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-

The corn and soybeans on my farm are growing tall and beautiful. And also important to note, without weeds. Today we use, and have for years, Roundup weed killer, a Bayer Ag product. The most important ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, and it is the most widely used herbicide in the world in growing corn, soybeans, and cotton.

There is serious concern in farm country because Roundup is under legal attack from thousands of U.S. plaintiffs alleging that it causes cancer. Residential consumers represent most of the claims against Bayer company. Very few farmers are complaining. We are cheering for Roundup. At this point Bayer has set aside $16 billion to settle cases. Our government regulators have taken the position that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. But that may not convince the courts. I put this issue on the table today because how it will be resolved is a major concern to the ag industry. Being able to control damaging weeds in our fields with an herbicide that works and is not too expensive is so important to our business and to our ability to produce and grow the food supply for the world.

Here is another challenge that we face – the explosion in the cost of energy. The cost of gasoline is $5 per gallon in most of the U.S. Our diesel farm fuel has doubled in cost. Our tractors, trucks and combines drink a lot of diesel fuel. It wasn’t long ago gasoline was around $2.00 per gallon. The U.S was energy independent.

What happened? Here is what happened – since taking office, President Biden has worked hard to drive up the price of fossil fuel and push us toward green energy. On his first day in office, he cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline and our leases in Alaska’s Wildlife Refuge. He then closed the door on new oil and gas leases on Federal lands and waters. With the explosion in the cost of energy, Biden has been trying to get Saudi Arabia to pump more gas and perhaps the U.S. could import oil from Venezuela. Now he is talking about a 3-month federal gas tax holiday. The damage has already been done. Here is what is next – your 4th of July cookout will cost 17% more this year.

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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.