• John Vogel

    Which Way Will Your Tip: More Corn Or Soybeans?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 2, 2014

    Here in the Northeast, corn and soybean markets are more keyed to feed needs and specialty markets than in the Midwest. So your acreage mix of corn and soybeans probably won't flux as much. But the prices that you buy and sell corn, soybeans and bean meal for will greatly impact profitability. And, even contract prices for these commodities are impacted. So it behooves you to stay on top of what's happening. Right? That's why I want to tip you off to a free (yes, entirely free…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Help! We're Overrun By Wanna-be Farm Regulators -- Parasites!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 8, 2014

    Before heading home for supper the other night, my phone jingled with a call from Broken Bow, Neb. And I had a long friendly discussion with a Corn Husker about how farmers are being over-run by wanna-be regulators. And I thought to myself: “Golly whiz, I oughta blog about this!” So here it is. He thanked Farm Progress for Harold Harpster’s straight-up analyses of "UN still shadows animal ag" and "Sustainable livestock – or else!" That led to a far…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    What's In The Farm Bill 'Bag' For You

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 11, 2014

    Congress finally got the Agricultural Act of 2014 done – more than two years late! Just maybe it happened for fear that President Obama would write a Farm Bill via executive order. That threat may still come, as some critics hope and suggest. In the last two weeks, I've received hundreds of emails praising Congress and outlining their favorite pieces of "bacon" in the bill – and some panning it. So here's a quick look at some of what might be most tasty to…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    May anti-GMOers choke on a ‘Phil Robertson’

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on January 21, 2014

    I'm continually perplexed by the tunnel vision and "my way or no way" attitude of socio-politico activist groups – anti-frackers, anti-GMOers, anti-gunners, anti-food animals, and more. They've gained power and influence, at least in part, due to a generally clueless, gullible populace who'll believe just about anything posted on the Web. The antis are no different than the self-righteous who attacked Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson for his personal viewpoint…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Even A Tree Can Have A Shining Moment

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 27, 2013

    At least once in your life, you’ve probably been struck by the awesome beauty of a simple tree. A couple weeks ago, my wife and I were stopped in our tracks by such a tree – naturally flocked by wintery white flakes. We in agriculture are blessed with many such moments for reveling in nature’s beauty. That’s one of the most awesome benefits of rural America – if we take the time. Yes, I know some of you may be groaning, especially after surviving two or three…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    In Defense Of Being 'Born In A Barn'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 20, 2013

    Used to be, when somebody would hit you with the remark: "Were you born in a barn?!", you were supposed to be offended. Not me. No, I wasn't born in a barn – but not far from one. I'd turn it around and ask: "So what's your problem? Got something against being born in a barn?" Think about it. Most of the finest animals you and I have raised were born there. And, the most influential baby to come to the earth was laid in a manger – presumably in…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    EPA's Chesapeake Bay 'Backstops' Would Kill Many Small Farms

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 13, 2013

    Over the last few years, I've attended many farm meetings covering U.S. EPA's plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed tributaries. Those regulatory plans were always couched as friendly partnerships with state agencies, soil and water conservation districts, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. But if you cut through EPA's muddy techno-bureaucratic jargon, you'll discover that it's not only very unfriendly; It is hostile and threatening to all of…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Psst! A Insider's Secret For Young People

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on October 22, 2013

     You hear so much about farmers getting older and no one wanting to farm anymore. Well, the getting older part may be true, but the rest is a myth! Young people are being attracted to agriculture in increasing numbers. And farming isn't the only ag game in town. Last week during the World Food Prize convo in Iowa, hundreds of bright, young people came from all over the country to learn about agriculture's exciting future. And back home, the Future Farmers Club at Spring…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Even A Farmer Can Need To 'Smartphone Detox'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 23, 2013

    I'm all for having alcoholics and drug addicts coming to church on Sunday, anytime for that matter. And I'll do my best to make sure they feel comfortable with the rest of us "sinners." After all, there's no more powerful assistance for kicking an addictive habit than divine help. But last Sunday morning, I was confronted by another form of addiction. In the middle of the church service, a young couple strolled up the isle in jeans, cowboy boots and belt buckles to…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Anti-GMOers Aim To Kill Food Abundance With GMO Labeling

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 20, 2013

    Working at a fair booth, I struck up a friendly conversation with Sharon in a neighboring booth. She was marketing "natural" foods. Somehow, the conversation became more adversarial when we hit on the topic of (horrors of) genetically-modified organisms in foods and the need for GMO labeling. If you've read my columns, you already know what I think about the topic. I mentioned there's not one shred of evidence that genetically-engineered products are unsafe. Sharon…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Time For An American 'Agrarian Spring' Over ObamaCare

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 30, 2013

    Pundits and experts, alike, wrestle with whether to fix or put ObamaCare out of its misery. But in listening to so many angry, common-sensed people of agricuIture, I believe it's due for a mercy killing. Here’s why a civilized American version of the "Arab Spring" is necessary to restore this country to "we the people". And, it must reach beyond ObamaCare. The Affordable Care Act isn't even out the chute, and it's already bleeding red ink &ndash…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Life Can Change In A Blink

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 9, 2013

    Last week, while traveling in New York's North Country, I was reminded just how quickly life can profoundly change. And, I'm not talking about winning a lottery. A week ago, a very serious accident on a dairy farm shook every member of a widely respected family – the Porters of Porterdale Farms at Adams Center – and their surrounding community. The family, if you'll recall, graced American Agriculturist's cover in August 2011 after being named…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Anti-GMOers Want To Rule Over Dairy Farmers By 'Mob Rule'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 17, 2013

    Last night, I shut off my television in disgust at the anger, illogic and threats of violence voiced by demonstrators over George Zimmerman "not guilty" verdict. But America's political and justice systems aren't the only institutions threatened by mob rule. Today, while quietly spooning up my Chobani Greek yogurt, my stomach churned while reading a Web release about a campaign to force Chobani to stop using milk from New York cows fed genetically-modified feeds. Like…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Farm Tractors Ain't What They Used To Be

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 9, 2013

    First, my confession: Since wrestling with the wheel of an old red and gray 8N years ago, I haven't been overly fond of blue tractors. But this summer, New Holland gave Farm Progress Editorial Director Willie Vogt and me an exclusive under-the-hood and behind the wheel look at its shiny new Genesis T8 tractor. The 419-hp "baby" was a far cry from "old blue". With mind-spinning conveniences, alone, it soundly whipped the six-horse team pulling iron in a field…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    What To Celebrate On July 4

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 1, 2013

    As we gather for family or neighborhood picnics to celebrate the Fourth of July, it'll be easy for conversations to turn ugly. After all, Independence Day isn't what it used to be. Rather than me blogging on, I'll cede my pulpit to skinnied down, pithy insight from John Horvat II, a researcher, educator and international speaker on the U.S. socio-economic crisis. As he puts it, everyone around the picnic table seems ready and willing to complain about everything – well…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Corn Belt Crop Update: Northeast Corn Development Leads Midwest

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 21, 2013

    Last week, I reported on Corn Belt crop progress as seen during my travels across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. In brief, I've never seen so much erosion damage or so widespread ponding in soils typically tiled and well-drained in the Corn Belt. On this week's return trip, a lot more corn was just beginning to poke up through the dirt, and most planter were finishing up soybeans. Even so, I've never seen a Corn Belt corn crop so delayed in development. That's…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Imagine If Only 60% Of Your Corn Crop Was Emerged

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 13, 2013

    You've no doubt heard about all the rains and crop planting delays that Midwest farmers have been struggling with. And I've seen a lot of the damage during the last couple days of driving I-70 across Ohio and Indiana, I-74 across Illinois and across Iowa. USDA was right in cutting back projected corn and soybean yields. Wet spots and standing water damage increased gradually as we drove westward from western Ohio. I've never seen so much erosion damage or so widespread…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Some Dairy Farmers Self-impose Raw Milk Dilemma

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 7, 2013

    June is dairy month – one of agriculture's most celebrated public celebrations. It's right up there with Mom, baseball and apple pie. It's when politicians have no fear of being seen with milk "moostaches". It's when baseball players sport them while pitching "Milk. It's good for you!" None the less, there's a dark side to milk's public exposure, one I've been wrestling with for years – and one certain to draw harsh criticism for…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Angry Rural Undercurrent Rising Against Obama

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 29, 2013

    By now, you likely know I lean to the right – and it has nothing to do with the slope I'm standing on. During recent meetings with farmers, I’ve seen a growing negative reaction in just about all I meet when the word "Obama" arises. Rural people have a right to be frustrated with federal government intervention into their lives, and it has clearly ramped up with the current administration. After all, most are smart business persons. Otherwise they wouldn't be in…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Reflections From Farm Friends' Funerals

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 20, 2013

    Yes, this is an unusual thing to be blogging about. In recent months, I've gone to funerals of two farm friends, and came away from both thought-filled and inspired. That's as it should be. Like most of you, I'm not fond of funerals. I don't even want to attend my own! But a funeral or wake can be a wake-up call with redeeming value. That's why I'm writing this. I was reminded of a few things, none of which the preachers preached. The "few things" were…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    GMO Labeling Is Pushed On Ill-Informed Public & Congress

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 3, 2013

    It's hugely important that we, the people of agriculture, understand – and meet – the biotech challenge coming at us head-on. Anti-GMO activists want to ban or at limit biotech's most important tool – genetically-engineered ingredients or genetically-modified organisms. GMO'ers didn't just crawl away after California's Proposition 37 died. They regrouped and focused on Washington, D.C. And in April, legislation to require GMO labeling of whole…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Does Your Farm Host A 'Cereal Killer'?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 26, 2013

    I'm betting that you don't munch down Corn Flakes or Post Toasties for breakfast as much as you used to. So you or your family's chief food shopper may just might be a 'cereal killer". As a farm kid, I grew up in the Corn Flakes era. And in my first Animal Science class at college, my animal nutrition professor said: "Breakfast is your most important meal. That's true for animals, too." Too many of today's generation (farm and non farm…

    Continue Reading