By Nate Birt
Three Faces You Should Know: Ag Policy Edition
Many people in Washington, D.C., make decisions that influence life for top farm operators. Here are three important names you should care about—and how to contact them.
“The changes OSHA has made will be difficult, if not impossible, for the companies to implement within the six months provided for in the guidance and will yield little, if any, safety benefits. Further, they will cost these [fertilizer] retailers tens of thousands of dollars per site–a cost that will ultimately be passed on to the farmers, the family farms that they serve.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who recently pressed the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management about new OSHA guidance that heightens restrictions on how retailers store anhydrous ammonia
Phone: (202) 224-3254
“We need a forward-looking agriculture policy that is both fiscally responsible with hard-working American taxpayers’ money and accountable to our country’s need to level the playing field for American agricultural products in the global marketplace.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., a farm kid and U.S. House Speaker frontrunner who unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy
Phone: (202) 225-2915
“In light of the heightened uncertainties abroad and a slightly softer expected path for inflation, the Committee judged it appropriate to wait for more evidence, including some further improvement in the labor market, to bolster its confidence that inflation will rise to 2% in the medium-term.”
Chair Janet Yellen of the Federal Reserve, whose Federal Open Market Committee decided to keep interest rates in place and left farmers wondering when an increase will occur
Phone: (888) 851-1920
By John Phipps
Why the American Electorate Defies Expectations Consistently
Economist Bryan Caplan meticulously explains why we are often baffled by political choices made in democracies. Written in 2007, this work remains one of the best guides to understanding why voters confound pundits, choosing policy and candidates that are not in their self-interest.
For instance, pessimism about the direction the country is heading is a bias, present in good times and bad. Similarly, we underestimate the market’s ability to work efficiently, and we carry unreasoned prejudice against even long-time allies such as Canada. His list of logic-thwarting instincts is timely as the 2016 campaign defies expectations.
Caplan argues people are rational only when the costs and benefits impact them directly. Bad decisions hurt you economically, socially and emotionally. Since one vote makes no difference in electoral outcomes, it is virtually costless for us to hold irrational political beliefs. The complexity of modern politics makes careful analysis hard work.
Those flummoxed by the American polity will find this book illuminating but not particularly comforting.
Winter Education For Managers and Leaders
Farm Journal Legacy Conference
When: Nov. 17-18
Executive Women in Agriculture
When: Dec. 3-4
Top Producer Seminar
When: Jan. 27-29, 2016
TPEN Signature Event (open to members only)
When: Feb. 8-10, 2016
Where: St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Recommended App: Politico
For breaking news about the 2016 presidential election, activity in Congress or landmark Supreme Court decisions, few apps rival Politico. The news app is free and features a mix of short news updates as well as long-form articles that can be picked up and put down at the reader’s discretion. Be sure to enable push notifications—unlike some apps, Politico mobile breaking news updates are a paragraph long, providing context that’s often difficult to squeeze into a text message. The news company even has a specialized ag publication, so policy updates affecting farmers are routine. Download the app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
By the Numbers: Iowa Farmers and the Election
53% say it’s too early to determine whether their mind is made up on a 2016 presidential candidate
64% plan to vote for a Republican presidential candidate
12% intend to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate