Ag Policy Blog

Looking Ahead to 2015

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Anyone can tell you what the top stories were in the past year. It takes true forecasting abilities to tell readers what the biggest stories will be over the next year.

After consulting market analysts, political insiders, World Bank economists and our Ouija board, here are some of the major news stories you can expect to see DTN/The Progressive Farmer reporting on in 2015:

DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom resigns in January to become chairman of the USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board. The outlook board will no longer release supply and demand numbers because they are all a bunch of hooey anyway. Corn and soybeans move limit up.

GMO-labeling activists in Portland, Oregon, are cited early in the year for violating campaign-expenditure laws after running up a $750,000 grocery bill at Whole Foods. Receipts show the activists spent campaign funds at the grocery store on at least two occasions.

Farm subsidies spike and more than 20 countries file a WTO case arguing ARC and PLC distort global markets. The House Agriculture Committee responds by holding a dozen hearings in 2015 on ways to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie moves to Iowa to start a sow operation.

Hillary Clinton moves to Iowa City because she is a big fan of the Cornhuskers.

Rick Perry moves to Iowa because "they have something to do with being president."

The Chinese Chicken scare of 2015 leads members of Congress to call Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on the carpet for not doing enough to create a comprehensive Country-of-Origin Label for meat products.

Emboldened by the Christmas gifts they received in the "cromnibus" spending bill, Wall Street lobbyists and billionaire political contributors go for the whole enchilada in 2015 --- fooling all the people, all the time.

Texas congressmen introduce the Crop Insurance Integrity Act of 2015 after the southern Plains slip back into drought. The bill would allow farmers to exclude any year from their Actual Production History that isn't a record yield.

Ohio officials and farm groups come out with a new water-quality educational campaign for people who live near Lake Erie: "If it's yellow, be mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."

Relations with Cuba quickly fall apart after President Obama names Sen. Ted Cruz as the new ambassador. Cruz' colleagues in the Senate vote 99-0 to confirm him.

Trade talks with Europe take a hiatus after Ambassador Darci Vetter loses her cool with a European counterpart and declares with an accompanying hand gesture, "I got your geographical indicators right here!"

Members of Congress blow smoke over USDA's new combo insurance policies for irrigated marijuana growers. The policy provides up to 85% coverage to help growers manage volatile markets and pot raids.

Wahoo, Nebraska, resident John Paul Hartman is fined $37,500 for violating the Clean Water Act after EPA finalizes its "waters of the U.S." rule. John Paul's dumbfounded parents told the Omaha World-Herald they didn’t realize the toddler had relieved himself outside.

Soft-drink lobbyists question why their products aren't allowed for purchase under the Women and Infant Children's nutritional program. A new campaign is launched to remedy the situation.

Congress passes a rider in the FY 2016 "cro-magnibus" spending bill blocking EPA from applying lifecycle analysis to the agency's toilet paper purchases.

The Koch brothers announce plans to sell Kansas to the Chinese firm Alibaba in exchange for stock.

The Heartland Institute hires me to help with the group's messaging on climate change, which isn't happening, by the way. But if it is happening, it's only because carbon dioxide is a fertilizer that can only mean good things with the warmer climate we've been experiencing in recent decades. How much am I getting paid for this again?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN.


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Bonnie Dukowitz
12/24/2014 | 7:02 AM CST
Finally, An accurate forecast. Thanks
W Lee Deutsche
12/22/2014 | 12:11 PM CST
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR, Chris, I really enjoyed your LOOKING AHEAD to 2015.Especially the part about the Senate confirmation vote of Senator Cruz as ambassador to Cuba.John Paul Hartman's relieving himself outside brought a huge smile. Continue writing and we will continue reading. Lee