• Curt Arens

    Going to the Birds a Sign of Farm Landscape Diversity

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 15, 2014

    On our farm, we raised and marketed black oil sunflowers as wild bird seed for almost 10 years. So, in an effort to understand our customers, the folks who regularly feed songbirds around their homes and gardens, our family set up our own feeding stations, and we learned plenty about the songbirds that inhabit our region. In other words, we were happy to have our farm “go to the birds.” Researchers say that having healthy populations of songbirds living and singing around your…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Farmers Say that Conservation is Cool

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 8, 2014

    Unless you take in upcoming showings of movies like Farmland or the Great American Wheat Harvest, you have to look for mainstream media sources that actually share positive modern stories of farmers and ranchers. Evidently, most of those sources don’t see modern agriculture as dramatic, emotional or trendy. It’s easier to find the bad actors in the industry and make blanket, generalized statements to include all farmers and ranchers as greedy folks who only care about a making a…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Women in Agriculture Hold the Future of Many Farms

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 1, 2014

    According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, about half of the farmland in the country is owned or co-owned by women. While the 2012 Census of Agriculture showed a decrease in the number of women farmers, there is no doubt about the important role women play in the keeping and caring of the land. A series of workshops coming up in April, May and June are being sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs, designed specifically for women in agriculture. These sessions are geared for a wide…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: A Few of My Favorite Trees

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 28, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I want to talk about a few of my favorite trees. These are not recommendations for your farmstead. With spring around the corner, hopefully, we start looking over garden catalogs and visiting our favorite tree nurseries to search for trees and shrubs to plant around our farms and ranches. The greatest challenge for me is narrowing down my planting choices and finding the right location for the trees I really want to plant every year. Over the years…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Are Rural Communities Ready for More Young Farmers?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 25, 2014

    Happy National Agriculture Day everyone! Farmers and ranchers can take the day off. Just kidding. We all know that you seldom take a day off and that your work in feeding the world is not subject to weather, illness, family tragedy, economic hardship, ornery critters, cantankerous machinery or vacations. Agriculture is the 24/7 business of food and fiber production, and thanks to the great partnership between our hardworking farmers and ranchers and Mother Nature, citizens in our country can…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Young Producers are Key to Building Livestock Production

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 18, 2014

    Nebraska may be number one in the country at feeding cattle, but it is no secret that the national cow herd has been declining in recent years. The pork and dairy industries have plenty of room to grow as well. Having attended state pork and dairy meetings in the last couple of weeks, I know that producers are anxious to bring new farmers into the fold and grow their herds too. Potential is abundant in these three livestock industries in the state, and the sheep and goat producers would say…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Test Farm Production Questions Yourself

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 11, 2014

    This week, University of Nebraska Extension experts conducted two on-farm research workshops, discussing what can be learned from on-farm trials going on across the state. One of the key lines from a presentation was, “In production agriculture, it’s what you think you know, that you really don’t know, that can hurt you.” We are fortunate to have literally thousands of trials ongoing, testing products and procedures in crops and livestock production every year…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Cover Crop Reflections

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 4, 2014

    I attended one of the broadcast locations at the NRD office in Norfolk of the opening forum of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health that took place in Omaha in February. As I sat there, taking in testimonials from farmers and policy makers about the benefits of cover crops to soil health, I couldn’t help but remind myself that this is not something we’ve discovered recently. It is an ancient idea. In ancient China and India and in early Roman times, bell beans…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: Tips for Proper Tree Pruning

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 28, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I will address a few tips on proper pruning techniques. At one of the UNL tree care workshops I’ve attended over the years, I have heard foresters say many times that the best time to prune a tree is when you have time to do it. In other words, prune whenever it is convenient, and your saw is sharp. However, the actual best time for most broadleaf trees is in winter or early spring, before the trees display buds. So, that time is drawing near…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Opportunities Raising Pigs

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 25, 2014

    There was a time, not that long ago, when nearly every farm in our neighborhood raised pigs. We all had a few sows and either sold feeder pigs or finished out what we raised. This was only 15 years ago. Times have changed. It’s tough these days to be raising pigs, but the fact is, there are great opportunities down the road. At the Nebraska Pork Producers Association Pork Industry Day in Norfolk last week, every producer I talked with was concerned deeply about PED virus. Mike…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Truman Prepared for the Presidency by Working the Family Farm

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 18, 2014

    Last year about this time I wrote about President Calvin Coolidge, who, as Vice-President to Warren Harding, was working on his father’s farm in Vermont when he learned of Harding’s untimely death. He took the oath of office by lamplight in his father’s farmhouse, with his father, who was a notary public, officiating. This year during Presidents’ Day week, I recall another unlikely President, who started out life working his family’s Missouri farm. The hard work…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Do We Get Style Points in How We Present the Farm Message?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 11, 2014

    Have you ever walked into a store looking for an item, only to be bombarded by a sales person who follows you around and pushes items in a way that completely turns you away from that store? I think almost everyone has had this experience at one time or another. As a consumer, you may been perfectly willing to purchase your item from that store, but because of how the item was presented by the sales person, and how pushy they were about the sales experience, you took your business…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Propane Shortage Worries Farm Users

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 4, 2014

    Around our place, we are pretty reliant on propane as a fuel source. We utilize propane for grain drying, as well as heating for our house and barns. With our stove also running on propane, even our evening supper depends on a good supply. We’re not alone. Over 865,000 farms and ranches rely on propane for at least some of their energy needs. This winter has been taxing on all energy supplies, not just propane. You’ll read more details at Nebraska Farmer online and in a future…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Which Farm Gadgets Will Be "Pick-worthy" in the Future?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 28, 2014

    Old-time farm machinery and antique gadgets and advertising are pieces of our past, and link us in a very physical, touchable way to our ancestors on the farm. Old tractors, implements and household items passed on in a family can be among the prized possessions of future generations. If you are a big fan of shows like American Pickers and Pawn Stars, you know that there is often no rhyme or reason to what carries value. Things that were probably disposable at the time are now extremely…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Weather Outlook for the Upcoming Growing Season

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 21, 2014

    I know. I’m obsessed with the weather, it is true. I admit it. I watch TV weather reports with amazement. I listen for updated radio reports and read everything I can about the weather, trying to catch differences in reports from varied sources. I was an animal science major in college, but had to sneak an ag meteorology class into my course schedule. So, it should be no surprise that I sat in on a session at a farm show in Norfolk recently featuring Al Dutcher, Nebraska’s state…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Planting Trees on a Treeless Plain

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 10, 2014

    Over the past year, I’ve written numerous bonus blogs each month featuring the “Families That Grow Our Food,” hoping to tell the ag story to our urban friends by relating the back stories of many of the interviews we’ve written in recent years about hardworking farm and ranch families. Now, it’s a new year and I’ll take on a new topic in bonus monthly blogs. One of my interests as a farmer over the years has been trees, woodlands, shelterbelts and orchards…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Baby, It's Cold Outside for Livestock

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 7, 2014

    When I was a kid, we finished hogs in outdoor lots. We managed the livestock in the winter months very carefully, keeping waterers open, even in frigid conditions, and bedding the hogs as much as possible. Still, they didn’t like to go outside to the self-feeders to eat when the temperatures dipped below zero. Who could blame them? I didn’t enjoy doing chores then either. I can recall one extremely frigid day in the early 1980s, working all day inside the warm farrowing barn…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Curt's Crystal Clear Ag Predictions for 2014

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 31, 2013

    You know Nostradamus. The reputed seer living in 1500s France published a collection of prophecies that have since become famous. Of course, most folks attribute any resemblance of Nostradamus predictions to real life happenings as tenuous at best, but still, his often cryptic predictions have captured the imaginations of many. Well, in the spirit of the infamous seer, I have looked long and hard into my own pastures for inspiration, hoping to make predictions for the coming year that are just…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Taking the Sleigh on the Road at Christmas

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 24, 2013

    I don’t know how many of you will be traveling over the holiday season. Our family will be home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but over the school Christmas break, we will be traveling at least a little to see family. This is quite an undertaking. Honestly, we don’t travel with our whole clan very often. Logistics become a problem, because our little guy still doesn’t care to sit more than about an hour in his car seat, unless he is sleeping. This has been a common…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Landlords and Tenants: Building Trust

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 17, 2013

    I just returned from one of the University of Nebraska Extension landlord and tenant workshops presented by UNL Extension educators, Allan Vyhnalek at Platte County and Tim Lemmons at  Madison County. I have attended these workshops before, but each and every time I attend, I learn something new and useful. There were several themes that resonated at this session, but something that kept coming up was the importance for tenants to build trust and nurture a quality business relationship…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    What Is Around the Corner?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 10, 2013

    If you average the extreme drought and heat of 2012 and the wetter, cooler summer of 2013 together, you might get a “normal” year. It isn’t that unusual to have good crops following a year of extreme drought. While much of the state was still drier than normal this season, almost every farmer would agree that it certainly was cooler than a year ago, and most portions of the state received at least a few timely rains. It seems we are easily lulled into the idea that every…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, What's Around the Corner?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 6, 2013

    If you average the extreme drought and heat of 2012 and the wetter, cooler summer of 2013 together, you might get a "normal" year. It isn't that unusual to have good crops following a year of extreme drought. While much of the state was still drier than normal this season, almost every farmer would agree that it certainly was cooler than a year ago, and most portions of the state received at least a few timely rains. It seems we are easily lulled into the idea that every growing…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Hats Off to Pumpkin Farmers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 29, 2013

    When I was a kid, my parents planted a quarter-acre to cow pumpkins, those gigantic orange ones that can weigh 100 lbs. or more. The field was on a sidehill where nothing else would grow. But, we raised monster pumpkins without any difficulty. Over the years since then, I have had little to no luck in planting pumpkins. No matter where I have lived, or where the pumpkins were planted on the farm, I couldn’t raise a pumpkin that would amount to anything. It is always too dry, too…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Give Panhandle Ranchers a Break

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 22, 2013

    Alright, enough is enough Mother Nature! I’m sure that’s what northern Panhandle ranchers are thinking right now. Forget rain, or snow, or dark of night, they have experienced tragedy and challenges to their agriculture operations of biblical proportions over the past 18 months. First, last summer was a complete and total disaster. No rain, no grass to speak of, and cow herd liquidations were all too common. Then, in late August and early September, wildfires ignited the…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, Patience is Not Only a Virtue, It is a Necessity

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 15, 2013

    A few years ago, I purchased 20 head of cows with three-month-old calves at their side. My cows were already turned out to pasture, so we drove directly to the pasture and dropped off the newly purchased critters with my herd. However, this pasture has a creek flowing through it, with two tributaries crossing it as well. Cows in that pasture need to know how to cross a creek with steep sides and a narrow, but relatively deep stream. When we dropped off the new cows and their calves, the cows…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Harvest Time: Lofty View from the Cab of the Combine

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 8, 2013

    This time of year always reminds me of how different the view of the world is from the lofty seat in the cab of a combine. When I first returned home from college, I didn’t have much experience in a combine cab. I was always the one hauling grain, not the one doing the actual harvesting. But, I gained valuable experience right away. A year after graduation, my Dad was diagnosed with severe bronchial asthma, and grain dust was one of the triggers that would set off a coughing…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Harvest Time: Haste Makes Waste

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 1, 2013

    Depending on which news source you listen to, it seems we Americans waste very nearly half of our food. As parents, my wife and I bemoan this fact constantly, encouraging, and often demanding, that our children take only what they can eat on their plates. We do the best we can, but for starving folks in lands where they spend more than 90% of their income on food, the waste of food here is a true tragedy. On the farm, wasting food dishonors our profession. We pride ourselves at feeding…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Managed Grazing Includes Best Land Use

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on September 27, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:  Riding around in Don Peregrine’s pickup through his pastures near Fullerton, you can hear Don’s love of the land, and his understanding about how different types of land need to be handled differently. On his farm, he has low land along a river and upland Sandhills pastures. He knows that these unique properties need to be grazed in customized ways to get the most from land, but also to protect it. Here is his story… A “grazing…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    The Difference Between a Weed and a Crop

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on September 24, 2013

    Weeds serve a purpose. I know, there isn’t a farmer out there who really believes that, but they do. They are nature’s way of holding nutrients and soil in place in the absence of other plants that are perhaps more desirable. In conducting research on the history of several modern crops for an article that ran in the Husker Harvest Days program this fall, I learned that many of our current commodity crops started out being considered weeds. That includes oats, which was…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Husker Harvest Days 2013: Four Things I Learned in Three Days

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on September 17, 2013

    Another year of Husker Harvest Days is down. The show had the usual variances in weather conditions, huge crowds, good folks, useful information and connections being made between producers and the businesses that serve them. All in all, it was a great learning experience, as always, for everyone involved. I know that I came home with a few useful tidbits from the show, some new things that I didn’t know before. 1) If you have any interest in irrigation in the U.S., you need to…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Husker Harvest Days 2013: Five Things You Won't Want to Miss

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on September 10, 2013

    Over the next three days in Grand Island, farmers and ranchers from across the region will descend on the Husker Harvest Days grounds for the 36th annual celebration of agriculture on the Plains. There are literally thousands of things to see and do at HHD. Here are five of my favorites.  1. Field demonstrations galore. What do you want to see? Combining, haying, tillage, antique plowing, lawn mowing and much more. You can see the newest and the biggest in the fields doing their…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Day One of Husker Harvest Days: Hot Day. Cool Stuff.

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on September 10, 2013

    It may have been a warm afternoon in Grand Island at Husker Harvest Days on Tuesday, not only because of the weather, but also because of the interesting and exciting demonstrations, tons of new products and exhibits heating things up. Dr. Joe Jeffrey related stories about the first live cattle-handling demonstrations 25 years ago, when they were still developing the demos and working on a system to best display and demonstrate the chutes. He had Husker Harvest Days crowds in stitches…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Melons and More for Helgoth Family

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on September 6, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:  A couple of years ago, I stopped by the Helgoth farm near St. Libory for an interview. It was spring and they had just been hit at the farm by a hail storm. They had to replant thousands of tomatoes, and worried about how well their crops would do. But this is nothing new for this family. They’ve been farming for decades, and have taken their wealth of knowledge to produce high quality food for their loyal customers, and for area school children as…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    4-H/FFA: Reaching Out to Our Urban and Farm Youth

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on September 3, 2013

    I just returned yesterday from a great day at the State Fair. As always, I enjoyed the food, agricultural displays, the food, livestock, entertainment, the food, and all of Nebraska on display. Did I mention the food? Anyway, after being involved in the writing of the 4-H articles that appear along with Don McCabe’s FFA stories as part of a youth package on pages 7 and 8 of your September issue of Nebraska Farmer, it occurs to me that these organizations probably get the best press…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Identity Protection: I Can't Even Get My Own Private Information

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 27, 2013

    Because of the serious and very real threat of identity theft and the ability of hackers to access our private information and use it against us, we have become obsessed with developing a firewall to protect that information on the farm and in our personal lives. But sometimes, it seems the only ones we are protecting it from are ourselves. Almost everything we do online now is protected by a password. I can’t get into my landline phone, cell phone, bank account or dog’s…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Crop Production: Too Much of a Good Thing is Not a Good Thing

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 20, 2013

    In recent weeks, I’ve attended University of Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Soybean Board herbicide-resistant weed workshops and soybean management field day events. Over the past couple of years, I’ve heard at least 20 different speakers at two dozen different crop production events talk about resistance issues in weeds, insects and diseases in crops. It is one of the biggest challenges for modern agriculture and crop production, but fortunately, this is not an obstacle that…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    More Farm Reflections on Fair Time

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 13, 2013

    With county fairs, including our own, winding down in Nebraska, and the State Fair in Grand Island just ready to heat up, my penchant for observation kicks into overdrive. The journalist part of me just can’t help but see things from a wider view. The observation mode doesn’t have an “off switch,” so even when I’m doing family things or farm things away from my duties at the magazine, I’m still interested in what people are doing and saying and thinking…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Top Five Things Farm Kids Learn at the Fair

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 6, 2013

    It’s county fair week around our household. That means total chaos, even more than the usual craziness and confusion. We don’t have a million 4-H projects to cart to the fair, but with three calves and numerous other projects being exhibited by three of our children, we know the week will be filled with fun, and more than a few learning opportunities. Here are a few things we’ve learned in the past from experiences at our annual county fair… 1. Calves act…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Rebuilding the Land After Floods

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 2, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:   Farmers are hardworking folks. They deal with challenges and potential tragedies every day. It is a part of depending on the land for a living. In 2011, farmers along the Missouri River were dealt a heightened blow they hadn’t counted on. The flooding along the river that summer was much worse than anyone could have predicted, and there was very little notice beforehand to allow folks to prepare. Yet, farmers like Scott Olson of Tekamah have been…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, Privacy Seems to Be a Thing of the Past

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 30, 2013

    Those of us with a bunch of young children still at home know that privacy is almost unheard of. Phone calls, “Mom and Dad” conversations about the children, colorful metaphors uttered at an inopportune time at an uncooperative cow, are all being listened to by alert little ears. Every word Dad utters will be repeated at an awkward moment, usually in a crowd, at a quiet time when everyone can hear it, by a little one trying to get attention. These little guys are like sponges who…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    A Refreshing View of Ag Appreciation

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 23, 2013

    Not long ago, I happened to meet a hard working fellow from a major urban center. During our conversation, he said something that really surprised me. It seems that farmers and farms are under attack these days everywhere we look. Major media outlets, activist groups and federal regulatory agencies all seem to be suspicious about what we do to raise food for the world and how we do it. But this guy didn’t see it that way. He told me that he appreciates everything farmers do. He…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    A Farmer's Reflections on a Saving Rain

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 16, 2013

    This past Saturday night, something happened at our farm that we were hoping and praying for last summer throughout late June and early July. It rained. Not only did it rain, but we received a good, old-fashioned thunderstorm that sent lightning flashes through the windows and claps of thunder that sent our littlest children into Mom and Dad’s bed. It was great. Thinking about last summer, we often experienced distant lightning, but the air was so hot and dry that it was only dry…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Cattle producers still finding strength in numbers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 9, 2013

    I’ve been fortunate enough over the past month or so to attend both the Sandhills Cattle Association convention in Atkinson, and the Nebraska Cattlemen midyear convention in Valentine. Both meetings brought together hundreds of cattle producers from varying aspects of the beef industry, and both conventions covered important topics to the producers. Nebraska Cattlemen is celebrating 125 years of lineage as an organization. The group’s beginnings are rooted in the Nebraska…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    The View from the Cheap Seats

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 2, 2013

    Last night, my oldest son, Zac, played in his last baseball game of this season. His Crofton team for kids eight years old and under played host to the boys (and a few girls too) from Newcastle. No one knows who won. Each inning passes only after every player bats. No one keeps track of the outs. But all the kids have fun. His little team is one of three Crofton teams, playing in a multi-county league with teams from villages nearby like Fordyce, Bow Valley, Hartington, Wynot and…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: High Tech Makes Ag Tick

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 28, 2013

    Curt’s Comments: Some urban folks seem to think that farmers are still living and working as they are portrayed on old TV shows like “Green Acres.” Well, we don’t have to climb a telephone pole to answer the phone and our tractors have changed just a tiny bit since the 1960s. And, it is important to communicate with consumers how technology has changed agriculture and food production, and how it has made us more efficient, so we can produce more food and use less…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Our Grains are Riding the Rail

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 25, 2013

    As I was listening to Greg Guthrie, director of agriculture products for Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway speak at the Agrex, Inc. groundbreaking ceremony in Laurel last week, I couldn’t help but think about how crucial railroads have become again to agriculture in recent years. Guthrie told the group that he would be excited to see the first “Laurel train” coming from the Agrex, Inc. facility there, once the facility is completed. With Agrex, Inc. breaking ground…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    I Guess I'm a Nebraska Tree Hugger

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 18, 2013

    Two weeks ago I was riding with University of Nebraska Extension educator, Scott Cotton, headed up Deadhorse Road southwest of Chadron. Scott took me into the heart of what was the West Ash Fire late last summer, and he described the tumultuous days of the wildfires in that region and how ranchers, emergency personnel and firefighters coped with extreme challenges. It wasn’t a pretty picture, and the most disheartening for many long time Pine Ridge ranchers is that their beautiful…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    The Farm View from the Old Porch Swing

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 11, 2013

    There are places of comfort, with special significance, on everyone’s farms and ranches. We all have our favorite places. For me, the places I like most on our farm have nostalgic connections to the family history of our place and my memories growing up here. There is a vista, on a high hill north of our farmstead that rises about 100 feet above the home place that I really like. When I’m checking cows or fixing fence, I like to pause up there, and take a look at the old…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, What Tech Tool is the Next Big Thing?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 4, 2013

    I’ve been working on an article in recent days, following University of Nebraska research and Nebraska Department of Agriculture marketing efforts to get dry bean powder made from Nebraska Great Northern dry edible beans, into instant noodle cups in China. According to Lynn Reuter with the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, Chinese consumers eat approximately 1300 instant noodle cups per minute. So, adding a teaspoon of dry bean powder boosts the nutritional value of those noodle cups for…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Ranchers Save Livestock Market

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 31, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:   Sandhills cattle are renowned around the world as some of the highest quality, healthiest cattle. The grass conditions in the Sandhills are perfect for raising cattle, and this shouldn’t be lost on consumers looking for a perfect cut of tasty beef. That’s why keeping the Valentine Livestock Auction open was so important to local ranchers and the community of Valentine, literally located in the “heart” of the Sandhills cattle…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Farmers in the Military Face Sacrifices Far From Home

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 28, 2013

    When my grandfather, Arnold Bickett, served in the U.S. infantry in France in World War I, he was certainly homesick. Having been born in a log cabin in Kentucky, the young farmer had never been very far from home. He most likely had never aimed a gun at anything but game birds or squirrels. He knew country life, but had never been crammed into a tight space with hundreds of other people. All of that changed in mid-1917 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After six weeks of very…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Farmers Don't Wait for Help. They Just Get Things Done

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 21, 2013

    One of the most annoying things about Farm Bill debates is that the majority of discussions are about money, not policy. Activist groups that I like to call – anti-farm or anti-food security – make farmers out to be free-loaders, loudly spouting off about direct payments and subsidies. I venture a guess that nearly all of these folks who like to use farmers as punching bags are not hungry or homeless. They probably enjoy hearty meals each day, thanks to guess who? Our nation has…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Weathering the Weather

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 14, 2013

    I’m not sure whether I should talk weather or not today, but since most farmers can talk weather with the best of them, I’ll go ahead. This Spring has been crazy. Everyone agrees. Last Spring was just as crazy, but in the other direction. If you average the two extremes together, you get “normal.” For the Great Plains, this is situation normal. On Sunday morning, we awoke to about 28 degrees and heavy frost on the pickup windshield. Today, forecasters are…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Graduates: Consider Coming Home to the Farm to Roost

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 7, 2013

    High school graduates around farm country will receive lots of advice from family, friends, teachers and neighbors over the next few weeks during their commencement ceremonies. Valedictorians will bid their old high schools and hometowns farewell, and offer well wishes for classmates as they begin the next chapters in their young lives. Graduates will hear hometown folks say things like, “Go out and make something of your lives.” They’ll hear advice like, “Get out…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Tractor and Farm Implement Safety for Youth

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 29, 2013

    I noticed the new schedule for University of Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety and Hazardous Occupations courses for youth coming up this summer. The two-day courses, set up for 14- and 15-year-olds, will be coming to Kearney (May 23-24), Concord (May 29-30), Gering (June 3-4), Valentine (June 6-7), Osceola (June 10-11), North Platte (June 13-14) and Grand Island (June 17-18). Here is the complete registration information. I can recall my first experience driving a tractor. When I was…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Veteran Brings Skills to the Ranch

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 26, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:   It had to be tough for Elgin rancher, Garrett Dwyer, when he returned home after serving with the U.S. Marines in Iraq. It is quite a transition, going from an active war zone to the peaceful Sandhills pastures west of Elgin. Dwyer, like so many of his fellow war veterans, were searching to make their place in society when they returned home after bravely serving their country. And, as Dwyer noted when I visited with him at the family ranch last spring…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Memories of Sowing Oats

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 23, 2013

    I know. I know. Corn and soybeans are the way of the future. You don’t want to read about anything else. But, this time of year, I have to mention one of my favorite crops – oats. Yes, you read it correctly. Decades ago where I live, if corn was King, oats came in a close second. Sure, it doesn’t have the traditional significance of wheat. Never considered a major crop, it has wallowed in the large shadows of staple row crops. But, long before soybeans were grown in…

    Continue Reading