Today’s Issues

By former USDA Secretary John R. Block.

They are back.  House Members and Senators, after a long summer recess, are back to work.  Let’s hope they can get something done.  Our fiscal year ends September 30 so they have 3 weeks to pass a stop gap spending bill if we don’t want a government shutdown.  There is also a lot of pressure to pass the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.  Farm leaders from across the country have come to D.C. to pressure Congress to get it done.  Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic team don’t seem to be in any hurry.  Although trade talks with China are on the agenda,  no one knows what will happen.  Larry Kudlow, National Economic Council Director, said the trade war with China could go on for years.  We can’t accept their theft of intellectual property.  Farm organizations coming to town will be pushing for a resolution.

Here is another subject of great concern to our farmers.  Lawsuits claiming that glyphosate – Roundup weed killer – can cause cancer.  California wants product labels that say glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans.  EPA has announced that Roundup will not cause cancer.  California has pointed to the World Health Organization which stated in 2015 that glyphosate “probably” causes cancer.  That UN organization also warned that you can get cancer from pickled vegetables and caffeine.  So – if no more Roundup, then no more coffee.  We’ll see how that sells.  EPA has done extensive reviews of glyphosate and they do not accept the California position.  Other responsible countries stand shoulder to shoulder with our EPA.  That includes Canada, Australia, the European Union, Germany, New Zealand and Japan.  Our EPA says the California warning language is “false and misleading.”  We have been using Roundup to kill weeds in our corn and soybean fields since the 1970s.  This fight is not settled yet.

One last subject – we have been waging war in Afghanistan for 18 years.  President Trump wants to get out of there.  He started negotiations with the Taliban, but just when it looked like we could find a solution, the Taliban killed a number of innocent people, including one U.S. soldier.  That did it.  Trump said the talks are “dead.”

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 

More From


Subscribe to receive OFW’s Food & Agriculture World Insights Newsletter.

IT Support by SADOSSecure, Fast Hosting for WordPress