Just when I think there's no theme to the random stories that have caught my eye this week, it turns right up: they're all about wading through…stuff. Political appointees, election year promises, boot companies and fundraising, HSUS and their lies, biotechnology and the folks who oppose it, Russia and its sad policies. And of course, harvest, where we'll hopefully be wading through a 14-billion-bushel corn crop. We can only hope.
Without further ado, here are five links to catch you up on the week in food and agriculture.
1. Why Not the Best? Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for Illinois governor, gave a press conference last week at the Lincoln, Ill., farm of Richard Martin, one of our Master Farmers from a few years back. I had a conflict and wasn't able to attend, but I understand he said positive things about restoring some professional agricultural experience to the office of Illinois Director of Agriculture. This week, the Champaign News-Gazette published this editorial. My favorite line: "Illinois is virtually a failed state, and one reason for that is the extent to which our elected and appointed officials have made short-term, politically expedient decisions that have had disastrous long-term consequences." Just like that, shots have officially been fired.
2. Russia Retaliates on U.S. Sanctions with Ag Import Ban: In a move widely criticized as more likely to hurt Russia than its trade partners, Putin issued an executive order this week to eliminate imports of agricultural goods from several countries, including the U.S. What does it all mean? Check out this Pam Jahnke interview with our very smart market analyst, Bryce Knorr. They talk about the recent Farm Futures survey and next week's USDA crop report, too. 14 BILLION bushels…
3. Ebola Drug Made From Tobacco Plant Saves U.S. Aid Workers: This Bloomberg Businessweek piece gives a good look at the decisions made to bring American ebola patients back to the U.S., and it talks about the drug that saved them and how it was produced. To be clear, this involved genetic modification. We're not calling it that out loud, but it is. Might this be the good news, consumer-benefit-oriented story biotechnology has been waiting on?
4. Into the Muck (Boots): If you've been anywhere near social media this week, you've surely heard that a little boot company made a big social media error and may or may not have given money to an extremist animal rights organization. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out Ryan Goodman's timeline of events. Then, check out the link above. Emily Meredith of Animal Agriculture Alliance offers up a thoughtful commentary on the website of our sister publication, Feedstuffs, wondering what might have come from thoughtful diplomacy rather than pitchforked outrage in this situation.
5. 2014 Predicted Harvest: Burrus agronomist Matt Montgomery put together a set of corn yield moisture predictions, based on accumulated growing degree days. It covers areas in their territories, breaking down various sections of Illinois and Missouri. Let's just say, we hope he's right.