Current Week

Controversy is Good

February 15, 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you. 

And now for today’s commentary— 

The headlines in the papers and on the evening highlights: “White House in Crisis” and “Conflicts Between Trump Appointees.” Yes – for anyone following the new President and Republican Congress’s effort to take control and move forward, it is a wild and crazy show. 

However, let me say that it is not so uncommon. When I was selected by President Reagan as Secretary of Agriculture, I ended up right in the middle of a big battle with some members in the Reagan Cabinet. We had our first Cabinet meeting in the Blair House before President Reagan was inaugurated. Defense Secretary Weinberger gave a report on where we were on national security and where he felt President Reagan should lead. There were some other reports from Cabinet members. 

Before closing, President Reagan asked if anyone had anything that we should review. I raised my hand and said that the Soviet grain embargo imposed by former President Jimmy Carter was devastating our farmers and the embargo should be lifted. The Soviet Union had been a huge market for our grain. Secretary of State Alexander Haig jumped on me, declaring that the embargo should not be lifted until we get something in return. Defense Secretary Weinberger was even more adamant. I didn’t seem to have any support. 

Haig and Weinberger continued to make their case with the press. I was supporting the farmers and they wanted the embargo lifted. Our Cabinet dispute was in all the papers and the press. I think President Reagan wanted to stand back and let the disagreement rage. After the President was shot, he came back to the White House and lifted the grain embargo. 

That was just the first example of the President allowing a clash of ideas in his Cabinet. The President would hold Cabinet meetings at least every other week. Different issues and different Cabinet members were asked to make presentations on national issues. In 1984, I was asked to present my proposal for the farm program scheduled to be passed in 1985. It was well received, but the Office of Management and Budget Director David Stockman attacked my proposal to establish a Conservation Reserve Program. It was stripped out of the farm bill. Two or three months later, I was able to get it back into the bill. 

It is pretty obvious that President Trump’s leadership team does not agree on everything. That can be a good thing. I hope that President Trump will hold regular Cabinet meetings. Most Administrations since President Reagan have not. A closed mind with no discussion will not work. Washington writer George Will said President Obama “never learned anything from anyone with whom he disagreed.” I say delegate, listen, and learn. 

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend. Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.

Previous Weeks

Regulations

February 9 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

President Trump is aggressively working to relieve the heavy burden of excessive regulations imposed on businesses in recent years. Remember what President Reagan said about regulations: “A government…

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Trade

February 2 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I want to focus on trade today. From agriculture’s perspective, it is extremely important. 25% of ag income comes from products sold to other countries. Production from 1 out of every 3 acres is exported.…

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Perdue as Ag Secretary

January 26 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I am calling this program in on the telephone from Florida. You know what farmers work so hard for – “corn, beans, and Florida.” The news of the day is that Donald Trump is President.…

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Barack Hussein Obama – a Retrospective

January 19 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

Until next week, I am Rick Frank for John Block from Washington, D.C.

And now for today’s commentary— 

As we prepare to launch the Trump Administration, I thought it useful…

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Priorities for 2017

January 12 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

We know some people are not happy to see Donald Trump move into the White House.  However, many others are very excited.  Just go to rural America.  Farmers, ranchers, and most red…

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Last Minute Executive Orders

January 5 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

Since 1981, I have seen, watched, and participated in a number of changes of power in the White House.  President Obama committed to a smooth transition of power to PresidentElect…

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New Year 2017

December 28 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

The new year is upon us.  2017, like any new year, presents many unknowns – perhaps even more this year.  I want to review where we are at today and look at where we may be going next…

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Merry Christmas

December 22 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

Merry Christmas to everyone out there.  This is the most celebrated holiday of the year and has been since our nation was founded.  It seems like so many things come together and change…

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Vilsak Eight Years

December 14 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

Last week, I – along with 2 other former Secretaries of Agriculture (Ann Veneman and  Dan Glickman) – attended the portrait unveiling ceremony of Secretary Tom Vilsack at the…

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Trade Undersecretary

December 7 2016

Hello everybody out there in farm country.  This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere, the National Corn Growers Association, and CropLife America.  They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.  Thank you.  

And now for today’s commentary—  

There is a lot of talk today abut the next farm bill.  What will be in it?  When will we get it done?  But I think the ag industry should remind the new Secretary of Agriculture when…

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