What Does Joni Ernst Have To Do With The Price Of Soybeans In Iowa?

2020 Congressional Elections

Last night's dueling presidential town halls were not the only major political event happening last night. In Iowa, Senator Joni Ernst faced Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield in a debate — and, in what former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg called the "most Midwestern moment in the history of televised debates," completely bungled a question on an issue of utmost importance to her constituents. A question about the price of soybeans.


Moderator #1: What's the breakeven price for soybeans in Iowa? You grew up on a farm you should know this.

Ernst: Ah, I think you had asked about corn, and I ...

Moderator #1: I asked her (Greenfield) corn

Ernst: It depends on what the inputs are, but probably about $5.50

Moderator #1: Well you're a couple dollars off I think here, 'cause it's $10.05, but we'll move onto something else

Ernst: (smugly) And I don't think Ms. Greenfield answered either

Moderator #2: She actually did with the price of corn, we had asked for the price of soybeans from you, Senator.

Sadly for Ernst, if she loses this race, she probably does not have a bright future ahead of her as a contestant on The Price is Right.

Now, I don't know how much soybeans cost and I only learned what a breakeven point was when I looked it up 10 minutes ago. There is not a world in which I could tell you anything about soybeans or farming or math or, actually, very much about Iowa that is not a direct reference to The Music Man. I am, in fact, a little bit afraid of cornfields if you want the truth.

No thank you! Giphy

But I am not running for a US Senate seat in Iowa! But you know who does know about corn? And who is running for a US Senate seat in Iowa? Theresa Greenfield! Like, boy does she ever know about corn and also farm debt — and she explains these things so eloquently that even I, an absolute moron in this area, can sort of tell what she is talking about. Let's watch her "not answer"!


Moderator #1: What's the breakeven price for a bushel of corn in Iowa this week?

Greenfield: Well a bushel of corn is going for about $3.68 today, $3.69 and breakeven just really depends on the amount of debt someone has. I suspect there's farmers that are breaking even at that price. However, if their yields are down 50 percent, that's certainly not gonna cover it for 'em. I'll tell ya, we've had low commodity prices for too long, they've been "going out of business" prices.

Well! That is how you answer a question about the price of corn in Iowa! It's clear that she knows what she's talking about, even to me, a person who cannot actually currently recall how much the bag of corn she bought at Trader Joe's last week cost and is not totally sure what a bushel is. Or a peck! Are pecks a thing? Or is that just a song? I don't know!

I kid, but this is a very important issue to farmers in Iowa, it's their livelihoods, and they deserve someone who understands these things more than Joni Ernst or I do. Greenfield is currently leading in the polls, and her answer to this question is only going to help boost her further.


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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