There have been plenty of distractions over the last year on and off the farm. The farm bill that never was stirred speculation late into November; drought reaked havoc on much of the southwest; and the price of an acre of farmland has shot up 32 percent in Iowa over the last year. On this week's Field Notes, a look back at some of the big stories in agriculture in 2011.
Newt Gingrich has seen his once-sizable lead in Iowa collapse over the past couple of weeks. One of Gingrich's rivals, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, has taken to the airwaves with very tough ads targeting the former House speaker. And a pro-Mitt Romney super PAC has also run ads criticizing Gingrich. All this raises a question: Does traditional, on-the-airwaves negative advertising still work?
Today, Syria signed an agreement that would allow Arab League observers into the country. It's all in a bid to end its isolation and the nine-month standoff between the government of President Bashar Assad and protesters who are demanding his ouster.
Margaret Thatcher's policies as British prime minister earned her the nickname "The Iron Lady," and now that's also the title of a new film about her life.
Thatcher was famously tough on British labor unions, IRA hunger strikers, the Soviet Union and the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. So in the film, when visiting U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig questions Thatcher's knowledge of war, the then-prime minister's response is predictably unyielding.