Blame Those Darn Farmers!

Alex Tiller - Monday, April 20, 2009

In a press conference on April 16, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson with other corn industry groups discussed a recently released Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report dealing with the economic and environmental impact of ethanol.

"The CBO report states what we have known all along, America's farmers are not a significant reason for increasing grocery store prices," Johnson said. "The report states that increased ethanol production caused a mere 0.5 and 0.8 percentage point increase in the price of food between April 2007 and April 2008."

Mr. Johnson went on to cite statistics that indicate that consumers actually save between $5.00 and $8.00 in gasoline costs for every extra dollar spent on food because of the increased supply of fuel provided by ethanol.

Johnson also pointed to research that shows that an average small box of corn flakes continue to cost $2.99; the “farmer’s share” is approx $.06, or less than 2%.  The “NFU is again calling for Congress to reconvene hearings to investigate higher retail food prices; while commodity prices have tanked since last summer’s peak, grocery store prices remain high.”

With commodity prices being extremely low in recent months, I have to ask the question, why haven’t food prices retreated?  The answer is simple.  The profit taking was/is being done by the food producers and resellers. This is a clear example of a well orchestrated marketing maneuver to raise prices, reduce portion sizes, and increase profits.  -All the while they are while blaming the hard working farmer down the road. 

Check this out: Here is a short audio clip of from the press conference.  (it is only 3:21 long)


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Super Farmers Recommendations Wanted! Can you Help?

Alex Tiller - Sunday, March 22, 2009

As many of you know, I am working on a book for young farmers.  I am looking for examples of farmers that have successfully diversified their farm operations.  I am looking for nontraditional examples. -Not necessarily the rancher that decides to just raise a different breed, but someone who has achieved true diversification in operation.   Examples of what I am looking for would be:

  • The row crop farmer who planted an orchard or vineyard on his least productive land. 
  • The vineyard manager that now also raises sheep to keep the cover crop down and for market. 
  • The corn/soybean farmer that set up his own solar array, wind turbine, or biofuel operation.
  • The chicken farmer that struck a deal with the vegetable farmer to sell all the waste.
  • The farmer/grower that is the only one growing a particular crop in any given area.

Put simply, I am looking for ag innovators. 

Can any of you recommend some super successful, innovate, or unique ag industry figures for case studies / interviews for the book?  Please email me your name and phone number, the name and phone and email of the person you are recommending, and how you know the individual.  Send to: alex (at symbol) alextiller (dot) com. You can also contact me via email by clicking Here: Email Alex



AgDay Ambassadors

Alex Tiller - Friday, March 20, 2009

The CropLife Ambassador Network (CAN) and the Missouri-Kansas chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) both believe in the necessity of educating consumers about today’s agriculture. The CropLife Ambassador Network (CAN) is a program of the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA), a non-profit association of manufacturers, distributors/formulators and allied industry of crop protection products in 13 Midwestern states. CAN works to provide scientifically based, accurate information to the public regarding the safety and value of American agricultural food production. ( CAN which has approximately 160 ambassadors and regularly places those volunteers into schools across the Midwest, welcomed the opportunity to celebrate National Ag Day,, with the MoKan chapter of NAMA.

CAN located three schools in Kansas City, Missouri for MoKan members to visit the week after National Ag Week when students return from their spring break. The topics were chosen by the teachers from CAN’s six program offerings to correlate with their current classroom curriculum. 

  • MoKan member Lori Kruger will speak with fifty-two 3rd grade students at Satchel Paige Elementary School March 23 on Farmers, Stewards of the Land.
  • MoKan member Sarah Schmidt will speak with forty-two 6th grade students at Lee’s Summit Elementary School March 24 on Biofuels.
  • MoKan member Becky Johnson will speak with one-hundred 6th grade students at Antioch Middle School March 25 on Biofuels. 


Many ag-related organizations working towards a better agriculturally-educated consumer dot the United States. According to Janet Braun, CAN Program Coordinator, “This was a great opportunity to connect the dots.” When Lori Kruger of MoKan contacted Braun about this opportunity, “I jumped on the idea and would be happy to work with other groups in the Midwest.” said Braun. CAN already has the framework built for linking schools and speakers together, while providing presentation material and topic information to the speakers. Other Midwest Ag organizations and individuals are welcome to use our program as their outreach education resource. When our industry connects all the dots, Ag’s picture CAN be seen by the public.

For information on CAN contact Program Coordinator Janet Braun at, 800-625-2767, or visit the CAN website at

For information on the MoKan chapter of NAMA, contact Chapter President Melanie Acklin at, 816-377-9088, or visit the NAMA website at