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Former Ag Secretary John Block –

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

We just celebrated Thanksgiving. I know some of our citizens might have wondered if the good outweighs the bad. We have 8% unemployment. We suffered the worst drought in decades. Our economy is sputtering. All we hear about is the “fiscal cliff” that we are marching toward. If we fail to deal with our 16 trillion dollar debt problem, if we fail to raise taxes, if we fail to cut entitlement programs, we are doomed.

The Middle East is smoldering, ready to explode – Israel and Hamas at each other’s throats. Iran on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon. Europe is falling back into recession. People are starving in Africa. There is a lot of bad out there.

But, let’s be realistic. We’re not hungry here in the U.S. We just had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s Thanksgiving message reminds us. Here is what he said: “How blessed we are to have a strong, vibrant rural America. Our farmers, ranchers and growers are the most productive on earth. The ag industry supports 1 in 12 U.S. jobs. American families pay less for their food than the people of any other developed country.”

I would add that, if everything in the U.S. is so bad, why are individuals from other countries beating down the door to come to the U.S., either legal or illegal?

Chinese are sending record numbers of students to the U.S. to attend our colleges and universities. The world still looks to us for leadership. We have reason to be thankful.

That isn’t to ignore the fact that we have some fringe groups that would like to spoil the fun and dictate to us.

Exhibit number one – the Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution establishing “Meatless Monday.” It is a good thing that Thanksgiving never falls on Monday. Take away the meat and Thanksgiving would not be the same.

Exhibit number two – PETA ran an ad in Orlando, Florida featuring a beautiful turkey with the head of a cute little puppy. The ad read: “Kids: If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? Go vegan.”

Oh well – what can I say? Let’s have a positive attitude as we approach the Christmas holidays.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.