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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block,

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

Best Practices

Aug 29, 2008
Last week, I was in the “heartland,” on the farm in Illinois, walking in the corn fields, checking population and ear size. I was also in Western Iowa where the corn and soybeans could make a record yield.

I don’t know if the national projected yield increase will prove to be accurate or not, but it is clear that things look a lot better than they did a month or two ago.

There is no business that is more uncertain and risky than this business of farming. We are subjected to so many variables that are out of our control. We face draught, floods, disease, pests, and market swings every day.

With all of that in mind, I am always impressed with the resilience, creativity, and how progressive this industry really can be.

We’re going to raise a big crop and meet the demand in spite of the hazards we have faced.

A friend said to me, “Okay, so the corn on your farm is good. How about the pigs?” I said, “They are happy.” He questioned, “How do you know they are happy?” My answer, “You walk into a barn and the pigs all turn their heads and look at you and then go ‘boof boof’ and run around and play and come back and stare at you. They are happy.”

Farmers take good care of their animals. If they aren’t comfortable and, yes -- happy, they won’t gain and go to market on time. Healthy well-treated animals produce healthy products.

Farmers today are using the best practices in growing their crops and raising their livestock. The practices are science-based. We don’t need animal rights extremists to tell us how to raise our pigs or calves or chickens. Also, we need to continue to use all the new technologies in growing crops. That’s the only way to stay ahead of demand.

Hats off to the American farmer!

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.

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