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Commentary: John R. Block Reports from Washington

“Russia’s War”

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 war between Russia and Ukraine is a threat to the whole world. There was a sigh of relief this August after the United Nations and Turkey were able to negotiate a deal for Russia to drop its naval blockade of the Black Sea. That blockade had shut the door on Ukrainian exports. In August Ukraine, the world’s fourth largest corn exporter was back in business shipping 25.5 million bushels of corn.

But just this Sunday Russia reinstated their blockade. Hungry people in the Middle East and Asia are dependent on that corn. We could be facing rising food prices and a global hunger crisis. The United Nations and Turkey are working to find a way to reopen the shipping lanes. We don’t know what will happen.

Now I want to hit on some other issues. Next week will be a very important midterm election. At this point in time the Democratic Party has the power with President Biden and leadership in the House of Representatives. The Senate is divided 50 to 50. The polls tell us that Republicans are expected to take the lead in the House and the Senate polls are not sure who will win. There is a good chance Republicans will end up in the driver’s seat. That would be a big change over the next two years. We need to write a new farm bill next year. They may not get it done, so they could just extend the current bill for another year or two. When the new Congress goes to work on legislation, I hope they will make some changes.

I remember when President Reagan came to town. He said the government spends too much money. We have a “bloated welfare state.” All that money fuels inflation. We had inflation then and we have that same problem today. Think about the $420 billion that President Biden plans to spend on student loan forgiveness. USDA forecasts food inflation this year to be up 10 or 11 percent. Next year’s forecast is to keep going up another 2 or 3 percent. With Thanksgiving a month away that turkey will be expensive.

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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.