More”

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-

I’m going to cover some different issues today. As we all know the war in Ukraine dominates all the news. But if you were in the poultry industry, you would be very concerned about bird flu. Bird flu is deadly, and you don’t want it on your chicken farm. A Fulton County flock of 240,000 chickens had to be destroyed. Seven million chickens and turkeys in 13 states have been killed this year. Disposal of the infected flock is the only way to stop the spread.

Bird flu is being spread by migrating birds that fly north and south. Canada reports cases of bird flu. This influenza is not something to ignore. It raises my concerns about African Swine Fever. That started in China. China had to dispose of almost half of their hogs. That deadly disease is on islands in the Caribbean not far from the U.S. If it gets here that could be devastating.

Another subject – I graduated from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. I am reading about six young cadets on their spring break. They went to Florida to celebrate. And they got some drugs- they tried them. The drug was cocaine laced with fentanyl. Two of the cadets almost died. I don’t think we are doing enough to shut the door on fentanyl. Drug overdoses are killing more than 100,000 of our people every year. There are more people dying from drugs than in car accidents.

Fentanyl is up to 50 times as strong as heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. I don’t know any thing about these drugs, but it’s time to raise the red flag. Reports that I see tell us that a lot of fentanyl is coming from China. How does it get into our country? Well, one path is across our open Southern border. The smuggling cartels can make a lot of money bringing it in, and then we pay the price. 

I’m thinking about planting season- only about a month away. We’re not ready for it yet, but John Deere has a new fully autonomous tractor ready to till your fields. Hard for me to imagine. No one even riding in the tractor seat. When I grew up, we had 2 old horses pulling our corn planter.

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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.