Crom’s Crommentary: Fog, Economics and Circumventing the Mainstream Media

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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Iowa Farmers Prepare for California’s Prop 12

Man in gray tee and blue jeans walking in a field with two hogs behind him

Hogs born Jan. 1, 2022, or later are subject to California’s Prop 12.

Some Iowa agricultural leaders have criticized the law, which prohibits the sale of pork from hogs that are the offspring of sows that were raised in pens with less than 24 square feet of usable floorspace per pig.

California accounts for about 15% of the U.S. pork market, the National Pork Producers Council said in a September news release. The NPPC is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine Prop 12’s constitutionality.

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Fertilizer Shortage Could Impact Crop Yields over the Next Year

Blue tractor in a field, fertilizing the land

Experts are warning that the dual energy and supply chain crises could serve to significantly disrupt global crop production, potentially disrupting food supplies for poorer consumers in particular.

Those ongoing crises are helping to temporarily decrease the global supply of fertilizer, a critical component in much of world agriculture and one that allows farmers to grow considerable quantities of crops in much of the world’s soils.

The fertilizer shortage is “impacting food prices all over the world and it hits the wallets of many people,” Yara International Director Svein Tore Holsether told the BBC this week.

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Biden Climate Pact Hobbles U.S. Manufacturing and Agriculture But Gives China, India, Russia a Pass

White smoke emitting from a couple of buildings

Some of the world’s top emitters of methane haven’t signed a global effort to curb how much of the greenhouse gas is emitted by 2030.

The three countries – China, Russia and India – that produce the most methane emissions in the world haven’t signed onto the pact, which has been spearheaded by the U.S. and European Union ahead of a major United Nations climate conference. The nations that have signed the agreement represent nearly 30% of global methane emissions, the State Department said Monday.

The U.S. and EU unveiled the Global Methane Pledge on Sept. 18, which they said would be key in the global fight against climate change. The U.K., Italy, Mexico and Argentina were among the seven other countries that immediately signed the agreement last month.

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U.S. Rep. Austin Scott Says Wage Disparities Across the Border Make It Hard for American Farmers to Compete

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA-08), who serves on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, shared his worries about cheap produce imports, the impact of cheaper labor costs in Mexico, and how this affects Georgia farmers. Committee members held a hearing entitled, “21st Century Food Systems: Controlled Environment Agriculture’s Role in Protecting Domestic Food Supply Chains and Infrastructure.”

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Commentary: One State Can Make a Difference

Farmer on a tractor, tilling field

Late last month, Montana ended its participation in the extended federal unemployment benefits program. No surprise this event was little noted in the national press, since Montana’s decision to exit the program had a direct effect on fewer than 20,000 people (the total unemployed population of Montana). Yet Montana’s decision had an enormous effect on the country as a whole.

Particularly for those inside the Beltway, it is easy to focus on Washington, D.C. as the only place where policymaking matters. And with an administration desperate to centralize power as it prints ever-growing piles of money with which it hopes to bribe or threaten states and localities, such an attitude is understandable. Recent developments in states like Montana far outside the beltway, however, show how national political innovations can be driven by states with smaller populations far from the beltway swamp and present conservatives with a path for political success. 

While elections in Montana often are driven by local and idiosyncratic issues as well as personal relationships (understandable in a state with some of America’s least populated state house and senate districts), Montana is and has long been a very red state. The only Democratic presidential candidate since 1948 to win a majority here was Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 landslide win over Barry Goldwater. It is much easier to convince and move 1 million people in Montana than 332 million Americans. And yet by moving 1 million Montanans (or 800,000 South Dakotans) or 1.8 million Idahoans, the Right can often exercise an outsized influence on the national debate. 

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Tennessee Farmer Wins Injunction Against USDA in Loan Forgiveness Dispute

Tractor in the middle of a field during golden hour

A federal judge in Tennessee has ruled in favor of a Tennessee farmer, granting an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its effort to grant federal loan forgiveness to only “non-whites.”

The Southeastern Legal Foundation and the Mountain States Legal Foundation joined to represent Union City farmer Robert Holman as he challenges a provision in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that allows for automatic loan forgiveness up to 120% of the federal loan for farmers or ranchers who are “socially disadvantaged,” which is defined as “Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic, or Asian, or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.”

The legal ruling estimated while there was not a cap on the amount of loans that could be granted, $3.8 billion had been allocated to the program and, without an injunction, those funds might be gone before the case is resolved.

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50,000 Arizona Cows to Power Vehicles, Heat Homes

Group of cows during the day

Two dairy farms in Arizona soon will be producing more than milk.

Renewable energy company Avolta has begun construction on a renewable gas project in Buckeye that will turn the tons of manure produced daily from the more than 25,000 Holstein dairy cows at Buttermilk farms into biogas.

The manure will be sealed underground and “digested” until methane can be created and extracted. The gas is processed and pumped into a nearby Southwest Gas pipeline, providing the farms with an additional revenue stream and keeping the methane gas out of the atmosphere. 

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Another Judge Temporarily Blocks Biden’s Debt Relief Program Exclusively for Farmers of Color

Silhouette of man on a tractor during golden hour

A federal judge in Florida temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s $4 billion debt relief program exclusively for farmers of color, saying in a Wednesday order that the program was racially discriminatory.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard sided with Scott Wynn, a Florida-based white farmer who sued to block the program in May. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) program was originally passed in March as part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, with the intention of providing relief to “socially disadvantaged farmers.”

“Section 1005’s rigid, categorical, race-based qualification for relief is the antithesis of flexibility,” Howard wrote. “The debt relief provision applies strictly on racial grounds irrespective of any other factor.”

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Tennessee State Rep. Rusty Grills Talks Legislating from His Counties in the ‘Front Porch of Heaven’ and Maintaining Freedom

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee State Rep. Rusty Grills of District 77 to the newsmakers line to discuss his background and legislating from the farm.

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American Inventor Series: Cyrus McCormick, the Man Who Freed America from Famine

Cyrus Hall McCormick was born in 1809 on his father’s rural farm tucked between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains in an America that was still developing “beyond the struggle for food.”

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