By John Block

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

I was down on the farm in Illinois last week. What a relief to escape the political wars in Washington, D.C.! Just to look at those fields of rich black soil just waiting to be planted. I can’t remember when it was more exciting to anticipate a big corn and soybean crop. The markets are volatile but the market is calling for us to grow a big crop. That’s what we want to do.

While enjoying the clean air, freedom from congestion and traffic – freedom from government – suddenly I came to realize that I was not free from the government.

I met with my tax advisor since I only had 7 days to get my taxes prepared and sent in to Uncle Sam. You know the drill. They ask “How much did you make?” I respond. They say, “O.K., send it in.”

Then I am talking to my neighbor and he tells me that I will probably have to buy a new double walled fuel tank for the farm. I ask, “What’s that all about?” It seems the EPA is going to require that I get a new tank or build a wall around our fuel site since I have more than 1,320 gallons of storage.

What’s the EPA doing on my farm? My diesel fuel does not pose any risk. I came to the farm in Illinois to get away from the government.

Over a cup of coffee in our farm machinery building and office, I talk to another neighbor. He is complaining to me that he has 22 unwanted horses that he wants to get rid of. There is no market for them. There used to be. We used to have a processing plant in Illinois where unwanted horses could be sold. Their meat was then sold to France or Italy or some other country. The meat is good. Why should it be wasted? Once again, thanks to the government with the help of the Humane Society and PETA, they have shut down all of the horse processing plants in the U.S. What are we to do -- take the poor animals out on the South 40, shoot them, and bury them with an end loader?

I thought that by going to the farm I could get away from the government – silly me. I should have known better.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to

About the author: Senior Policy Advisor in the law firm of Olsson, Frank, and Weeda, John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food, and health. His accomplishments in agriculture began with the building of a large and successful hog operation in his home state of Illinois where he also served as the Director of Agriculture from 1977-1981. He was tapped by President Reagan to serve as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981to 1985 where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of Food Distributors International (formerly the National American Wholesale Grocers Association) from 1986 to January 2003.

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