• Holly Spangler

    Corn Scene

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 29, 2010

    Corn harvest on the Spangler farm has officially come to an end, and I suspect the same is true or nearly true for many of you. Illinois Ag Statistics Service put the harvest at 57% complete as of this past Monday and given this week's lovely weather, that number has likely jumped considerably. Their numbers also show this to be the earliest/fastest harvest in the past 10 years. Only 2007 came close, with 52% harvested by this date. And last year? 2%. That's about right. So with this one in…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Northern N.D. -- The New Cornbelt?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 29, 2010

    Look for 70- to 75-day corn that could average 200 bushels per acre in northern North Dakota by 2015. He’s says a Syngenta plant breeder predicted at recent industry meeting that genetic improvements will move the Cornbelt into northern North Dakota and southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan within 10 years. “We’ll have some 200-bushel averages across whole farms in the southern Valley this year,” says Oberlander, who is one of the principals behind a new seed company…

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  • Josh Flint

    Welcome to the Midwest

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on September 28, 2010

    Last week, we saw the official end of summer. As the days begin to shorten and the temperatures fall, I rejoice. You see, this is the Midwest, and it’s glorious. Several days ago, I met someone who grew up in the Bahamas. This will be her first official winter. I jokingly said, “Good luck.” Yet, I could see a slight terror in her eyes. She told me how cold it was getting now (about 54 degrees F in the morning). I told her it’s going to get a lot worse. After giving…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Cow Cam Meets Dryer Cam

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 27, 2010

    So last week, I wrote about my husband's fall from the dryer, which, incidentally, happened last fall (oops – a clarification). Almost immediately, we received the following email from our friend, Todd, who farms in the greater Effingham area.   John and Holly, I just read your blog about John's fall. Glad to hear you are ok. If you have a GSI dryer you should install the "WatchDog". It lets you monitor and adjust settings on the dryer from any computer connected to the internet…

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  • Tim White

    Candidates Visit Farm Science

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on September 27, 2010

    Both gubernatorial candidates made appearances at the Farm Science Review last week. The two visits could not have been more different. Gov. Ted Strickland came in Tuesday for the Vice President’s luncheon which celebrates all things Ohio State. John Kasich came on Wednesday morning and was toured from one key exhibitor to another on foot. The governor spoke of the valuable contribution agriculture makes to the economy of the state as well as the key support the university and…

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  • John Vogel

    What Really Happens To Unfunded Federal Mandates

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 27, 2010

    Watching Uncle Sam’s fiscal irresponsibility is driving many sane-minded citizens to be tea-partiers – even me, if you haven’t already deduced that. So if your state is sliding deeper and deeper into red-ink budgets, it may well be due to Executive branch intimidation in response to different congressional budget priorities. My point? Both branches of our federal government simply aren’t facing the fact that Uncle Sam has overextended himself. Ignoring the bottom line…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Ford Rolls out New F-150

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on September 27, 2010

    A new pickup truck, even a light-duty F-150-class machine, can be quite interesting. Often the newest technology shows up in that higher-volume mass consumer truck before it makes its way into the heavier duty machines. That may be what prospective pickup buyers may be thinking as Ford rolls out the new 2011 F-150. Ford, which has had its share of successful new product launches after its own near-death experience in 2008, is pushing ahead with a no-government money approach to new product…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Indiana Farmers Farm the Soils God Gave Them

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 27, 2010

    Have you ever heard the expression, 'Play the hand that God dealt you?' It certainly applies when it comes to the variation in soils within this one medium-sized state- Indiana. I do volunteer work and coach soil judging the six graders through seniors in Johnson County. I've got a big crop this year, with 21 judgers participating in practices and contests. We've been from Otterbein to Jasper, Ind., with stops near Morgantown and Franklin along the way. Before we're done, we'll check out soils…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    My Cat Is Suffering A Nervous Breakdown

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 26, 2010

    It's been kind of a crazy time around here lately, with me gone a bunch for the State Fair and Husker Harvest Days and Dave gone with out-of-town trips. All the unusual coming and going has sent my cat, Gidget, a one-year-old Scottish Fold calico, around the bend. Last night, she insisted on sleeping on my head. Not on the pillow above me, literally on my head. I kept waking up with a mouthful of fur. And now she is dashing up and down the stairs, alternately leaping on my desk and my…

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  • Holly Spangler

    But Is the Concrete OK?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 23, 2010

    ***Just a note to emphasize that this occurred last year, in 2009. John told me it was confusing, but I insisted it wasn't because it had the date at the top. We started getting calls from concerned friends this weekend. I hate it when he's right. But I, too, am a speed reader, so I can see how you might skip over that! So now, a clarification. Enjoy! And be safe! Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 4:15 a.m. My husband gets in bed. He says he has this bump on his head and rubs at it. "Do…

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  • John Vogel

    You Already Have What Most Want

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 21, 2010

    Cows, horses and sheep stretch over and through fence wires trying to snatch greener grass just beyond their reach. Humans do the same – figuratively speaking. And sometimes, they, too, get zapped or caught in that proverbial fence. Farmers, particularly younger ones, often salivate for what they see on the urban side of the fence – new pickups, fancier homes, extended vacations, regular paychecks and less work. It’s part of our lesser human nature to see only the bright…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Engine Maker Hits Milestone

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on September 21, 2010

    There's a split in the off-road diesel engine market these days with Deere, Cummins and Navistar hitting key emissions targets for the interim Tier 4 standard without adding urea to the exhaust system; meanwhile Agco, Case IH and New Holland are already advancing their interim Tier 4 engines with the selective catalytic reduction approach. Cummins announced this week it hit an industry milestone as it started production and supply of the first EPA interim Tier 4 and EU Stage IIIB certified…

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  • Josh Flint

    Now Would Be a Great Time to Get Serious About Safety

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on September 20, 2010

    Today marks the beginning of Farm Safety Week. Folks love to recite statistics when it comes to safety. Seems to me there’s only one real statistic you need to worry about. Will you get a close call to wake you up, or will it be too late? My dad’s has always been a safe person in his work. Still, I remember an incident that ratcheted up his safety thinking. Up till then, he'd taken a "common sense" approach to safety.   One weekend about ten years…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Global Warming Debate at Purdue Without Ag?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 20, 2010

    Imagine my surprise when a press release came floating through the Ethernet into my email, announcing a symposium on Greenhouse Gases to be held at Purdue University. My first reaction was, wait a minute - who said greenhouse gases are a real topic? Not everyone has yet given credibility to the theory, especially after some fraud in emails between pioneering scientists was uncovered last winter. My second thought was, 'Why is the ag school acting like this is a done deal, and holding such an…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Semi Incommunicado

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 20, 2010

    I spent a few days last week driving a semi, hauling grain from the field back to our bins and by Day Three, I discovered I could get quite a bit of work done in between the actual driving and dumping. By Friday, I'd wiped out the mending pile, gotten fairly well along into a flower-pin craft project, read the entire September issue of my mother-in-law's Good Housekeeping, and made a dent in the latest reporter memoir I've been reading. And, I discovered my cell phone was my lifeline to a…

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  • Tim White

    Storm Damages Research Center

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on September 17, 2010

    Pictures were taken by Ken Chamberllain, OSU Extension. Major damage was done to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster Thursday when a tornado tore a path of destruction through the campus of the facility. The center’s Research Services building, which houses the administrators, was the first to be hit as the storm touched down just after crossing the east side of State Route 83. Bill Ravlin, associate director of OARDC, was about to leave his office after…

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  • Holly Spangler

    No Christmas Cookies this Harvest

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 17, 2010

    Check this out…before we headed to the field this morning, I pulled out a bag to throw in a few things to take with me in the semi. It's the same one I used last year. Here's what I found in the bottom: That's right. It's my mother-in-law's December 2009 Good Housekeeping. That's what we were reading last year during harvest. Christmas cookies. Buffets. Snowflake decorations. You know, yields aren't great this year, but there's one thought that keeps running through my mind: at…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Home Again and Damage Is Less Than Feared

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 16, 2010

    All day long, driving back from Husker Harvest Days, my mind was on how much damage I would find at my home and those of my kids from Wednesday night's storms which brought hail, wind, heavy rain and tornadoes to the Wichita area. I was pretty relieved to find out it doesn't look that bad. One pick-up truck -- really questionable, hit by flash flooding AND hail. Roofs on two houses need inspection and one has some pretty substantial trim and gutter damage. Fence panels blown down at…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Weaning Yourself from Diesel?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on September 16, 2010

    Imagine a tractor rolling by you and the only sound is the scrape of the chisel plow through the soil. It's an interesting picture to contemplate, and while the idea may be a ways off farmers got a look at such a potential future during Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days this year. The NH2 tractor from New Holland is a concept vehicle designed to allow engineers to test out ideas and see what might work. In this case, the tractor, which is a hand-built prototype on a T6000 platform…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Vilsack Knows North Dakota

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 15, 2010

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proved he knows geography when he spoke at Big Iron recently. He was at the the West Fargo, N.D., farm show and at a forum was asked whether big oil is still fighting ethanol.  “Let see,” he said after a short pause, “I’m in North Dakota, the fourth largest oil producing state, and I’m in front of a bunch of farmers…” He went on to say that he “hopes” big oil now sees ethanol as a…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Feeling Right at Home at Husker Harvest Days

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 15, 2010

    Greetings from Husker Harvest Days. Walking the show yesterday, it was fun to see how many Kansas farmers -- and Kansas businesses -- are a part of the show. SPF, a  Leawood company specializing in fertilizer treatments is here and so is Ryan Hammes of Seneca, who is showing his AgSynergy dual placement feritlizer applications. Both have some brand new products that you'll be hearing more about in future editions of Kansas Farmer. And I don't know if it was just to make me feel at…

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  • John Vogel

    Project Your Good Image With Care!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 15, 2010

      Consumers generally see farmers as hard working independent souls – ones they admire. But they are bombarded with negative media images of animal cruelty, food safety crises, stream pollution, as well as the grim specter of “factory farms” and “corporate farms”. That was one of the issues discussed in a visit with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Carl Shaffer early this week. As Shaffer pointed out, we in agriculture don’t condone “bad…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Girls from Albion

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 14, 2010

    I am blessed in many ways, but this weekend was reminded how abundantly I've been blessed in the friend department. Really. Truly. Blessed. Two of my oldest and dearest friends loaded up their vehicles with their small people, snacks and movies and drove the 240 miles from their homes in southern Illinois to my home in western Illinois. Two women, five children, one SUV. If that's not love, I don't know what is. I've known these two women, Jamie and Jill, since we were in kindergarten…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    The World Is A Different Place In the Eyes of a Child

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 13, 2010

    As a longtime mom and experienced grandma, I've come to expect, as Art Linkletter used to love to prove, "kids say the darnedest things." Yesterday, I took three of my progeny in tow for a day of discovery at the State Fair -- story ideas and contacts for me, education for them. But even in the publicity office, as we stowed extra gear and gathered schedules to determine our general attack pattern, it became obvious that communication might be an issue. Several years ago, the Fair…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Here's a Tale of Pain and Mayhem You Won't Believe!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 13, 2010

    It's harvest season, and with all the climbing on and off equipment, working with augers and the like, it can be the season of minor cuts and bruises. Do yourself a favor. If after a day or two a cut or bruise is hurting more than it should, especially if it's swelling or getting feverish, seek help, even if it mans shutting the combine down if you're in the field.   I've just experienced a week of agony that I was sure due to a spider bite. At least that has some dignity - getting…

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  • Josh Flint

    The Hot New Crop with No Real World Application

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on September 13, 2010

    University of Illinois’ Emerson Nafziger has a quote he likes to repeat. I’m paraphrasing, but basically he says cellulosic ethanol has been 5 to 10 years away for the past 20 years. It’s definitely one of those “funny because it’s true” comments. While we’re waiting on cellulosic ethanol to be profitable, I’m getting really tired of reading every week about how wonderful miscanthus, switchgrass and other biomass crops are. If these crops were…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Not For Profit? Not Back Then

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 13, 2010

    In the course of my trip down memory lane last week, I (carefully) flipped through the 1941 Prairie Farmer Centennial Issue. Right there on page 26 was an advertisement from Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson, for their "Ford tractor with Ferguson system." Want to know how far we've come in 70 years? Henry Ford wrote the following at the top of the ad: "I have long held the conviction that something should be done about farming. In too many cases, farming has not only ceased to be profitable…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Interesting Numbers on Ethanol in Kansas

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 11, 2010

    Growth Energy presented a forum today at the Kansas State Fair to advance their push for legislation that would help build out the infrastructure and let the industry grow to full potential. They presented some interesting numbers: -- In 2009, Kansas produced 400 million gallons of ethanol. -- Ethanol plants bought 170 million bushels of corn and grain sorghum, with one-third of that being returned to the market as high-protein animal feed. -- Kansas farmers grew 822 bushels of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    A Picture-Perfect Day at Kansas State Fair

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 11, 2010

    Today was about as good as it gets in Kansas weather. And it was even better because it was the opening weekend of the Kansas State Fair. I had a great day at the Fair, in part because it was Legislators' Day and I always like reconnecting with the lawmakers who make it to the Fair year and year out. And standing around eavesdropping on the conversations of farmers with those lawmakers is great fun. And who can argue with clear skies, a light breeze, temperature topping out at…

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  • Tim White

    Doubt You Noticed, but It’s Good Year for Weeds

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on September 10, 2010

    As if any more reasons were needed, here is reason No. 1,047 that I write about farming and do not farm. I am really good at noticing weed problems as the weeds are about to go to seed. Show me a fall pasture and I can pick out the Canada thistle, the milkweed pods and the purple flowers of the ironweed and the yellow goldenrod. Take me to the fence row and I will come out wearing both burdock and stick-tights. Let me wonder off the path and I will find some stinging nettles and poison ivy. And…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Slipping Away

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 9, 2010

    I feel it. Summer has slipped away. And not just because of the cooler temperatures this week – though that's helped tremendously. The Farm Progress Show has come and gone, and it feels that so, too, has the lovely early fall: that blissful time before we head to the fields. And I know, many of you are combining away and perhaps have been for two or three weeks now. We, however, were blessed with 28+ inches of rain in May and June and we're just a titch behind the rest of the world…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Rain, Cooler Weather Ushers In What Feels Like Fall Mornings

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on September 8, 2010

    A message hit me in the face as I stepped off my front porch this morning: Fall is coming. It's been so hot for so long that I'd almost forgotten what that first cool, breezy indication of the change of seasons feels like. I love autumn and I look forward to its cool mornings and warm afternoons. But I am also reminded that another year is slipping rapidly away. It always makes me want to take a little more time in the garden among the flowers, let the grandkids make another batch of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Reconnecting with Customers

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on September 8, 2010

    A decade can go by so fast, just ask anyone associated with McCormick USA. Yep it was in 2000 that the brand was acquired by Argo S.p.a. a family-owned manufacturer that already owned the Landini brand (among others). And in the past 10 years, McCormick USA has undergone plenty of changes. Lately, however, the company has stumbled in a few areas, and that's about to change, if new CEO Doug Rehor has anything to say about it. He acknowledges that the company knows how to build solid equipment…

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  • Holly Spangler

    To Serve God and Country

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 7, 2010

    I've had two boxes of stuff sitting in the corner of my office for well over a year now. I knew they were full of Prairie Farmer memorabilia, rescued from our Decatur office when we closed it in early 2009. I just hadn't taken the time to sift through them, because I knew I'd get sucked in and I didn't have time to get sucked in. Until today, when I didn't really have time to get sucked in, but I let it happen anyway. The thing is, I just love all this old farm stuff. I love that Prairie…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Bart Schott: Let it stand

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 7, 2010

    I saw Bart Schott, of Kulm, N.D., at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, last week Schott is the current vice president of the National Corn Growers Association. One of the last times I saw Schott he was in a cornfield in late October, cleaning the snow off his combine. "Not going to have to combine in the snow this year," I said. "Probably not," he said, "But we’re not afraid of it anymore." The 30% moisture corn Schott had left in the field last year and combined in the spring…

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  • Josh Flint

    This Diet Stuff Is Getting Out of Hand

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on September 6, 2010

    Last week, I heard the outline for one of the most preposterous diets ever. It calls for eating like a caveman. That’s right, some sort of hunter/gatherer idea. Basically, it completely ignores the invention of agriculture. That crazy agriculture, I knew it was a fly-by-night fad. Anyhow, as I discussed this diet with the person, I tried to point out how impossible that would be. After all, this person didn’t exactly strike me as a hunter. It’s o.k., she said, cheating…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Learn How to Get the Most from Field Days

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 6, 2010

    I've already been to two field days, three counting the field day of all field days, the Farm Progress Show, held this year in Boone, Iowa. It returns next year to Decatur, Ill. But then it is in a class of its own. I was invited to the Select Seed Field Day in Camden. I won't go to a field day unless I think I can get a story out of it. I satisfied that requirement pretty quick. Someone from Bayer was talking about Votivo, a new product that suppresses nematodes. It will be ready to be coated…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Machinery costs and farm size

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on September 3, 2010

    Just got back from the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. All the new equipment and technology on display was mind-blowing. But so were the prices. As I worked my sector of the show, gathering new product information for features that we’ll run in the Dakota Farmer and its sister publications later this year, I kept writing down the “K” figure -- $180K for $180,000, for example. More than once I had to ask if I heard the price correctly -- was it 6K or $60K, $25K or…

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  • John Vogel

    Uncle Sam Has A Spending -- Not Income -- Trouble!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 3, 2010

      How did you train up your children to handle money? You probably counseled them more than once that “You have to learn to live within your means.” Then after giving that puzzled look, their concentration moved on to something of greater interest. You’d probably get same exact look from most of our congressmen and state leaders – before their eyes glaze over and their minds shift to topics more important to them. That “look” means they need to be…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Self-Reliant Living…at Wal-Mart?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on September 3, 2010

    Ok, this cracked me up and after surviving Wal-Mart with a toddler, I needed a good laugh. I looked up in the checkout line and there was this magazine. Now, I'm all for a good magazine and I wish these people luck in their premier issue, but I wonder, really, how many people who are interested in the pioneering, self-reliant lifestyle shop at the local Super Wal-Mart? Super Wal-Mart doesn't exactly scream "off the grid." I'm just saying. Then again, I'm not sure how you reach people…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Reflecting on a Farm Show

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on September 2, 2010

    It's quiet as I write this blog sitting on the Farm Progress Show site, I hear the occasional rumble of a Gator roll past, the random shout as someone arrives to start setting up. I get to Farm Progress Show site each morning by about 5:30 or earlier, depending on the year, and enjoy this pre-show quiet. We've had an interesting year at the show. Rain on Tuesday helped us keep the dust under control - but didn't dampen field demonstrations. Day 2 brought overnight rains that delayed the open…

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  • Tim White

    Remembering Dwight Harris

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on September 1, 2010

    I remember Dwight Harris was a soft spoken man who knew his stuff. When he was head of the ASCS in the late 1980s, he would seek me out after press conferences and meetings to make sure I understood the intricacies of new farm programs. It was his job to administer new programs like payment-in-kind and marketing loans. These products were crucial to the farmers who had survived the credit crunch of the early 1980s. Harris took the job of explaining them seriously – making sure a farm-beat…

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