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Issues of the Day

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block.

For more than 2 years the U.S., Canada and Mexico have been negotiating a new North American Free Trade Agreement.  Finally, USMCA became effective this week.  Even with the new trade deal, President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on Canadian aluminum.  I don’t think we need to do that.  Let us give USMCA some time to work.

Midwest agriculture has a serious problem that seems to never get fixed.  EPA waivers to dozens of refineries have made it possible for them to avoid the law and not blend ethanol with gasoline.  That has cost corn farmers billions of dollars.  Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said ethanol and biodiesel producers in Iowa “are sick of being yanked around by the EPA.”  I would add, Big Oil does not deserve special wavers from EPA.

Every week another new issue erupts between China and the U.S.  China has targeted imported products, including pork as a potential carrier of Coronavirus.  USDA and FDA responded, “efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to COVID-19 transmission are not consistent with known science.”  We do not need another trade disruption.

This past weekend some explosive news erupted.  It was reported in the New York Times that Russia paid Afghan militants to attack our soldiers and that President Trump did nothing.  White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “there is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations.” Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliff said that “he has confirmed that neither the President nor Vice President were briefed.”  Looks like the news outlets did not take time to confirm what they were reporting.  However, if Russia did pay to have our soldiers killed, that is serious.

Saturday is Independence Day.  Thanks to President George Washington and the brave settlers that gave birth to the greatest nation is the world.  I do not like it that statues of many of our historic leaders are being torn down.  They were not perfect but none of us are.

John Block was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. If you would like to review his radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to

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