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 face some serious global challenges. The human population has doubled in the last 50 years to 8 billion. We will need productive farmland to increase food production and forest land to get the wood to build houses. Demand for land has pushed land prices to a record level. In the state of Illinois, foreign companies and individuals have bought 519 thousand acres. That land cost more than $4 billion. Foreign investors, including China, want our farmland.

Texas Republican Louie Gohmert is pushing legislation to protect our U.S. land. When farmland is sold to a foreign buyer, it steals it away from one of our farm families that might have wanted it. That is just one serious challenge that we need to deal with. Another challenge is hard to even imagine. Militant vegan activists are calling for “scare pollution” policies. The USA is not the only country with a serious challenge. The Netherlands wants to restrict the amount of animal manure Dutch farmers can spread on their land. The objective is to cut nitrogen emissions in half by 2030.

Also, other countries are supporting organic farming. We can not feed the world if we refuse to use new technology to increase yield. Maybe we have not thought about it, but if climate change moves ahead, we are expected to lose more than 4 million acres by 2050 as the ocean water rises and it floods our land. Focus on the state of Louisiana – they are projected to lose 2.5 million acres. That would amount to 8.7% of Louisiana land. The U.S. is just one country. The whole world needs to use common sense as we move ahead to navigate the global challenges on our horizon.

Back to the farm. We have started harvesting corn. Maybe soybeans next week. My hogs are happy. They don’t have African Swine Fever. So far, the U.S. has been able to keep our country free of that deadly disease. A lot of poultry farms have been hit with bird flu. Beef cow slaughter is 16% higher than last year. We have a weather problem called drought. The result is herd liquidation because ranchers don’t have enough food for their cows. That’s enough challenges for today. Have a safe harvest.    

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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.