Things have been quiet on the blog recently. I had some volunteer commitments take up more time than I expected. All the while, I was watching the shutdown drama and thinking how much this resembled the tantrums of the children in our project. The potential for disruption on the national scale is, of course, much larger but it is still seems like we are seeing a situation where reason and logic do not work. What issues are so crucial that the lives of people are held hostage? That is what happens when food safety programs are stopped, and there is a salmonella outbreak. Or what about the uncertainty in markets in the absence of reliable data and price signals as in the case of the hog market here? As we lurch further into the dark one wonders how it came to this low point. Is this the same farming system based on scientific knowledge that the Economist describes admiringly, that continues to innovate with great ideas, now condemned to chaos because the Farm Bill has (again!!) expired?