• John Vogel

    Mad As 'H' Over FDA's Food Safety Act Overreach!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 6, 2013

    I intended to continue on last week's theme about agriculture's huge career potential for young people. That was until I read excerpts from the latest proposed regulations of FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act. Reading most of the original FDA FSMA law, I discovered scant references to what farmers could and couldn't do to raise food crops. Initially, we were placated by wordage that smaller scale producers of fresh market foods would be exempted. Then came pages and pages of…

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  • John Vogel

    GMO Labeling Is Pushed On Ill-Informed Public & Congress

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 3, 2013

    It's hugely important that we, the people of agriculture, understand – and meet – the biotech challenge coming at us head-on. Anti-GMO activists want to ban or at limit biotech's most important tool – genetically-engineered ingredients or genetically-modified organisms. GMO'ers didn't just crawl away after California's Proposition 37 died. They regrouped and focused on Washington, D.C. And in April, legislation to require GMO labeling of whole…

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  • John Vogel

    Overwhelmed By Legal Pro-gun Forces!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 25, 2013

    Going into last week's New York Farm Show, I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of rural vehemence to the state's new Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act. The law does nothing to secure citizen safety, and, in fact, threatens it. The silent scratching of Governor Andrew "Quick Draw" Cuomo's approval pen on the NY SAFE Act awoke an angry giant – a pro-gun force that would kill his presidential aspirations with high-caliber common sense…

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  • John Vogel

    Gun Controls: Time To Reload!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 15, 2013

    I’ve been swamped by letters, emails and blog responses to my earlier blog, raise-gun-controls-spirit-within and magazine editorial. I loved every single response, even from those who think nobody but law enforcement and military should have guns. It’s easy to understand the anger and fear of those who’ve had their lives blown to bits figuratively or literally by wrongful use of powerful weapons by criminals or persons short of a full load. And the anti-gun lobby uses…

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  • John Vogel

    Don't Blame Agriculture For A Food System Flawed By Fat

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 11, 2013

    Listening to all the anti-everything-ag grumblers, you might think American agriculture is in terrible shape, that we haven't progressed beyond the pitch fork era. They seem intent on making sure Uncle Sam enacts more regulations to drive the food industry crazy – and out of this country. Being a former farm kid and now long-toothed ag journalist, I've got a fork in this food fight. So I'll stab at the meat of this issue. Since these "antis" have far too…

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  • John Vogel

    The Good And Ugly Of Farm Biomass And Green Energy

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on October 17, 2012

    We must be ramping up to an election. Almost daily, I receive USDA emails touting how the Obama administration is increasing jobs and building our energy independence – as it should! However, the timing of this week’s announcement of a $10 million grant to fuel biofuel development in the Northeast may be a little suspect – actually a little more than little. The grant to fund a Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium comes more than a year after similar regional…

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  • John Vogel

    Send President Obama 'Back To The Farm'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 29, 2012

    First off, this commentary is my opinion – one I believe is the most important of my career. Four years ago, the last line of my “Food for Thought” column read: If motivating people were the sole reason for voting, [Barack] Obama deserves to win. On Tuesday, Nov. 6, U.S. voters will go to the polls for another presidential election. The outcome will have a huge impact on America’s future, agriculture and your farm. That’s why I’m overcoming my aversion to…

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  • John Vogel

    What For The Farm When The U.S. Dollar Collapses

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 7, 2012

    Last week, I received a thoughtful email from a 25-year-old Missouri farmer regarding an opinion I wrote in March 2011 titled “When the U.S. dollar collapses . . ..” He recently re-read the article and wondered if the dollar is less threatened today. And he asked: “Where do you think our politicians stand on the importance of the Farm Bill, crop insurance and the nutrition programs that we all know are taken advantage of to their max by lazy and unconcerned individuals who…

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  • John Vogel

    Thank Ag Technology And Farms Using It

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 24, 2012

    In September’s American Agriculturist, my column was titled “On cusp of feed, food panic?” I pointed out some concerns related to the current drought. And those concerns are still valid. But here, I’m going to yield to the excellent thought of another seasoned writer and former Canadian diplomat. Maurice Hladik, author of Demystifying Food from Farm to Fork, has a superb perspective on the benefits of today’s technologies. Hladik says: “If farmers in…

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  • John Vogel

    Is Farming Just A Business?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 13, 2012

    With intent to try to stay “with it” on Internet technologies, I’ve muddled my way into FaceBook and LinkIn, plus some chat rooms. And already, I’m suffering digital sensory overload! Two months ago, I joined a sustainable agriculture web group to broaden my understanding of this ag facet. The first question I saw was: “A student of mine contends agriculture is just another business. What say you?” Every day since then there’s been a flood of posts of…

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