• Holly Spangler

    Five Favorite Farm Photos

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 30, 2013

    Is it really Day 30 already? To round out our final day of the 30 Days|FIVE Things series, I'm sharing my five favorite photos. And let me just tell you, it was not easy. This list could've been ten times as long. But here they are, some taken a year ago and some taken 14 years ago. Scroll down to the gallery and click through. You can pause as needed, and advance to the next slide when you're ready. Thanks for following along this month! Five Things: The Series Day…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Sometimes A Great Moment

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on November 29, 2013

    I can't get over the feeling that we are on the brink of a great agricultural age. When I look at how the world population is about to mushroom, combined with the fact our industry has never been so technologically tweaked to precision and efficiency, it seems our time has come. How can it not be so? Food is the elemental essential, and that is what we do. As the global community widens an unprecedented need for protein and fundamental nutrients, our role will become more pivotal than…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things to Get a Farmer for Christmas

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 29, 2013

    1. Art. Illinois farm girl and "Keeping it Real" design guru extraordinaire Erin Ehnle is now selling prints and canvases of her most popular designs. I'm a fan of the canvas; they are beautifully done and the quality is excellent and you don't need a frame. You just hang them. She has an online gallery and the Christmas shopping has never been easier. 2. Smartphone protection. What farmer doesn't need an Otterbox to protect his or her smartphone? Their…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things for Which I Am Thankful

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 28, 2013

    1.  I like turkey as much as the next beef producer, but I am grateful to have grown up in a house where Thanksgiving meant beef. And that it wasn't until I was a teenager when I began to wonder what these "turkey day" traditions were all about. But I am a major fan of the leftover turkey sandwich, and the turkey itself. So there's that. 2.  Thanksgivings with family around the table. I know; so obvious. But I will forever remember Thanksgiving 2011 as the last with…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Al Gustin's New Book Chronicles Ag Changes

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 28, 2013

    Al Gustin’s new book, “Farm Byline,” is a good read and it might be a good Christmas gift for someone on your list. Gustin recently retired from a 45-year career as an ag journalist in North Dakota. The book is a collection of the columns he wrote for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives between 1974 and today. The columns in the book I liked best were about his own life on the farm and the everyday life of North Dakota farmer and ranchers &ndash…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Al Gustin's New Book Chronicles Ag Changes

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 28, 2013

    Al Gustin’s new book, “Farm Byline” is a good read and it might be a good Christmas gift for someone on your list. Gustin recently retired from a 45-year career as an ag journalist in North Dakota. The book is a collection of the columns he wrote for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives between 1974 and today. The columns in the book I liked best were about his own life on the farm and the everyday life of North Dakota farmer and ranchers &ndash…

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  • Paula Mohr

    When Minnesota Agriculture Makes Metro News

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on November 27, 2013

    I spent last Saturday attending both the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation's and the Minnesota Farmers Union's annual meetings in Bloomington and Minneapolis, respectively. Attendance at both meetings was strong. Delegates at both farm organizations re-elected their current leadership. MFBF delegates re-elected Kevin Paap to his fifth term as president. MFU delegates gave approval for Doug Peterson's seventh term as president and re-elected Gary Wertish as vice-president. Both…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Blogging Into Winter

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on November 27, 2013

    I have met people who say they actually like it when the time change brings early day darkness along with cold rain, snow and otherwise nasty weather. I am a spring person pretty much, but do enjoy the low sun months of October and November, as you know. There is a cozy cottage mystique about this time of year when we cloister in our little nesties and light a fire in the fireplace and sip a little Cabernet as we curl with the new Stephen King thriller. Yep, there is something to be said for…

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  • Frank Holdmeyer

    Nesting Habitat Key to Pheasant Numbers

    The Bigger Picture

     by Frank Holdmeyer
     on November 27, 2013

    The farm my wife and her siblings own has been in the Conservation Reserve Program for many, many years. In the early years we had fairly decent numbers of pheasants on the farm in east central Iowa. As the years progressed, the grass "matt" became thicker and thicker and the pheasant population declined. Of course, there are many factors involved such as weather, but just because it is CRP doesn't mean it is good habitat for pheasants. Wildlife biologists will tell you chicks…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Looking Ahead at Global Farm Equipment Market

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 27, 2013

    During Agritechnica recently the Agrievolution Alliance released its eighth survey among manufacturers and importers of machines. From the report, more than half responding say the business situation is good or very good, pushing the Agritech Business Climate index up three points. The group notes that global equipment sales should rise as much as 7% in 2014, good news for a market that may be feeling a bit of a pinch with sliding crop prices into the new year. According to the report, the…

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  • Don McCabe

    Wind Farms Are Local Revenue Raisers

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on November 27, 2013

    In the December Nebraska Farmer, you'll see that I dedicated the cover and two pages inside the issue with features stories on Nebraska's oppressive farmland property taxes. One of the features I wrote outlined the Nebraska Farm Bureau's three-year proposal to cut local property taxes. Make sure you read about that proposal. I doubt the Nebraska Tax Modernization Committee, when it issues its final report to the full Unicameral later in December, will recommend any serious property…

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  • John Vogel

    Hey, Ag Student! Here's How To Snag A Top Ag Job

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 27, 2013

    A while back, I blogged about young people excited about food production and agricultural careers. (See Insiders_secrets.) They were right to be excited. While many industries have scaled back jobs, U.S. agriculture grew and prospered right through the Great Recession. It's still a booming industry. No, not everyone will go back to the family farm after finishing school. But today's agriculture is far larger than the family farm. I'm an expert, of sort. I rode that road. While I…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things I Want My Kids to Know Before They Leave My House

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 27, 2013

    1. How to appreciate good, wholesome food. That they know what a balanced meal looks like. Fruits, veggies, good meats, milk. Sweets in moderation. 2. How to cook. From scratch. That they will leave my house knowing what to do with a chuck roast. Or a sack of flour. Or a packet of yeast. 3. What our livestock mean. That they might understand not only the purpose for the livestock we raise but that through caring for them and giving them a comfortable life, they'd gain a real appreciation…

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  • Curt Arens

    Anger Management in a Rural Community

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 26, 2013

    In small towns and rural neighborhoods, it takes lots of elbow grease and volunteerism to make things tick. Our quality of life in rural America is due, in part, to the selflessness of our citizens. If we see something that needs to be done, we don’t wait for Congress to act or for a federal program to kick in. We just roll up our sleeves and get it done. It has always been that way, and continues on today. Because there are fewer folks to rely on in small towns, many citizens attempt to…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Farmers Help Community Build New High School Track

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on November 26, 2013

    It's not uncommon for farmers and other community members to work together to support the community, from volunteering with local 4-H and FFA programs to donating to those in need. When interviewing a farmer in Marshall County, Kansas last week, I learned how 42 volunteers helped the Axtell community by constructing Axtell High School's first track, which was finished this spring. "Axtell high school has never had a track for its track team," says Marshall County farmer, Bill…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Iowa Defends Renewable Fuel Standard

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on November 26, 2013

    Ethanol and biodiesel supporters have come out swinging to defend their industry. They are mounting an all-out effort to try to persuade the Obama Administration to reverse its proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced it wants to reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol required to be mixed into the nation's gasoline supply in 2014. Iowa, the leading state in production of biofuels, has a lot at stake. Iowa farm…

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  • Josh Flint

    I'm Thankful To Be An American

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 26, 2013

    Holly Spangler has done a terrific job of blogging this November. In anticipation of Thanksgiving, she’s written about Five Things that she’s thankful for each day this month. Last week, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I stumbled upon a different sort of Thanksgiving blog. It was a list of things folks from other countries didn’t believe were true about America until they moved here. (Thank you Thomas Marten for posting this.) As you scroll through the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things about GMOs

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 26, 2013

    Five resources for when you hear… 1. GMOs cause tumors. In rats. Special French rats. You know, I can see what this one has gotten traction. Rats with super giant GM-fueled tumors growing from their heads? Those are the kinds of phrases activists dream of. But even other French scientists couldn't get on board with it. The New York Times reported last year that France's six scientific academies issued a "rare joint statement" dismissing the rat study. The leader of the…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Ten Reasons to Be Thankful This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 25, 2013

    Thanksgiving is a time families gather, eat turkey, get stuffed, and watch football. If you let the holiday go without counting blessings, however, you miss a real opportunity to give yourself a lift and help you get a new perspective on life. Here are 10 things I'm thankful for. Your list will be different. You're a winner if you take time to list 10 reasons you're thankful this holiday season. Ten. A good crop year. I don't raise one grain of corn, I just write about it. But…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Farmers Need to Know about Consumers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 25, 2013

    1. Consumers are concerned about the long-term health effects of biotechnology and pesticides. They're looking at down-the-road diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity, the "unknown." I sat and talked about some of those questions with a group of Chicago field moms during the Larson Farms tour earlier this fall. This is not based on any research and is completely anecdotal, but I shared with them that I really believe if pesticides and biotech were causing cancer we would see…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Favorite Verses from the Bible

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 24, 2013

    1. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. This was a favorite in college, when it served as reminder that He had a plan when I didn't know past this semester. Fast forward a few years and actually study more of Jeremiah, and I find even more comfort in the next verse: "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." He…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Warning Hunters, The Farmer Is Checking Cows

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on November 22, 2013

    A friend of ours came over last weekend to deliver a load of round hay bales. As he jumped out of the truck cab, the blaze orange cap was hard to miss. I asked if he had been hunting earlier in the day. “No, I went to check the cows and I thought, better safe than sorry,” he replied. Hunting season is here. During this time of year, I wake many mornings to the sound of “Pop. Pop. Pop.” I know that hunters, some from the city, some from my area, are in the woods. Still…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Hot Topics At The Great Plains Land Expo

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 22, 2013

    The three breakout sessions at the recent Great Plains Land Expo in Fargo, N.D., that appeared to attract the most people were about land values, land rents and mineral rights. Lynn Paulson, Bell State Bank, Fargo N.D., handled topic “Farmland Values From A Lender’s Perspective.” He said he didn’t think there was a land bubble. And he didn’t that bubble people fear is out there was about to burst, despite the fact that the local cash corn price in some parts of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things We've Learned from Our Mothers-in-Law

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 22, 2013

    1. Help out. Christy Lee says her mother-in-law, Theta Lee taught her to get involved in the community. When Theta married and moved to their small town 40 years ago, she dove in and volunteered for good causes. So has Christy. Side benefit? If you're new to town, you get to know the people with whom you'll be working and living the rest of your life. 2. Be who you are. Amy Buhrow on Marjorie Buhrow: "My mother-in-law is the complete package: kind, selfless, giving, a model…

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  • Paula Mohr

    The Other Side of Local

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on November 21, 2013

    When the metro newspaper arrives on Thursdays, one section is devoted to food. By the time I am done reading it, which is usually when I'm eating lunch, I've got some good suggestions for new recipes and restaurants to try. My favorite restaurant reviewer is truly an artistic food journalist. He paints savory word pictures with his adjective-laden prose about foods he has sampled at restaurants all over the greater metro area. Last week, he featured a new restaurant that noted on its…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Attacks On Corn Ethanol Continue

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on November 21, 2013

    First it was that widely circulated Associated Press article last week that blamed ethanol for soil erosion and other environmental problems. Then the federal Environmental Protection Agency released its proposal to reduce the required use of corn-based ethanol in 2014 in the nation's gasoline supply. The attacks on corn ethanol keep coming. Late last week the Environmental Protection Agency released its 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations or RVOs under the Renewable Fuel Standard. RVOs are…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Chapters

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 21, 2013

    I am wary to share this as plans can (obviously) change but for now, here are five working chapter titles for the book at which I am pecking away. This is subject to change and they are not in order. And they may change. Did I mention that? 1. Carhartts and Diesels and Wranglers, Amen 2. Grit and Other Dirt-Like Substances 3. The End of a Long Road 4. What's Wrong with Modern Food Production (And It's Not the Production Part) 5. The Grouchy Princess and Other Tales from the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Farmers Said

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 20, 2013

    One of the greater perks of being a farmer and of interviewing farmers for your job is that they will often say something that changes the way you think. Maybe about farming, or cattle, or family, or life. Here are five that come to mind, mentioned in the course of interviews or just plain-old good conversations. 1. David Erickson, on buying farmland: "There's never been a time in my farming career when we bought land and thought we could afford it. But we've always been glad we…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Calming Sound of an Aeration Fan Roaring

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 19, 2013

    You can buy these CDs with calming sounds like babbling brooks, waterfalls and ocean waves. They have CDs with tweeting birds and crickets chirping in the night. All of these are meant to bring calm and peace to our busy, noisy lives. Forget it. None of these help me out at all. If I want to hear birds and crickets, I only need to open a window to hear these sounds in abundance, along with bellowing cows, yelping coyotes and turkeys gobbling in our grove. These are peaceful sounds, there is no…

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  • Mike and Sheilah Reskovac

    Why God Gave Us 'Buddy Seats'

    Two Hearts, One Harvest

     by Mike and Sheilah Reskovac
     on November 19, 2013

    Sheilah: “Oh, Oh! Look! A ringneck! And there's another! Awww, and a baby one! Move ringnecks! Get out of the way. Combinder coming through!” Mike: “Honey, your missing rows . . .. What's going on? Why are you stopping?” Sheilah: “See the ringnecks? I want pictures.” Ah, just one of the memories from our 2013 harvest season – our first as a married couple. Not every day was as fun or as memorable as that particular day. Some were a blur, and…

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  • Tim White

    Randall Reeder Presents Will Rogers

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on November 19, 2013

    As Congress continues to debate a Farm Bill, it's fun the dig up the words of one of America's best loved commentators Will Rogers, who wrote in 1933: "I was there on the historic day when Congress actually passed the inflation bill tacked on to the farm bill. Never in the history of the world has such a gigantic piece of legislation ever passed. It was more than gigantic, it was even big. It gives relief to the farmer in so many different ways that even if he received no relief…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Parents Do in the Back of 4-H Meetings

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 19, 2013

    1.  Try to avoid saying things like, "When I was in 4-H…" Fail. 2.  Decline calls from the senile but lovely elderly woman in Galesburg who has mistaken my number for her daughter's. She's even taken to leaving me messages like, "I've lost something. And I don't even know who I'm talking to." Me either, ma'am. Me either. I feel like we're gonna be tight by Christmas, though. 3.  Text and/or Facebook with other parents who…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why You Should Chat With Your Extension Educator

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 18, 2013

    Perhaps the famous picture of the old-time county extension agent visiting a farm with a 4-H member and seeing him work with his Guernsey heifer is a bit out of date. It's a nice reminder of times gone by. But it's far from indicative of how modern Extension educators have changed with the times to provide information and services their community needs. Somewhere between when that picture was painted and today, many no longer contact their Extension agent, now called an educator, for…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Places I'm Glad I've Been

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 18, 2013

    1. The Edwards County Fair. It feels like home. I'd go back in a heartbeat but a) it's the same week as my (new) home fair and b) it wouldn't be the same. And that's the way it should be. 2. Sweden. It was eye opening. It changed my perspective on the world. And on my country. All in a good way. 3. Banff National Park. As a naïve 18-year-old, I traveled to Canada as part of a world trade mission for Shorthorns. I kid. I was a Lassie queen and the Canadians invited us up…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Wrapping up a Big Show

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 17, 2013

    Agritechnica wrapped up Saturday and the DLG Team, along with VDMA, were happy with the results. Of the 2900 exhibitors on hand 52% were from outside Germany. In fact there were 47 countries represented on the exhibit stand. Reinhard Grandke, DLG, called Agritechnica a "workshop for the future" and there was plenty of hot new tech on hand. The challenge I had in viewing all of that was the proliferation of all those monitors. I'm not a big fan of the "mission control"…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Crazy Timing For Ethanol Cutback

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 17, 2013

    It’s ironic that EPA announced its proposal to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard precisely the same week the retail price gas fell below $3 per gallon and just as farmers were wrapping up a harvest that’s so big that there will be enough corn for food, feed and fuel with plenty to spare -- and corn will cost half of what it did last year. Isn’t this what consumers wanted? Cheaper fuel? Cheaper feed? Cheaper food? Some blame Big Oil for the proposed cutback in the Renewable…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Ways to Jazz Up a Field Lunch

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 16, 2013

        It is at this point in the season that I begin to lose my will to pack another lunch. Actually, I lie; I lost it about three weeks ago. Nonetheless, with so many of us so close to winding up harvest, here are a few lunch pail ideas, collected over the years. And please, comment away with your ideas below. It's November 16 and I need all the help I can get. 1. Kings Hawaiian Mini-Sub Rolls. Who doesn't love Hawaiian sweet bread? I found these mini-sub rolls at our local…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Antique Plow Day Draws Young and Old

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on November 15, 2013

    Last Saturday, I made the trek from Kansas City up to Conway, Iowa – about 45 minutes from where I grew up, to check out the 9th Annual Fall Antique Plow Day. For those who have never been to Conway, it's a town of 40, as of the 2012 Census, in Taylor County in southwest Iowa. Mike Sleep, who lives in Olathe, Kansas, one of the original organizers of the event, says it started with him and a couple friends with plows that hadn't seen daylight in a while, including his own…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Give Thanks, You Live In A Small Town

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on November 15, 2013

    My 17-year-old daughter, Cassidy, called crying from the car. She had pumped her gas tank full, grabbed a soda and candy bar and went to pay the cashier. Her debit card was declined. But what transpired after displays the true heart of rural America. First, this was not our daughter’s fault. The blame lies squarely on her parents shoulders. We have one daughter in college, the other a senior in high school and both using the same bank account. And with more than one account, we did…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things About Jenna

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 15, 2013

    1. At the end of my pregnancy with her, she would put her little feet against my lower ribs and push. Up. Hard. There was nothing to do but go lie down and take shallow breaths, because it was as if she were trying to stretch out and bust out. As if she had big things to do and no more time for this womb business. In literature, this is known as foreshadowing. 2. I have purchased and read no less than three books about strong-willed children, in my effort to understand and parent her…

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  • Fran O

    It’s Time to Count Our Blessings

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on November 14, 2013

    Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is just around the corner. Families and friends everywhere are gathering to share great food and celebrate the good things in each of our lives. It’s also a good time to re?ect back on the year and count our many blessings. That may seem hard in a year plagued by a cold, wet spring and summer drought, but there are still plenty of reasons for Wisconsin farmers to be grateful in 2013. Weather woes Farmers across much of the state battled cold…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things to Love About 4-H

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 14, 2013

    1. Work today pays off tomorrow. Our county's adopted legislator, straight from the Chicago suburbs, visited our place a couple summers ago. We had a wonderful visit; she brought along her husband and her three teenage/pre-teenage children. Our kids had a ball. And she remarked that she couldn't believe our kids get up and feed bottle calves and show cattle, all before getting ready for school. It's true. But our kids wouldn't have it any other way. These are their animals and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    If this is Mittwoch, or Wednesday, it's all the Same

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 13, 2013

    After years of working at Farm Progress, there are just some truths a person deals with. Deadlines keep coming. Farmers ask great questions. And Wednesdays are big at the farm shows. Turns out that last one could be a truism for other shows too. As we made the trek from hotel to show site at Agritechnica this morning we discovered there were quite a few more people on hand going into the show than on Tuesday. Over here in Germany Mittwoch is Wednesday (Mittwoch means mid-week), and it sure…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Corn Comes Through

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 13, 2013

     “This field is running 120 bushels an acre,” said Mitch Wanzek, Windsor, N.D., as I rode with him while he combined corn today. “This summer we didn’t think it would make 20 bushels per acre,” he added. On their farm in central North Dakota near Jamestown, they had too much rain early, which delayed emergence and even washed some corn seed out of the furrows on the slopes. Then it stopped raining and stayed dry for much of the summer.  “The rain…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Misleading Food Labels

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 13, 2013

    1. "No high fructose corn syrup!" The question to ask here is whether the product had any high fructose corn syrup to start with. Because like any good marketing ploy, companies have been known to jump on the band wagon and declare their product free of something it never had to start with. Also, if you've been told HFCS is bad because of all the processing, consider this: sugar cubes do not grow on trees. It's all been processed, people. Incidentally, we may see less of this…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    A Week At Home Is No Vacation

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on November 12, 2013

    The word vacation truly isn't in a farmer's vocabulary. I had a few days off and decided to go back home to Nebraska and spend the time with family. I knew there would be little to no down time, but what I got instead was so much more rewarding - quality time bonding time with the parents. I was hoping that the crops would be ready to harvest, but I was about a week too early. I spent the first day catching up on all the projects going on. Most current one is finishing the new calf…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things I've Learned About Grief

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 12, 2013

    1. When my former roommate was killed by a drunk driver in college, her family's car broadsided by a drunk driver in a quiet rural intersection, I sat dumbfounded for months by the idea that a half a second would've made all the difference. And that our lives are not by chance. And that's what makes them worth the living. 2. The heartbreak of grief lies in the small moments they're missing. The way I know my mom, a teacher, would've loved how Caroline not only loves…

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  • Curt Arens

    There Are Always Strings Attached

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 12, 2013

    This past weekend, I attended the annual meeting of the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska in O’Neill and heard an excellent panel discussion from State Senators Al Davis, Dave Bloomfield and Jerry Johnson covering almost every topic of interest under the sun. The three senators spoke, discussed and answered questions for nearly three hours, and their comments were enlightening on many aspects of the issues before the Unicameral this upcoming short session. We’ll be talking…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Agritechnica Exhibitors Tell Their Stories

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 11, 2013

    We're covering Agritechnica this week in Hannover, Germany and I hope to blog a couple times here at Farmer Iron about the experience. European trade shows are giant affairs held in super bring and modern exhibit facilities creating a different atmosphere from a U.S. farm show. And Agritechnica is the granddaddy of them all. This giant farm show housed in about 84 acres of indoor space offers show visitors plenty to see from more than 2900 exhibitors. And of those 1,500 are international…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Why Iowa Needs A Farm Bill Now

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on November 11, 2013

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was in Des Moines last week. The former Iowa governor says he's hopeful Congress will pass a new farm bill by the end of 2013. He cites several reasons for bipartisan support, why Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate should iron-out their differences. First, consumers will pay substantially higher prices for milk and other dairy products if a farm bill isn't passed and signed into law. USDA will be forced to revert to the enabling…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Sometimes It Takes a 2 by 4 To Get My Attention

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 11, 2013

    You've likely either just wrapped up harvest or will soon. It's the end to another chapter in your farming career – an entire growing season. You only get 35 to 40 or so in a career, so it's important to learn from each one. The lessons may be more than about how to grow crops. What kind of things did you learn about working with your family; about what's important in life? Raising good crops and working long hours to get the crop out on time are important, but are they…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Farm Blogs I Love

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 11, 2013

    A note: this is in no way comprehensive and would be a much lengthier list if not for the FIVE THINGS thing. I chose these five because they are written by farmers or by folks in transition to farm or ranch, and for their ability to tackle the tough subjects. There are many great agricultural blogs. Amen. 1. The Farmer's Life. Just the facts, straight from Brian Scott's Indiana farm. Plus some great visuals on transparency, like this post about the technology agreement he signs to grow…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Soybeans Looks More Profitable Than Corn In 2014

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 9, 2013

    Move over corn. Soybeans may be more profitable than in 2014. And wheat may be a contender. In South Dakota State University’s early crop budgets, soybeans look as if they will be more profitable than corn given current market price projections and input cost estimates, says Jack Davis, South Dakota State University farm management specialist. Using a projected corn price of $4.15 per bushel and projected soybean price of $10.80 per bushel, returns to management and labor favor…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things I Like on My Desk

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 9, 2013

    1. Pencils. Yellow. Number 2. (I don't care if I write on a computer. I'm a writer, darnit, and I need pencils!) 2. Colored Sharpie pens. For the pretty. I'm maybe a little obsessed with them and they make my ridiculous handwriting look a little nicer. Actually, a lot nicer. (You know that line in Steel Magnolias where Clairee says, "You have the handwriting of a serial killer"? She was actually talking about me. My husband confirms.) 3. File folders. For the illusion of…

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  • Frank Holdmeyer

    Thirty-Year-Old Predictions Come True

    The Bigger Picture

     by Frank Holdmeyer
     on November 8, 2013

      Back in the late 1970s I was machinery editor for Farm Progress and I took the time to visit all the major machinery manufacturers at the time. One of my questions was "look into your crystal ball. What do you see twenty, thirty years down the road in terms of farm equipment?" One of the answers was "someday there will be only two or three farm equipment manufacturers as in the automotive industry." That has come to pass. Another was "in the future farmers…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm shows, travel and ag tech

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 8, 2013

    Agricultural equipment is always a hot topic. Farmers like to see what's new even if they're not planning to buy right way. That's true around the world. And while I've been going to farm shows for quite some time (not as long as many of you dear reader, but long enough) seldom do I venture out of the country. That changes next week. I'm heading to Hannover, Germany to cover Agritechnica. It's a big event spread through more than a dozen exhibition buildings at Hannover…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things I Didn't Know When I Married a Farmer

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 8, 2013

    1. That I might awake in the night to John asking if I could handle the sprayer. And then panic because NO. And then he would fall back asleep and I would lie there wide awake, still panicked, but relieved he was talking in his sleep. 2. That it would become so easy to learn to roll with it. Maybe because I saw it play out time and again throughout my youth: Dad opened the back door and said, "Hey, Suz, you busy?" And just like that, my mother's morning disappeared. Or maybe her…

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  • Don McCabe

    More Than 5 Decades Promoting UNL And Agriculture

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on November 7, 2013

    We normally shy away from feature articles about retirements. As a monthly publication, we could fill the Nebraska Farmer each edition with "good-bye and thank you" stories from the many producers, researchers, educators and other leaders in Nebraska who have had a big impact on agriculture. But I'm making an exception in this blog to comment on an education and communications legend who often toiled under the radar in his 57-year career. Yes, that's nearly six…

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  • Josh Flint

    Women Are Smarter Than Men

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 7, 2013

    Earlier today, Holly Spangler wrote a terrific blog post with five photography tips. Give it a read. You’ll notice I’m the star, albeit in a Barney Fife sort of way, of the second tip. Now, I’d like to give you the “rest of the story.” It’s a great point in how men and women have completely different thought processes. So, yes, a group of 8-10 women asked me to take a photo of them at Ag Media Summit. I was handed approximately four cameras &ndash…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Tips for Better Photographs

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 7, 2013

    1. Depth of field. You know those beautiful portraits where the backgrounds are blurred out and the subjects virtually jump out of the photo? That's due to a shallow depth of field. You will not re-create the look of a professional portrait with a point-and-shoot camera, but you can make a snapshot portrait look better by paying attention to depth of field and by creating a shallow(er) depth of field. In short: zoom in, step backwards until it's framed properly, focus on your subject…

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  • John Vogel

    Mad As 'H' Over FDA's Food Safety Act Overreach!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 6, 2013

    I intended to continue on last week's theme about agriculture's huge career potential for young people. That was until I read excerpts from the latest proposed regulations of FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act. Reading most of the original FDA FSMA law, I discovered scant references to what farmers could and couldn't do to raise food crops. Initially, we were placated by wordage that smaller scale producers of fresh market foods would be exempted. Then came pages and pages of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Opportunities to Learn Come From Odd Places

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 6, 2013

    Sometimes there are opportunities to learn about life that just appear out of nowhere. On Wednesday, I took a few grandkids with me to take pictures for the December magazine at a Christmas tree farm. What can go wrong, right? Kids, Christmas trees, lots of space, long distance from roads? So, I’m checking out the trees, talking to the owner about the lingering effects of two years of drought and how a tree farmer goes about helping his trees recover when we hear “Oh, No! Oh…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Carbon Credits Coming For Grassland

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 6, 2013

    Farmers and ranchers who maintain grassland easements in the Dakotas might be able to earn an extra one time payment of $16 to $25 per acre in carbon credits in the future. Ducks Unlimited, NRCS and several private organizations have created a carbon credit program for grasslands. Enrolled land could not be tilled, but it could be put in a conservation program or used for grazing and/or haying. The carbon credit payment would be in addition to any conservation easement payments. The payment…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things I've Learned as an Ag Journalist

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 6, 2013

    1. We take freedom of the press for granted in America. During our time in Sweden last year, I met journalists from countries where the press is either semi-free or recently free. Decades of reading only what the government sanctions or prints leads to a general distrust of virtually everyone and everything. Consider this as well: in countries where there's no free press, there's also hunger. It is no coincidence. Absolute power begets absolute corruption. Our press may not be perfect…

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  • Curt Arens

    Honored to Talk With Water-drive Irrigation Experts

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 5, 2013

    If you’ve had enough time out of the combine cab recently to read the cover story of the November issue of Nebraska Farmer, you know that I had a fun assignment in August. I was honored to be able to visit with Don Fling, an Ainsworth farmer who has a direct connection to the earliest days of pivot irrigation in Nebraska. If you’ve read anything I’ve written over the years, you may have picked up the fact that I love history, especially Nebraska history of all kinds. I…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things I'm Reading Now

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 5, 2013

    1. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen. It is a rare writer who can make you love her writing, even when you disagree with virtually all of her basic tenants on life. Quindlen communicates the human experience like no other writer of our time. In my opinion. 2. Tribes, by Seth Godin. Who do we follow and why? 3. How Michael Pollan Misuses Journalist Power. Enough said. But if anything has ever made you angry about the GMO debate, this may top it. 4. Little House on the Prairie…

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  • Paula Mohr

    If Animals 'Suffer,' Why Wait?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on November 4, 2013

    An animal rights group released another spliced-together video about alleged animal abuse. The most recent one showed video from a Pipestone System hog barn, unveiled at an Oct. 29 press conference. An undercover employee reportedly shot hidden-camera video in August and September while working at the farm over a 10-week period. The video shows a worker euthanizing runts by using blunt force trauma, piglets getting castrated and having their tails removed, and sows confined in gestation…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up?

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on November 4, 2013

    My youngest daughter, Emily, is 17 and a junior in high school, which means we're intently focused on developing a career path and identifying potential colleges. We've been talking about her interests for some time. She loves science and the outdoors. She's also very bright, task oriented and organized. In eighth grade, she told me she wanted to be an archeologist. Ok, I said, and left it at that. But, as she got older, I prompted her to think a little more about her career…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Farm Accidents Hit Home

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on November 4, 2013

    Driving west on Highway 36 as the sun went down in north central Kansas, where I spent my Halloween, I heard a local advertisement on the radio with a message that is all too familiar: more farm accidents occur during harvest than any other time of year. This tragically hit home the week before, when a 5-year-old girl was killed while riding in the combine with her father in Dickinson County, Kansas, about an hour and a half from where I was at the time. Several days later, another farm…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    The Great Debate On GMO Crops

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on November 4, 2013

    Iowa farmer Bill Horan's prediction about biotechnology drew jeers from the anti-GMO people in the audience at a debate a couple weeks ago in Des Moines. Horan said he believes two decades from now, every livestock animal and crop used to feed the world's increasing population will be genetically enhanced. He added, "People will look back 20 years from now, and say, "Gosh, what was all the fuss about?" An overflow crowd of 250-plus listened to Horan and five others…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Who Wants Your Property Rights as a Landowner?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 4, 2013

    My office walls are adorned with various versions of the Prairie Farmer No Trespassing Sign, some dating back decades. One tin sign also talks about Prairie Farmer's Protective Union. The Protective Union was an effort to follow up on problems farmers were having, from disputes with neighbors to companies that didn't deliver a quality product through the mail. In these days of complicated legal jargon, it takes a bank of attorneys to solve some of those issues, and the Protective Union…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things an Honest Farmwife Admits

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 4, 2013

    In an age of social media and well-conceived status updates and our ability to feel bad about ourselves based on that enemy of comparison, my favorite new phrase is that you should never compare your background footage to someone else's highlight reel. With that in mind, here's my background footage. And you can bet there's more where that came from. 1.  My greatest fear is doing something completely ridiculous and plugging the grain leg and every fall my prayer is this…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Our Farm Boy Said

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 3, 2013

    1.  John and Nathan went to check out a used 318 John Deere lawnmower, with a hand throttle so Nathan could operate it. They looked it over. Nathan leaned in and said, "Dad. This is one sweet lawnmower." 2.  Jenna: "Someday, I'm gonna sing the Star Spangler Banner at the Super Bowl."     Nathan: "I'm gonna play football in college and in the Super Bowl."     Jenna: "Yeah, like that's gonna…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Biological Barcodes Could Track Food Back To The Farm

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 2, 2013

    File this under “gee-whiz technology that might be coming soon.” Or maybe file it under “if you didn’t like premise identification, you’re going to hate this.” An Ohio based company says it is developing a biological barcode that would be injected into or onto produce so that food safety officials can tell what farm it comes from. The technology has its roots biological barcodes. Not long ago, scientists discovered that the bacteria, fungi and other…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things I Loved About Growing Up on a Farm

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 2, 2013

    1. The walking to check cows. Because Dad didn't believe in three-wheelers back then. 2. The banter in the barn. Chucking bales and sweating and talking. Accomplishing something together. Mom, Dad, my brother and me. 3. The Class A license my dad made me get when I was 16. I still feel (overly) prideful and (unnecessarily) cool that I have that. Never mind that I still can't drive a 13-gear manual transmission. 4. The chance to try. When my dad sent me out (with my new aforementioned…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Don’t Worry, The Farmer Will Work 7 Days For Your Food

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on November 1, 2013

    My husband saw it first. Then he beckoned to me. As I entered my daughter’s bedroom, he pulled open the window blinds. Since her room overlooks the back pasture, I knew the view was not going to be good. There, sprawled out on the ground, was a dead ewe. I was already dressed for Sunday morning church service. My husband and I were scheduled to watch over the children in the nursery. Unfortunately, my husband had to change his plans. He put on his coveralls, donned his muck boots and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days: Five Things About Five Things

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 1, 2013

    Ok. It's November 1 and that means it's time for 30 Days! Without further ado: the series this year is 30 Days of Five Things. A different list every day. Of five things. A sampling: Five Things an Honest Farmwife Admits. Five Things I've Learned as an Ag Journalist. Five Things Our Farm Boy Said. Five Things I Like on My Desk. Five Farm Blogs I Love. Five Things You Need to Know at the Grocery Story. Five Biggest Misleading Labels. Five Things to Tell Your Friends About…

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