Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington

“Food Supply”

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-

This week like almost every other week we have a host of difficult challenges facing us. Countries all over the world are experiencing an explosion in food costs. There is hunger and even famine in some regions. With Russia blocking Ukrainian wheat, we face more suffering. In some cases, Russian troops set fire to the ready-to-harvest wheat fields – burned them to the ground.

Another decision in Europe is hard to believe. Dutch farmers are furious because their government is going to limit the amount of nitrogen their farmers can use. Their government wants to limit production. Do they really think that will help to stop climate change? What about their 1.5 million dairy cows? The Netherlands is the EU’s largest exporter of meat. According to Bloomberg journalist Kit Knightly, “The Dutch plan will reduce the number of pigs, chickens, and cows by about 30%.”

Organic food production gets a lot of support across the EU. Even in our own country President Biden wants USDA to spend $300 million to help organic farming. Organic farming will reduce production by one-third or one-half. How many people in the world will starve if we go down this road?

I would also add that I thought we wanted to bring down inflation. Well, with a shorter supply of food we can expect higher prices and more inflation. The hungry people in the world are not going to accept government limitations on food production. The corn and beans on my farm are genetically modified. Our yields have tripled since I was a boy. We eat GE foods all the time. They are safe and are good for the environment because they allow us to grow more food on less land.

The time has arrived to start growing GE wheat. That could help lift wheat yields as we have seen in corn and soybeans. GE technology will protect my wheat from weeds, pests, and disease. The world needs to welcome new technology in producing food as we do in making airplanes, the Internet, and everything else.

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