• Josh Flint

    Consumers Still Think "Factory Farms" Are Evil

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 29, 2012

    The names of this blog have been changed to protect the innocent. Otherwise, this is an accurate portrayal of a series of true events. As I was donating blood last week, I noticed Ellen’s monologue poked fun at the recent pink slime reports. I cued up Tweetdeck and typed something to the effect of, “Do we really think Americans would eat less pink slime if it was labeled?” I went on to say there are multiple instances of reports “revealing” what’s in some…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm Company Expands, Another Starts a Club

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 28, 2012

    This week we're picking through the ol' in-box and have found a couple of items of note. First, Kuhn Krause announced this week that it is expanding its Hutchinson, Kan., manufacturing facility. The $5 million investment includes a new 70,000-square foot "high bay" building expansion along with new machinery. The company says the expansion will complement "other investments made in 2011…and constitutes yet another major commitment by the Kuhn Group to manufacture and distribute…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The End of a Long Road

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 28, 2012

    The march toward the inevitable began last May. The diagnosis. The tears. The treatments. The hospital. Finally, hospice. My mother died last week. She was diagnosed as the corn went in the ground in southern Illinois last May: pancreatic cancer, inoperable because of both size and location, already spread to her liver and surrounding lymph nodes. Stage 4. The second-opinion doctor at Barnes actually told her, "You seem like a nice person. I'm sorry." It is difficult to…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why Did I Buy That Snow Thrower?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 27, 2012

    If you're superstitious, the fact that I bought a snow thrower on sale in early February may be why we haven't needed one since then. We got through winter with just over 8 inches in Indianapolis, and less than that to the South. It was a difficult decision. There I was in the store to buy something else, with the snow thrower marked down about 30% sitting on my way to buy what I went there to buy, and the store offering an extra 10% rebate on everything bought that day. Naturally, I didn't…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Time to Dig in the Dirt and Plant Something

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 26, 2012

    As a general rule, I make it to Easter before the urge to dig a hole and plant a seed somewhere becomes impossible to resist. Not this year. With 80 degree days hitting in early March, the trees blooming, the grass growing and the wheat beginning to wave in the wind, it's time. My kids always make fun of me at this time of year when they say the "farm kid" in Mom sure comes out. But my little grandson, Lewis, got right with the program Sunday when he saw Grandma with the shovel and the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Making Every Farm Input Count

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 26, 2012

        I hear it around town all the time. Farmers are making big money. Farmers are really doing well. Of course, for a small farm town, that’s good news, because when farmers have money, they spend it. They pay down debt, buy machinery, take their families out for local entertainment and build up their farmsteads and operations. Farmers and ranchers keep many rural towns moving. In an interview about irrigation efficiency, one farmer told me the other day that many folks…

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  • John Vogel

    Expect More Farm Weather Extemes? Yes!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 26, 2012

     Wow and Whoa! That pretty much describes the weather we’ve experienced since last summer. I hope you’re preparing for more of the same because it’s likely to test your management flexibility. On March 10 I stepped out the front door to be greeted by a butterfly. Spring didn’t just spring; It was flung upon us! My yard grass was nearly a half-a-foot high before I even had a chance to pray over my 60-something tractor mower. (No, I don’t mean 60 h.p. I mean…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Crop Got Just What It Needed

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 26, 2012

    The Kansas winter wheat crop got a much-needed shot of plentiful rainfall last week and is back to emerald green and growing fast with a return to 80-degree temperatures. Now the biggest threat to a bountiful wheat harvest is a late freeze after a virtually absent winter. In some places, wheat dormancy was extremely short-lived, if it happened at all. Across south-central Kansas, about a third of the crop is already jointed, which makes it susceptible to freeze. Moisture was an…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    In Hog Heaven in South Dakota

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 25, 2012

    I’ve had pork prepared about every way I can imagine it – barbequed, pulled, smothered with mushroom sauce, grilled, on a stick. They are all umm umm good. But I’ve never had pork with ice cream. Not pork and then big dish of ice cream as a dessert, but pork in ice cream. Until tonight. I was at the South Dakota Pork Producers Council's Taste of Elegance in Sioux Falls. Pork with ice cream was one of the dishes offered by one of the professional chefs competing in the…

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  • Josh Flint

    Mourning the Loss of Maralee Johnson

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 23, 2012

    There are certain people in this world who have the rare ability to put a smile on your face, regardless of the situation. Maralee Johnson was one of them. Her leadership at the Illinois Beef Association made it feel less like an association and more like a family. This was fitting, since most Illinois cattlemen would probably agree it's less of a business endeavor and more of a family affair. One of my favorite days on the job was serving up "beef sundaes" at the Illinois Beef…

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  • Tim White

    Manure Processor Announces New Fertilizer Plant

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on March 23, 2012

    Last July Moshem Amiran came to Maria Stein to show farmers and civic leaders his patented technique for processing livestock manure into organic fertilizer. Last week representatives of Amiran Technologies based in Oak Creek, Wis., returned to Maria Stein to unveil their plans for a 25,000 square foot plant to process manure from local farms. The company plans to break ground in April or May for what they are calling the Ag Conversions Ohio Grand Lake Watershed facility. When fully running…

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  • John Vogel

    Bead Counters Are Important, But Is This Waste Management?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 22, 2012

     I guess there are a lot of folks with more time than they know what to do with. But I certainly haven’t met any who are active farmers. This week, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection proudly announced that the Pennsylvania-Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup set a 2011 record for volunteers removing trash and debris from Lake Erie shorelines and tributaries. So you don’t get the wrong impression, that’s a good thing! I’m all for waste…

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  • Willie Vogt

    New Farm Tech Worth Nothing if You Can't Get It

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 21, 2012

    Earlier this year there was a lot of hubbub in the mainstream media (of which I am not) about the coming great corn seed shortage. Of course, those of us who've been around awhile know that every season brings its fair share of shortages of specific hybrids - usually the ones you want - but there would be seed to plant. At least one report we saw showed a concern that farmers may not have enough seed to plant the 94 to 95 million acres predicted at planting time. Most of us pooh-poohed the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Adding Legumes to Grazing Land is a No-Brainer

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 19, 2012

    With the warm weather we’ve experienced in recent days, it seems only natural to talk about grazing lands. But I have to remind myself that it is still March. I guess, as the eerie, warm weather persists, we might as well enjoy it and make plans for improving our pastures going into the next grazing season. Around our place, one of the easiest, simplest and cheapest things we’ve done to improve our pastures has been adding red clover or alfalfa to the grazing mixture, even with…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Fair Weather Days Bring Out The Tractors

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 19, 2012

    Once fields dried out and the uncharacteristic warm weather continued through this past week, tractors and other vehicles of many sizes and descriptions began to appear in fields. Fertilizer dealers committed to judge evening FFA contests had to cancel out as farmers ramped up to take advantage of the good working days and get spring field activity done. There are still those weather sources that say it could be a cool, wet spring, although the latest word from Ken Scheeringa in the Indiana…

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  • Josh Flint

    It's Time We Had a Reality T.V. Show About Farming

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 19, 2012

    Later this month, I’ll be descending into the wilderness for a survival weekend. Well, sort of. It’s more like a camping weekend, with a survival clinic. To prepare myself mentally for the rigors of eating termites and sleeping on the rocky Missouri ground, I’ve been watching the Discovery Channel’s vast lineup of survival shows. To my great dismay, apparently all is not as it seems. Famed British survivalist Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild show was recently…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Great Day With Great Farmers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 14, 2012

    Today was the spring South Central Kansas Residue Alliance workshop in Kingman with two great speakers, Dwayne Beck, Dakota Lakes Research Farm in Pierre, S.D. and James Hoorman, assistant professor at Ohio State University Extension. The topic was cover crops, which farmers agree, is still "more art that science," and how best to use them. Driving home, I couldn't help thinking what great people these farmers are, how dedicated they are to their land, their families and the future of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    The Farm Equipment Beat Goes On

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 13, 2012

    Bumping my way past crowds, tractors and equipment at a couple major shows in the last few weeks was a key indication that farmers are still out there interested in buying. The latest figures from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers does not dispute that point, in fact February numbers show some strong growth for most sectors, except combines. In the February Flash Report, sales of 40 to 100 horsepower tractors rose 14.6% over the same month a year ago, for 100-plus hp tractors, the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Making Milk the Beverage of Choice

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 13, 2012

    Today I had the great honor to join Nebraska’s dairy producers for their annual convention in Norfolk. I’ll admit that we haven’t had a Holstein on our farm since the early 1980s, but our family goes through gallons of milk and dairy products every week. We may not milk cows, but we surely support Nebraska’s dairy farmers. When I was a kid, we milked around 40 cows. I would often plop down at the top of a big haystack in the early winter evenings with our old farm dog…

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  • Tom Bechman

    If I Had A Hammer, I Wouldn't Use It!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 12, 2012

    Remember the old refrain, "If I had a hammer…?" Well, I have a couple hammers, but I don't use them anymore than I have too. That goes also for paint scrapers and paint brushes. Once upon a time, I would tear off wall paper, spackle ceilings. And do my own indoor and outdoor painting. These days, I figure that if I can't afford to hire someone else to fix it, then it probably doesn't really need to be done. We recently had a couple of rooms redone in the house. When it took two adult…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Race To Plant On the Farm: And Winner Is...

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 12, 2012

    You know spring for Dakota farms is just around the corner – or it’s already arrived – when the temperature reaches 70 degrees F like is has recently. But, I bet you’re not the first farm to be in the field. Dale and Rena Hebda, Mission Hill, S.D., were already planting when I visited last week. The Hebdas – who grow vegetables and fruit for sale at theri farm and at farmers markets, retail outlets and schools – were planting lettuce and other…

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  • John Vogel

    Farm Regulations, Regulations, Ugh! And More Farm Regulations!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 12, 2012

     Some regulation seems to be a necessary evil to keep evil-doers in line. But I don’t run into too many evil-doers in agricultural circles – just hard-working folks striving to make a decent living from the land. My hunch is that there’s more evil-doing potential in the more lucrative political and financial circles – dominated by lawyers. But those folks always seem to discover loopholes for escaping. Unfortunately, our governments tend believe we all think and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Critical {Farm} Thinking 101 for Rural Nurses

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 9, 2012

    Last week, my sweet friend and fellow farm wife, Patty, invited me over to her house to talk with her rural nursing class. Patty teaches nursing at the local university and during her rural nursing course each year, she brings the class out to her family's farm for the day. They see what a PTO shaft actually looks like, they learn what a grain bin is, they take a look at the cattle and they get an idea what rural and remote really feels like. This year she invited me to come and speak to…

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  • Tim White

    Ohio Farmer Honors Master Farmers

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on March 9, 2012

    The revived Ohio Master Farmer Award got off to a great start this month. As subscribers know, the names William J. Richards, Terry Lee Swaisgood and Brian H. Watkins were engraved on plaques and presented to the well-deserving honorees the past two weeks. We decided to split the ceremonies to match the presentations to the appropriate venues. The Conservation Tillage and Technology conference in Ada this week was the site for the presentation to Richards and Watkins. Bill Richards, former…

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  • Josh Flint

    Ag Needs a Celebrity Spokesperson

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 8, 2012

    Does ag need a celebrity spokesperson? Don’t laugh, I’m being serious here. A couple weeks ago, I was in Orlando at the National Ethanol Conference. The Renewable Fuels Association put on a terrific program. After one presentation, an audience member stood up and proposed that ethanol get a celebrity spokesperson so the general public can better understand the industry. There were a few chuckles, but I saw a number of heads nodding in agreement, mine included. She…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Master Farmers Give It Back

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 7, 2012

    This morning, we're gathering in Bloomington for our annual awards luncheon to celebrate this year's newly-named Master Farmers. It wraps up one of my most favorite programs of the year; the Master Farmers have been judged, chosen, interviewed, photographed and written about. They are, as always, a joy to work with and to get to know and to learn from. I say it every year but it's so true: I pick up things from these farmers and their families that we take back and use in our farm and in our…

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  • Tom Bechman

    A Whiff Of Spring Is In The Air

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 5, 2012

    This is a dangerous piece to write. Today it is sunny and above 50 degrees. Yesterday it topped 60 degrees. By the time you read this, it may be 15 degrees and snowing. Not likely, but it could be. It's Indiana, and it's spring. The sings of spring are starting to appear. A commercial operator was applying fertilizer in a field I passed by earlier today. A meeting got cancelled in a nearby county because it was dry enough for farmers to work there. The climatologists I talk to say they…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Herbicide Sprayer Setup May Require Heading Back to School

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 5, 2012

    Farmers are taking on more of their own spraying as they work to manage application timing and cost for their operations. Part of that has been driven by rising use of glyphosate, but also the growth in the popularity of fungicides. In the next few years, crop protection companies are launching new biotech traits that fall back on what I'll call "legacy" products - new forms of 2,4-D and dicamba. Both of these herbicides are great at what they do and are well known to farmers. However, they…

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  • Holly Spangler

    We Went Red...And Met Moms

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 5, 2012

    Remember last week and our Farm Mom trip to Chicago? A quick recap: fellow farm mom and farm wife Emily Webel and I were invited to attend the "Be Bold Go Red" event in Chicago, held on behalf of the American Heart Association. Field Moms Amy Rossi and Amy Hansmann also attended.  Essentially, our mission was to connect with influential women, via the really very impressive networking skills of Sara Fisher. Sara, for further background, is one of the women behind 2 Moms…

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  • Curt Arens

    It's Ag Week. Hug a Farmer.

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 5, 2012

    We Americans are so fortunate. We have the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply on earth. I don’t think most American consumers appreciate this fact completely. As a nation, we do not know hunger as they do in other countries. There is no question that hunger exists in our country, and it is something we should diligently work to stamp out. But, as a nation, we have not known hunger, except perhaps during the Great Depression. As we celebrate National Agriculture Week…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Crop Insurance – Too Good?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 2, 2012

    “What da ya mean crop insurance should be improved? It’s so good now, it is almost embarrassing,” the caller on the phone hollered. I was expecting to hear from readers about my editorial, “Time to improve crop insurance” (Feb. 2012), but not this. “When I go to the bank,” the caller continued, “I almost can’t look the teller in eye – I’m getting a bigger premium subsidy for from the crop insurance than she’s getting…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farms, Ranches Show Evidence of Oil Money

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 1, 2012

    Evidence of new money is all over southern Kansas farms and ranches. New fences, new and improved farm ponds, new outbuildings, new paint, new vehicles, new equipment. Money was certainly not made with farm crops last year. The drought wiped out much of the wheat crop and decimated most fall row crops. But that loss has been offset for many southern Kansas farmers with money from leasing their land for oil and gas drilling. It's all about the new oil and gas play in the Mississippi…

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