World Perspectives

Recent Macroeconomics Analysis

Middle Kingdom Approach; Friday Snippets

Middle Kingdom Approach U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken articulated the Biden Administration’s policy toward China in a highly nuanced fashion. The key point is that the U.S. does not envision a new Cold War, but rather welcomes competition and wants to mold China into following th...

Bark Worse than Bite; Unprotecting Plants; ESG Slowly Joining Carbon

Bark Worse than Bite The Biden Administration has proposed new rules for poultry companies to be more transparent with growers about the number of chicks they will grow including a minimum, and the feed that will be used. Moreover, USDA commits to review claims from growers. Under the tournamen...

IPEF Missing Link; Sac Mixte; Inflation and Reconciliation

IPEF Missing Link The Biden Administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a set of laudable goals, but it lacks the traditional grease by which agreements on weighty matters come to fruition. The grease is economic benefit, be it via increased access to the large American mar...

Crazy Ideas; Strategery

Crazy Ideas Whenever there is a spike in commodity prices, the craziest ideas are put forth to supposedly solve the “problem.”  Leading the pack are the small and local folks who think interdependency is the problem, ignoring the lack of resiliency in a loner world. Then there...

IPEF Reality; Economic Ambiguity; For Sure No

IPEF Reality President Biden’s launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is a confusing mess but is unlikely to be what the Chinese are calling “a strategy for destroying peace.” This CPTPP-lite plan talks about trade using the same language as CPTPP: “free, open, fa...

Embarrassing Distortions; Biotech Bureaucrat Hurdles; TTC Diversion

Embarrassing Distortions Populists in the U.S. Congress are once again going after Big Ag, and as usual with faulty figures. Some are calling on the Federal trade Commission to investigate meat packing companies for increasing profits at the expense of consumers and workers. This attack repeats...

Conglomerate Vision; Policy Confusion

Conglomerate Vision Agribusinesses are paying attention. They along with oil companies are being blamed for inflation via gouging. There is an effort to ramp up the trustbusters, provide taxpayer incubator funds (subsidies) for startup competitors, and now even invoke the war-time Defense Produ...

Misdiagnosed; Potemkin Trade Policy

Misdiagnosed U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this week that, “Higher food and energy prices are having stagflationary effects, namely depressing output and spending and raising inflation all around the world.” She pushed for increased international food aid and advised int...

Multilateral is Dead; Long Live Plurilaterals; Rock and Hard Spot; Quote, Requote

Multilateral is Dead; Long Live Plurilaterals Former WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said this week that the ability of the organization to achieve any new agreements is thwarted because finding a consensus in Geneva has become “very difficult, if not impossible.” Reinfor...

Friend-shoring Agriculture; Import Sensitivity

Friend-shoring Agriculture When the EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council (TTC) platform was launched last fall, there was no war in Ukraine, and there was no mention of food. The second TTC meeting concluded today focused heavily on Russia and includes a new dialogue on changing the current foo...

Novel and Magnanimous; Time to Retire; Whole of Government Effort

Novel and Magnanimous Ukraine has 20 MMT of grain that need to be exported over the next three months before the next crop comes off the fields and needs a place to be stored. Without access to its ports, its current export capacity is 1.5 MMT/month. With hoped-for production this summer of an...

Size Informs Policy; Glyphosate Bias; Biden Trade Policy Deflation; Less is Better

Size Informs Policy The policy wonk contingency hoping to refocus the 2023 farm bill on small farms and growing fruits and vegetables should note where President Biden chose to announce his new farm policy of subsidizing fertilizer and increased production. He did not make the announcement on a...

feed-grains soy-oilseeds wheat

Market Commentary: Risk-On Pre-WASDE Trade; Wheat Rallies on Too Dry/Too Wet Forecast; Inflation Drives Fund Buying

The CBOT was higher the day before the May WASDE with traders turning more bullish amid persistently challenging weather forecasts for the world’s major crop producers. Moreover, U.S. economic data sent funds looking for assets in which to hedge inflation risks, which meant an inflow of s...

Reprieve on Emissions Data; IPEF Launch; GMO Wheat

Reprieve on Emissions Data At the request of U.S. farm groups, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended the deadline for public comments on its proposed rule, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors.” The Commission wants pu...

Food Safety Progress

Food safety lawyer Shawn Stevens points out that the incidence of food borne illnesses in the U.S. have been in decline. The number of incidents dropped during the heat of the pandemic, but the trend looks to be sticking even as consumers and the food industry return to more normal operations...

Geopolitics Rule; Absence Notable; Frontline Agriculture

Geopolitics Rule During the Cold War, U.S. military planners trumped efforts by American agriculture to challenge the trade distorting effects of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). American farmers were told that the CAP is the glue that holds Europe together, and a divided Europe...

Food Policy Confusion; MC12 Wreck

Food Policy Confusion The White House announced that it will host the first conference on hunger, nutrition, and health in over 50 years in September. The conference is important because it is clear that a lot of policymakers in Washington see problems but do not understand the implications of...

Issue Loser; Policy Leader; Data Leader

Issue Loser Frans Timmermans, the EU’s Executive Vice President, and lead cheerleader for the European Green Deal is insisting that there will be no risk of food insecurity due to Farm to Fork. He has chastised farm groups for using the war in Ukraine to argue otherwise. However, even the...

Inflation Trumps Trade Policy; Grain but not Freedom; Non-cyclical Labor

Inflation Trumps Trade Policy USTR Katherine Tai threw in the towel this week and conceded that reducing tariffs on Chinese goods is among the Biden Administration’s policy options. She qualified that this is true as long as it does not undermine longer-term efforts to encourage China to...

Ministry of Truth; Russia Upsets EU Ag Policy

Ministry of Truth The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving the ag gag rule in the state of Kansas, effectively allowing surreptitious filming of animal agriculture operations and other practices considered deceptive by farmers. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has created a Di...

Risky Trade; Reassessing China

Risky Trade How much Ukraine produces, and exports are critical questions for global agricultural markets. With its own Black Sea ports blocked, some grain and oilseed products have moved westward via challenging logistics. Comvex, which operates the Romanian port of Constanta says a cargo of o...

Aid Dependency; New Trade Vision

Aid Dependency Many poorer nations are dependent of foreign aid, including food donations, but so are some agriculture groups. Because of the war in Ukraine, the Biden Administration announced an increase in foreign food assistance. This will include the extraordinary use of CCC subsidies to co...

Unfair Bullfight; War Dissect

Unfair Bullfight A hearing yesterday by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee over the marketing of cattle was less equal than it appeared. Legislation sponsored by three senators to regulate the marketing of cattle and create USDA oversight was lauded by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association...

Cuba Pipedream

Proponents claim that Cuba’s agricultural imports from the U.S. could double this year to $500 million. They have increased by 72 percent in the first five months of this fiscal year, though from a low level. Nearly all the increase has come in one category, poultry meat and products, exc...

Truth About Food Safety; Truth About Deforestation; War’s Impact

Truth About Food Safety FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is on Capitol Hill this week testifying on his agency’s reported inability to move forward on improved food safety goals. The scrutiny has evolved out of a blistering report by Politico on the fact that food takes a back seat versus o...

U.S. – China Rift; India’s Manipulations; Then and Now

U.S. – China Rift There is a split within Washington policy circles over the continuation of Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods. Backing the Senate position, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for reducing the tariffs and White House Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep...

RECPie for Nothing; Let Them Eat Broccoli; Mickey D’s Push-back

RECPie for Nothing Philippines Trade Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty gave assurance that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and its 15 member economies does not impact agriculture very much. Manila only offered to reduce tariffs on the equivalent of 1.9 percent of the num...

WTO at the Firefight; Dairy = Lumber

WTO at the Firefight WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is headed to Washington ahead of the planned MC-12 meeting but she will not like what she finds there. Recognizing that Geneva is a policy dead-end, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called for a new trade architecture, one th...

Worker Centric Paradox; Hoarding Disorder; Bipolar Accelerant

Worker Centric Paradox The Biden Administration has called for a “worker centric” trade policy but USTR Katherine Tai is complaining about a dearth of data to support the initiative. The old metric was an assumption that each $1 billion in trade supports 30,000 workers, and that tra...

Dishonorable Food; Guantes Para Niños in Mexico; Build Back Never

Dishonorable Food Eddy Wax in Politico points out that Western agribusiness companies continue to operate in Russia despite the war on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy characterizes the agribusiness companies continuing to supply Russia as “flooded with our blood.” B...

Evolving Trade Policy; Russia’s Disinformation War

Evolving Biden Trade Policy  Last year the Biden Administration was said to be focusing on prioritizing enforcement in trade policy and not negotiating new trade deals. The President’s foreign policy was said to focus on “the middle class” and promised no new trade talks...

The Great Divorce

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a stark warning to China this week. She basically threatened China economically if it continued to tacitly support Russia. Unless Beijing uses its “special relationship” with Russia to help end the war, she said “it will be increasingl...

Bipolar World; GMO Hobgoblins

Bipolar World Countries were already divided before Russia’s war on Ukraine, but the conflict has brought it into plain sight. The WTO has been unable to reach any new agreements for decades. Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala acknowledged this week that the upcoming 12th ministerial co...

Carbon Market Challenges

The Russian war on Ukraine has shorted the EU energy market and forced resumed use of coal. This in turn has driven up the need for more carbon allowances as the cost of carbon has risen too high for some industries. The EU has a mandatory cap and trade system, but it still informs U.S. policym...

Food Safety Trouble; Pariah at the WTO; F2F Recalculation

Food Safety Trouble An extensive research effort by Politico on food regulation at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reveals a troubled agency. Among other problems, it finds a flawed organizational structure, an overly cautious culture, and a lack of funding. A report by the Congressiona...

Missing: Economic Resilience

One reason that Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine was a sense of immunity against reprisal due to external dependence on Russia’s energy supplies and food. He was wrong about the reprisal calculation but not about dependence. The OECD’s Composite of leading indicators (CLIs) point to e...

War on Words; Defense Kills Permanence; War Changes Market – But How?

War on Words Autocratic regimes can be dystopian and filled with censorship. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has ordered information sources to not call his assault on Ukraine an “attack,” an “invasion,” or a “war.” Instead, it is to be called a special operati...

Narrow Thinking; Food versus Fuel, Again

Narrow Thinking First COVID and now the war in Ukraine have reinvigorated protectionism and thoughts of self-sufficiency. However, economists studying the global agricultural commodity market say it has worked very well at redistributing food from areas of surplus to areas of deficit. Nonethele...

NBT Beats GMO; CBAM Cost

NBT Beats GMO As in Europe, genetically modified crops have been controversial in India where only Bt cotton is approved for cultivation. However, scientists apparently convinced the Modi government that new breeding techniques SDN1 (small RNA degrading nuclease 1) and SDN2 (small RNA degrading...

Borscht Belt Economics

Borscht is considered comfort food in Russia and the cost to make it is reportedly rising. Bloomberg reports that since the start of the war, the cost of cabbage is up 16 percent and onion prices have risen by 18 percent. Based on FAO data, Russia produces 39.6 pounds per capita of cabbage but...

War and the Food Fight; Development Effectiveness; To Ruble or Not

War and the Food Fight The intra-EU debate over F2F was bubbling under the surface but like lava flowing out of a rupture in the earth’s crust, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unleashed a public fight over its future. French President Emmanuel Macron is using the war to pivot farm...

Ukraine Changes Agriculture; Ukraine Changes Economies; Ukraine Affects Trade Policy

Ukraine Changes Agriculture CoBank analysts say that the war in Ukraine will have long term impact on grain markets. Indeed, if one just considers the following list of policy actions that have occurred since the war broke out: At least 31 export bans have been imposed around the world on cere...

New World Order; IPR Reversal; Antitrust Failure; Oil Boogeyman

New World Order Challenges posed to the West by both China and Russia has President Biden and geopolitical experts talking about a new world order. There has been a 180 degree turn from talking about the frustrations of democracies to looking at regime change in autocratic countries. Strategist...

Offense is Defense; Gas Emergency; Pesky Bureaucracy

Offense is Defense USTR Katherine Tai knew that she would be facing some strong agriculture voices when she appears this week before the House and Senate committees overseeing her work. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska) had already sent a letter demanding to know why more than a year after Preside...

USTR Sleeps Too Much; Weird Trade Obligations; War Profiteering

USTR Sleeps Too Much With hearings before House and Senate trade panels over the next two days, USTR Katherine Tai suddenly says she has “serious concerns” about Mexico’s energy policies. She reportedly did not arrive at those “concerns” until pushed by members of...

Prop 12 Challenge; Weird War; Farm Bill Calculus

Prop 12 Challenge When the U.S. Congress passed Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010, the Vice President Joe Biden declared it a “big [expletive] deal.” U.S. livestock producers now believe it is a big expletive deal that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear their complaint again...

Miracle Economics; Age of Petroleum

Miracle Economics Leaders in the Biden Administration are taking credit for expanding market access in Japan for U.S. beef. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praised the deal by saying, “America’s farmers and ranchers have beef products that can compete anywhere in the globe an...

Age of Nuclear; Miscellaneous Shorts; War’s Impact

Age of Nuclear The shock to the fossil fuels market coupled with aspirations for a low emissions future has combined to give renewed impetus to nuclear power. There is growing realization that stopping nuclear and fossil and relying solely on the solar/wind/ biofuel/theoretical hydrogen paradig...

Middle Kingdom Approach; Friday Snippets

Middle Kingdom Approach U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken articulated the Biden Administration’s policy toward China in a highly nuanced fashion. The key point is that the U.S. does not envision a new Cold War, but rather welcomes competition and wants to mold China into following th...

Bark Worse than Bite; Unprotecting Plants; ESG Slowly Joining Carbon

Bark Worse than Bite The Biden Administration has proposed new rules for poultry companies to be more transparent with growers about the number of chicks they will grow including a minimum, and the feed that will be used. Moreover, USDA commits to review claims from growers. Under the tournamen...

IPEF Missing Link; Sac Mixte; Inflation and Reconciliation

IPEF Missing Link The Biden Administration’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a set of laudable goals, but it lacks the traditional grease by which agreements on weighty matters come to fruition. The grease is economic benefit, be it via increased access to the large American mar...

Crazy Ideas; Strategery

Crazy Ideas Whenever there is a spike in commodity prices, the craziest ideas are put forth to supposedly solve the “problem.”  Leading the pack are the small and local folks who think interdependency is the problem, ignoring the lack of resiliency in a loner world. Then there...

IPEF Reality; Economic Ambiguity; For Sure No

IPEF Reality President Biden’s launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is a confusing mess but is unlikely to be what the Chinese are calling “a strategy for destroying peace.” This CPTPP-lite plan talks about trade using the same language as CPTPP: “free, open, fa...

Embarrassing Distortions; Biotech Bureaucrat Hurdles; TTC Diversion

Embarrassing Distortions Populists in the U.S. Congress are once again going after Big Ag, and as usual with faulty figures. Some are calling on the Federal trade Commission to investigate meat packing companies for increasing profits at the expense of consumers and workers. This attack repeats...

Conglomerate Vision; Policy Confusion

Conglomerate Vision Agribusinesses are paying attention. They along with oil companies are being blamed for inflation via gouging. There is an effort to ramp up the trustbusters, provide taxpayer incubator funds (subsidies) for startup competitors, and now even invoke the war-time Defense Produ...

Misdiagnosed; Potemkin Trade Policy

Misdiagnosed U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this week that, “Higher food and energy prices are having stagflationary effects, namely depressing output and spending and raising inflation all around the world.” She pushed for increased international food aid and advised int...

Multilateral is Dead; Long Live Plurilaterals; Rock and Hard Spot; Quote, Requote

Multilateral is Dead; Long Live Plurilaterals Former WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said this week that the ability of the organization to achieve any new agreements is thwarted because finding a consensus in Geneva has become “very difficult, if not impossible.” Reinfor...

Friend-shoring Agriculture; Import Sensitivity

Friend-shoring Agriculture When the EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council (TTC) platform was launched last fall, there was no war in Ukraine, and there was no mention of food. The second TTC meeting concluded today focused heavily on Russia and includes a new dialogue on changing the current foo...

Novel and Magnanimous; Time to Retire; Whole of Government Effort

Novel and Magnanimous Ukraine has 20 MMT of grain that need to be exported over the next three months before the next crop comes off the fields and needs a place to be stored. Without access to its ports, its current export capacity is 1.5 MMT/month. With hoped-for production this summer of an...

Size Informs Policy; Glyphosate Bias; Biden Trade Policy Deflation; Less is Better

Size Informs Policy The policy wonk contingency hoping to refocus the 2023 farm bill on small farms and growing fruits and vegetables should note where President Biden chose to announce his new farm policy of subsidizing fertilizer and increased production. He did not make the announcement on a...

feed-grains soy-oilseeds wheat

Market Commentary: Risk-On Pre-WASDE Trade; Wheat Rallies on Too Dry/Too Wet Forecast; Inflation Drives Fund Buying

The CBOT was higher the day before the May WASDE with traders turning more bullish amid persistently challenging weather forecasts for the world’s major crop producers. Moreover, U.S. economic data sent funds looking for assets in which to hedge inflation risks, which meant an inflow of s...

Reprieve on Emissions Data; IPEF Launch; GMO Wheat

Reprieve on Emissions Data At the request of U.S. farm groups, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended the deadline for public comments on its proposed rule, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors.” The Commission wants pu...

Food Safety Progress

Food safety lawyer Shawn Stevens points out that the incidence of food borne illnesses in the U.S. have been in decline. The number of incidents dropped during the heat of the pandemic, but the trend looks to be sticking even as consumers and the food industry return to more normal operations...

Geopolitics Rule; Absence Notable; Frontline Agriculture

Geopolitics Rule During the Cold War, U.S. military planners trumped efforts by American agriculture to challenge the trade distorting effects of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). American farmers were told that the CAP is the glue that holds Europe together, and a divided Europe...

Food Policy Confusion; MC12 Wreck

Food Policy Confusion The White House announced that it will host the first conference on hunger, nutrition, and health in over 50 years in September. The conference is important because it is clear that a lot of policymakers in Washington see problems but do not understand the implications of...

Issue Loser; Policy Leader; Data Leader

Issue Loser Frans Timmermans, the EU’s Executive Vice President, and lead cheerleader for the European Green Deal is insisting that there will be no risk of food insecurity due to Farm to Fork. He has chastised farm groups for using the war in Ukraine to argue otherwise. However, even the...

Inflation Trumps Trade Policy; Grain but not Freedom; Non-cyclical Labor

Inflation Trumps Trade Policy USTR Katherine Tai threw in the towel this week and conceded that reducing tariffs on Chinese goods is among the Biden Administration’s policy options. She qualified that this is true as long as it does not undermine longer-term efforts to encourage China to...

Ministry of Truth; Russia Upsets EU Ag Policy

Ministry of Truth The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case involving the ag gag rule in the state of Kansas, effectively allowing surreptitious filming of animal agriculture operations and other practices considered deceptive by farmers. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has created a Di...

Risky Trade; Reassessing China

Risky Trade How much Ukraine produces, and exports are critical questions for global agricultural markets. With its own Black Sea ports blocked, some grain and oilseed products have moved westward via challenging logistics. Comvex, which operates the Romanian port of Constanta says a cargo of o...

Aid Dependency; New Trade Vision

Aid Dependency Many poorer nations are dependent of foreign aid, including food donations, but so are some agriculture groups. Because of the war in Ukraine, the Biden Administration announced an increase in foreign food assistance. This will include the extraordinary use of CCC subsidies to co...

Unfair Bullfight; War Dissect

Unfair Bullfight A hearing yesterday by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee over the marketing of cattle was less equal than it appeared. Legislation sponsored by three senators to regulate the marketing of cattle and create USDA oversight was lauded by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association...

Cuba Pipedream

Proponents claim that Cuba’s agricultural imports from the U.S. could double this year to $500 million. They have increased by 72 percent in the first five months of this fiscal year, though from a low level. Nearly all the increase has come in one category, poultry meat and products, exc...

Truth About Food Safety; Truth About Deforestation; War’s Impact

Truth About Food Safety FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is on Capitol Hill this week testifying on his agency’s reported inability to move forward on improved food safety goals. The scrutiny has evolved out of a blistering report by Politico on the fact that food takes a back seat versus o...

U.S. – China Rift; India’s Manipulations; Then and Now

U.S. – China Rift There is a split within Washington policy circles over the continuation of Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods. Backing the Senate position, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for reducing the tariffs and White House Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep...

RECPie for Nothing; Let Them Eat Broccoli; Mickey D’s Push-back

RECPie for Nothing Philippines Trade Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty gave assurance that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and its 15 member economies does not impact agriculture very much. Manila only offered to reduce tariffs on the equivalent of 1.9 percent of the num...

WTO at the Firefight; Dairy = Lumber

WTO at the Firefight WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is headed to Washington ahead of the planned MC-12 meeting but she will not like what she finds there. Recognizing that Geneva is a policy dead-end, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called for a new trade architecture, one th...

Worker Centric Paradox; Hoarding Disorder; Bipolar Accelerant

Worker Centric Paradox The Biden Administration has called for a “worker centric” trade policy but USTR Katherine Tai is complaining about a dearth of data to support the initiative. The old metric was an assumption that each $1 billion in trade supports 30,000 workers, and that tra...

Dishonorable Food; Guantes Para Niños in Mexico; Build Back Never

Dishonorable Food Eddy Wax in Politico points out that Western agribusiness companies continue to operate in Russia despite the war on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy characterizes the agribusiness companies continuing to supply Russia as “flooded with our blood.” B...

Evolving Trade Policy; Russia’s Disinformation War

Evolving Biden Trade Policy  Last year the Biden Administration was said to be focusing on prioritizing enforcement in trade policy and not negotiating new trade deals. The President’s foreign policy was said to focus on “the middle class” and promised no new trade talks...

The Great Divorce

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a stark warning to China this week. She basically threatened China economically if it continued to tacitly support Russia. Unless Beijing uses its “special relationship” with Russia to help end the war, she said “it will be increasingl...

Bipolar World; GMO Hobgoblins

Bipolar World Countries were already divided before Russia’s war on Ukraine, but the conflict has brought it into plain sight. The WTO has been unable to reach any new agreements for decades. Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala acknowledged this week that the upcoming 12th ministerial co...

Carbon Market Challenges

The Russian war on Ukraine has shorted the EU energy market and forced resumed use of coal. This in turn has driven up the need for more carbon allowances as the cost of carbon has risen too high for some industries. The EU has a mandatory cap and trade system, but it still informs U.S. policym...

Food Safety Trouble; Pariah at the WTO; F2F Recalculation

Food Safety Trouble An extensive research effort by Politico on food regulation at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reveals a troubled agency. Among other problems, it finds a flawed organizational structure, an overly cautious culture, and a lack of funding. A report by the Congressiona...

Missing: Economic Resilience

One reason that Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine was a sense of immunity against reprisal due to external dependence on Russia’s energy supplies and food. He was wrong about the reprisal calculation but not about dependence. The OECD’s Composite of leading indicators (CLIs) point to e...

War on Words; Defense Kills Permanence; War Changes Market – But How?

War on Words Autocratic regimes can be dystopian and filled with censorship. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has ordered information sources to not call his assault on Ukraine an “attack,” an “invasion,” or a “war.” Instead, it is to be called a special operati...

Narrow Thinking; Food versus Fuel, Again

Narrow Thinking First COVID and now the war in Ukraine have reinvigorated protectionism and thoughts of self-sufficiency. However, economists studying the global agricultural commodity market say it has worked very well at redistributing food from areas of surplus to areas of deficit. Nonethele...

NBT Beats GMO; CBAM Cost

NBT Beats GMO As in Europe, genetically modified crops have been controversial in India where only Bt cotton is approved for cultivation. However, scientists apparently convinced the Modi government that new breeding techniques SDN1 (small RNA degrading nuclease 1) and SDN2 (small RNA degrading...

Borscht Belt Economics

Borscht is considered comfort food in Russia and the cost to make it is reportedly rising. Bloomberg reports that since the start of the war, the cost of cabbage is up 16 percent and onion prices have risen by 18 percent. Based on FAO data, Russia produces 39.6 pounds per capita of cabbage but...

War and the Food Fight; Development Effectiveness; To Ruble or Not

War and the Food Fight The intra-EU debate over F2F was bubbling under the surface but like lava flowing out of a rupture in the earth’s crust, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unleashed a public fight over its future. French President Emmanuel Macron is using the war to pivot farm...

Ukraine Changes Agriculture; Ukraine Changes Economies; Ukraine Affects Trade Policy

Ukraine Changes Agriculture CoBank analysts say that the war in Ukraine will have long term impact on grain markets. Indeed, if one just considers the following list of policy actions that have occurred since the war broke out: At least 31 export bans have been imposed around the world on cere...

New World Order; IPR Reversal; Antitrust Failure; Oil Boogeyman

New World Order Challenges posed to the West by both China and Russia has President Biden and geopolitical experts talking about a new world order. There has been a 180 degree turn from talking about the frustrations of democracies to looking at regime change in autocratic countries. Strategist...

Offense is Defense; Gas Emergency; Pesky Bureaucracy

Offense is Defense USTR Katherine Tai knew that she would be facing some strong agriculture voices when she appears this week before the House and Senate committees overseeing her work. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska) had already sent a letter demanding to know why more than a year after Preside...

USTR Sleeps Too Much; Weird Trade Obligations; War Profiteering

USTR Sleeps Too Much With hearings before House and Senate trade panels over the next two days, USTR Katherine Tai suddenly says she has “serious concerns” about Mexico’s energy policies. She reportedly did not arrive at those “concerns” until pushed by members of...

Prop 12 Challenge; Weird War; Farm Bill Calculus

Prop 12 Challenge When the U.S. Congress passed Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2010, the Vice President Joe Biden declared it a “big [expletive] deal.” U.S. livestock producers now believe it is a big expletive deal that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear their complaint again...

Miracle Economics; Age of Petroleum

Miracle Economics Leaders in the Biden Administration are taking credit for expanding market access in Japan for U.S. beef. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack praised the deal by saying, “America’s farmers and ranchers have beef products that can compete anywhere in the globe an...

Age of Nuclear; Miscellaneous Shorts; War’s Impact

Age of Nuclear The shock to the fossil fuels market coupled with aspirations for a low emissions future has combined to give renewed impetus to nuclear power. There is growing realization that stopping nuclear and fossil and relying solely on the solar/wind/ biofuel/theoretical hydrogen paradig...

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