Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives.


On Sept. 8, the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry held an audit hearing to examine U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dairy programs. This is the 10th hearing in the series on farm policy that is designed to provide oversight of current spending to ensure programs are delivered effectively.

Current dairy programs include the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP), Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Program, Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP), Livestock Gross Margin Insurance for Dairy (LGM-Dairy), and Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMOs).

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Editor’s note: The author submitted this opinion piece after original publication in Farm and Dairy and subsequent compliments for “sticking out” his neck.

All-natural eggs. Naturally raised chickens. Natural tofu. If “natural” is so good, then why doesn’t Ford claim a natural pickup, or Apple an all-natural iPhone?

Maybe it’s because there is nothing natural about a Ford pickup or an iPhone; yet they are amongst some of the best things ever made for humankind (although some Chevy owners might disagree with the Ford pickup claim … ).

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I am sitting in a large conference room in Arlington, Virginia. There are about 75 of us from four agencies and organizations. The State Department, the Defense Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and then a collection of non-government organizations, the U.S. Agency for International Development and contractors.

Our task is to examine the current status of water and land resources in Africa and the potential for greater food insecurity – a big job. In this article, I will summarize what we have learned and what we might do in the short term and long term.

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In the last weeks of July 2011, the highest levels of government provided Americans a high-stakes political battle over raising the national debt limit. The current debt at $14.5 trillion was not high enough. To cover annual trillion-dollar deficits, the White House wanted another couple of trillion.

Some in Congress said, “Sure.” Others said, “Not so fast.” And still others simply said, “No!” The White House battled Congress, the House battled the Senate, Republicans battled Democrats, the White House battled Republicans, and Republicans battled Republicans.

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Let’s say you were granted three wishes ... would you use one of them on ‘world peace’?

If somehow I was given three wishes, I think I’d use my first one to obtain a million more wishes. And then I guess the idealist in me would say ‘Yes’ to world peace. But as it turns out, I’m afraid I’m stuck being a realist. Now don’t get me wrong, I would still love to live in a land where there’s world peace.

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As I enter my second year here in Washington, D.C., the topic of training arrived in my inbox. As Department of State Civilian Response Corps active members, we are required to complete eight weeks of training each year, so I glance at the schedule and list of courses.

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