var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-16049511-2']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + ''; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();

Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington

“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 today’s commentary-

I have been reading reports that our beef cow numbers on farms and ranches are in a steady decline. That should not be a big surprise given the fact that some of the states that produce the most calves are living with serious drought. That means they won’t have enough pasture and other feed for their cows. With good cattle prices they send the cows to market. Also, with high prices being paid for soybeans and wheat, just plow up that pastureland and plant it. When you go to the grocery store today, that beef steak looks pretty expensive. It’s only going to get more costly if we don’t have the mother cows to produce the baby calves that are our future source of beef.

Turn to trade – it is exciting to take note of the big purchases of soybeans and corn by China. China has our high prices on their shoulder. We love it. But it is time we began to work on expanding our base of markets. It is just safer to diversify our ag exports. Here is a positive export note: we are increasing exports of beef to Japan, corn and pork to Vietnam, and potatoes to Mexico.

Next – When it comes to green house gas emissions, our ag industry is doing a good job. EPA reports that we have cut emissions by 4% in 2019 – 2020. The ag industry represents just 10% of total U.S. emissions. “That is much lower than other economic sectors.”

Last subject – Russia’s war on Ukraine. That war has been raging for 3 months now. The death and destruction are in our papers and tv every day. Russia has lost 15,000 troops, 2,000 armored vehicles and 60 aircraft. I am sure Putin thought that it wouldn’t take more than a week to bring Ukraine down. That’s not what happened. This has become a brutal deadly war. Now we have Putin threatening to use nuclear weapons. They would be small, tactical weapons, but that action would open up to a much bigger war. I don’t predict this will happen, but I don’t think Putin will give up. That’s not his nature. He is a brutal dictator. Now if NATO and the U.S. are dedicated to preserving Ukraine’s independence, where is the middle ground to reach a compromise and end the war? Let’s hope it can be found.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to