Government Policy

SwineCast 0535, Tracking The Canadian Herd Buyout And The Hog Industry Loan Loss Reserve Program

mp3SwineCast 0535 Show Notes:

SwineCast 0531, What Does The New Health Bill Hold For Agriculture?

mp3SwineCast 0531 Show Notes:

SwineCast 0474, National Pork Producers to Congress: Extend Pork Purchase Programs and Open Markets Abroad

Download mp3SwineCast 0474 Show Notes:
  • National Pork Producers Council President Don Butler returned to Washington to plead the producer's case before a congressional Ag Subcommittee.
  • Major topics:
    • Urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make more purchases of pork for various federal food assistance programs.
    • Pressure U.S. trading partners, particularly China and Russia, to eliminate their barriers to U.S.

SwineCast 0470, Why is there a Canadian herd buyout?

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  •'s Bruce Cochrane provides a pair of conversations to bring you up to date on the Canadian Herd Buyout. Here are the what's, why's and where's from north of the border.

SwineCast 0453, NPPC Requests Washington Step Up Purchases and Review Input Prices

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  • Special NPPC conference with President Don Butler, CEO Neil Dierks and economist Steve Meyer outlining the shopping list they're sending to Washington

How the "Tragedy of the Commons" Can Become Even More Tragic

The "tragedy of the commons" is an idea put forward by Garrett Hardin in the late 1960's (, describing how commonly held resources are supposed to be stripped to nothing when those who use them act solely on self-interest instead of in the common good. The notion is that a community resource will be over-used when individuals apply their private profit calculation to how much of it they will employ.

The New Wedge Between Crops and Livestock: Government Policy

In one sense, there has always been a certain conflict between crops and livestock since they tend to benefit from each other when the one is not doing so well at least price-wise.  When crop prices are low, at least temporarily, livestock producers gain profits through lower cost of production.  When crop prices skyrocket, livestock producers tend to struggle until a passthrough occurs or some adjustments take place.  In the past however, there were good reasons for the two major arms of U.S. Ag to talk about their symbiosis and protect each other's interests.  That's when the vast majority of U.S. produced corn, for instance, was destined to be livestock feed.  That dynamic is changing largely due to government policy changes. 

SwineCast 0442, Canadian Health Program Highlights Danish System and New Scheme for Manitoba

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  • Correspondent Bruce Cochrane of reports from the 2009 Swine Health Forum in Saskatoon with a look at the Danish swine industry health issues and policies and the development of a new farmed animal health strategy in Canada

More Meddling in Markets or "The Problem of Too Many Balls in the Air" Revisited

     We have in the US energy policy regarding ethanol an illustration of the classic problem in economics which I like to call "too many balls in the air".  When it comes to economic thinking and analysis, individuals or groups with "skin in the game" tend to focus tightly on the single variable they want to improve (like the corn price in the case of ethanol) and fail to understand that markets are complex interactions of sometimes hundreds of linked transactions and markets all of which can and usually are affected by extra-market interventions to move the target variable.  There are economic models that can and do attempt to account for all of these impacts simulataneously and track the movement to a new equilibrium in all affected markets but they can be large and clumsy and not very good at tracking the short term movements to new long term equilibria.

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