• Fran O

    Budget cuts to UW-Extension would be devastating

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 17, 2015

    Gov. Scott Walker's proposed state budget cuts of $300 million to the University of Wisconsin System would have a crushing impact on UW Cooperative Extension and agriculture in particular. According to Rick Klemme, dean of UW-Extension, the cuts would mean the elimination of a number of Extension positions. "If the 13% cut is distributed evenly, as the cuts in the past have been, the cuts would be $2.7 million to UW-Extension in each of the next two years for a total loss of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Squirming Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 17, 2015

    Real-world math: a bit of trig and hay for the horses: Learning by doing…it's a combination of common core math and ag classes. Reporting on quacks and pseudoscience: This is a great discussion in the L.A. Times about what happens when the press covers pseudoscience purveyors like, say, Dr. Oz and Vani Hari (the Food Babe): "The woods are full of charlatans just waiting for a chance to loose their fear-mongering theories upon a willing public, and the press shouldn't…

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  • John Vogel

    Why key anti-GMO leaders turned pro-GMO

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 16, 2015

    I confess I can't take full credit for this column. Early this week on Linkin, Ken Martin, director of ag operations at Furmano Foods at Northumberland, Pa., tipped me off about a blog by Hembree Brandon, my counterpart at Delta Farm Press. So I must credit Brandon for some core content. First, tell me who might have made the following statement: “The more food we grow per acre, the better it is for nature. The more food we grow per acre, the less of nature has to be cleared to grow…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Is there a place for us? Retired elder still have role to play

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 16, 2015

    When I retire June 1, I will be 74 years old, and  when I was younger that seemed to be like the end of a lifetime. But now that I am here, it occurs to me that many people in my age bracket who have gone on after employment may not realize they still have value. In a world where older ages represent a larger portion of society, we need to take stock of just what role the old timers like me may play. Sure, I have all kinds of retirement plans, but looking at my age in the social scene…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Which Hollywood star visited Holstein?

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 16, 2015

    Last October, I wrote a blog about a mystery guest who was investigating the area across from my home near the small town of Holstein. Well, this Sunday, April 19, the world will see Hollywood actor Bill Paxton walking the woods of southern Warren County. Paxton, best known for films like films “Titanic,” “Aliens, “Apollo 13” and “Twister,” and television series including “Hatfields & McCoys” and “Big Love," was searching for…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Go back to college...with your grandkids?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 15, 2015

    One of the perks of getting to this point in my life is that I get to sit on some pretty great boards of directors. Like, say, the University of Illinois College of ACES Alumni Association board. And through that board, we get to come up with some pretty great ideas and sometimes, we can even make them happen.   Case in point: The ACES Family Academies. It's a brand new program this summer, July 9-10, on campus. The idea is to invite grandparents to bring their grandchildren back to…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Tough times test Minnesota's number one ag industry

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 15, 2015

    We don't know when the current outbreak of avian flu affecting our state's turkey farms will end. Whenever viral loads in the fecal matter of migrating birds dissipate, that's when. The warmer weather of late spring/early summer will definitely help. One can only imagine being turkey farm families, caring for their animals with increased biosecurity measures in place, and constantly wondering and worrying if one of their barns might be hit next. If just one barn of turkeys tests…

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  • Curt Arens

    Livestock farms depend on stewardship of land and relationships

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 14, 2015

    Treat others the way you want them to treat you. It’s an old adage of Biblical origin and it still resonates today. After attending a media and communications training workshop recently organized by Nebraska Extension for Extension staff, agriculture organizations and producers to help get out the good news about modern ag to consumers, I realized how true this old saying is. (You can read more about this training in an upcoming print article in Nebraska Farmer.) In Nebraska, as we talk…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Not your grandpa's diesel

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 14, 2015

    The Iowa Biodiesel Board held its annual "Biodiesel Day on the Hill" April 8 at the State Capitol in Des Moines. It's an opportunity for representatives of Iowa's biodiesel industry and soybean farmers to visit with legislators and the public about the many benefits of biodiesel. Biodiesel is an advanced renewable fuel made from agricultural byproducts and coproducts such as soybean oil, corn oil and animal fat. This was the first time for a biodiesel Ride-and-Drive at the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    A personal note

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 14, 2015

    My doctor says I dodged a bullet this past week. I’m telling you this in hopes that you dodge the bullet, too, or never put yourself in the line of fire. I had a piece of my colon removed because it contained a mass. When they got it out, the pathology tests showed it wasn’t cancerous. I am back at home, and on the job again, a little worse for wear, but that’s about it. I’m 61 and hadn’t had a colonoscopy. I had blown off advice from family to have one. I…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Future of agriculture in good hands

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 13, 2015

    Lincoln's historic Haymarket and Pinnacle Bank Arena were flooded with blue and gold as FFA-ers from chapters across Nebraska gathered for the 87th annual Nebraska State FFA Convention last week. This may have been my first year judging State Proficiency finalists, but I think my fellow judges would agree that after interviewing FFA members for an entire day, it's safe to say the future of agriculture in Nebraska and the U.S. is in good hands. As has been pointed out over the last few…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Robots and ag technology take over my world

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 13, 2015

    I was born to appreciate technology. As a child of the 1950s and '60s, I saw how to work the hard way, forking silage and scooping manure by hand. I wasn't born at the right time to use technology – much of it, even how to use it, let alone how it works, is far beyond me. But it fascinated me nonetheless. Perhaps no ag technology has caught my eye and made me laugh and say, "why didn't I think of that" more than the pint-sized Lely robotic sweeper in the free-stall…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Confessions of a Farm Wife: Episode 17

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 13, 2015

    We have talked before about what food really means - that it's far more than just nutrients and calories. That it's emotional and it's tied to memories and family and childhood and more. That's entirely true. And yet, I've so often been a skeptic, especially of anything proclaimed to be healthier or ultra-whatever. Sort of like when the latest fad comes around (like, say, coconut oil pulled through your teeth, which I don't even know what that means but DeAnna swears…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought in California, blizzard in Boston - blame 'the blob'

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 13, 2015

    I confess. I'm a weather geek. Tell me something weird about weather and I'm all over it. That's why I'm so fascinated by a new, unexplained event in the Pacific Ocean that is not El Nino, but may be a weather-driving phenomenon every bit as significant. Most oceanic patterns that affect weather patterns in North America have been given very scholarly names. The El Nino Southern Oscillation, which we typically shorten to El Nino or ENSO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Dream chasers edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 10, 2015

    Are paleo diets more natural than GMOs? This piece from Scientific American raises some good (scientific) points, such as: "GMOs are scientifically sound, nutritionally valuable and morally noble in helping humanity during a period of rising population. Until then, eat, drink and be merry." The Food Babe is full of s*#&: I started following the Science Babe on Facebook some time back, and she's managed to get a piece on the Food Babe published in Gawker. It's got some…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Sad farewell to a beloved little Redbud tree

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 10, 2015

    Two of my favorite signs of spring are the beautiful blooms on the Bradford Pear and Redbud trees that dot my neighborhood. I especially love my redbud. Make that loved, past tense. The extremely strong winds that came through Easter week damaged it, cracking a main branch away from the trunk. My vote was to let it stand for a few more days before turning it over to the skills of "the tree man," just because it was in full, beautiful bloom and I wanted to enjoy it one last…

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  • Josh Flint

    You've got questions, our experts have answers

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 10, 2015

    In the very near future, the landscape will be loaded with tractors pulling planters. Thanks to auto-steer, that means a lot of you will have time to think as you follow that A-B line. Here’s something to think about. Did you know that Prairie Farmer has a couple of columns, written by experts, that is looking for questions from farmers? Many of you have probably read Curt Ferguson’s excellent column on the challenges of estate planning. Ferguson is an estate planning attorney who…

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  • Jennifer Kiel

    Former editor honored for ag service

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Kiel
     on April 9, 2015

    Here's a blast from the past. I recently tracked down and chatted it up with Richard "Dick" Lehnert. Does that ring a bell with anyone? I'm sure it does, especially with some of Michigan Farmer's older — umm, I mean longtime — readers. Dick spent 26 years (1965-1991) at Michigan Farmer, the last 15 as the chief editor. It was largely the work he'd done here, as well as at two ag publications thereafter, that recently garnered him the esteemed honor as one…

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  • Mindy Ward

    What this farmer does with his shovel may surprise you.

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 9, 2015

    Driving down state Highway 94 in southern Warren County, I slowed as a man with a shovel appeared along the roadway. He stepped out of his all-terrain vehicle and watched as car after truck after van passed by. Then with one swift movement, he did it. He stabbed the ground with the shovel and started to dig. It was a rainy morning yesterday complete with hail and flash flooding in the eastern part of the state. At my farmstead, we received 3 1/2 inches of rain in just two hours. Creeks were…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Of free-ranging chicken and liberated livestock

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 9, 2015

    Change for the better is always welcome in my house, even for those wrenching times new ways outgun nostalgia like a villain in a showdown. When I look at where agriculture stands today as opposed to where we were 50 years ago, it strikes me everything is different. And it will be again in another 50. Time has a way of making things we consider set in cement look more like their foundations were in quicksand. Given my pragmatic view of life -- perspective is everything -- change to me is part…

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  • Curt Arens

    Highway litter cleanup makes impression on farm kids

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 8, 2015

    On Easter Monday, it has been a tradition with our 4-H club over the past decade or so to cleanup a three mile stretch of county highway that runs very near to our farmstead. Now into the second generation in the club to walk these same ditches for trash, it is interesting how important this act of community service has become to our 4-H members, past and present. This past Monday, our club members and their parents braved a cool, driving drizzle, toting trash bags and caps and coats, to walk…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Agriculture and the Internet of things

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 8, 2015

    Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show talk of the "internet of things" really started big. And the idea has flourished into this year's CES. The idea is that devices would be connected across a network and linked to the cloud in some fashion. But what might that mean for farmers? What follows is a hypothetical, but potentially realistic, way that such a tool might be applied to your farm equipment. Data-connected farm equipment already provides manufacturers rich…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Home economics: in your school?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 8, 2015

    About a year ago, I wrote a blog asking, in essence, whatever happened to home economics? It led to some great email conversations, including some with the instructor of a set of college curricula on home economics education – though to be modern and correct, it's now known as Family and Consumer Sciences. One thing led to another and yesterday I got to Skype with one of her classes. We talked a lot about teaching the science behind food production, and what students need to know to…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Excited to explore Nebraska Ag

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 7, 2015

    These last three years have flown by quickly. While I'm excited to be settled in to my new role as editor of the Nebraska Farmer, it goes without saying at this point that I've got some mighty big shoes to fill taking over the role of Don McCabe, who, after writing for the Nebraska Farmer for 37 years, has become a well-known friend of agriculture throughout the state. In addition to those who have worked with Don at the Nebraska Farmer, it seems, even in the short time I've been…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Who spends more on conservation: Ducks Unlimited or farmers?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 7, 2015

    It burned my butt the other day to see that Ducks Unlimited got so much praise for pledging to spend $1.8 million more a year for the next five on conservation in South Dakota over the next five years. Related: Conservation can be profitable, too The $9 million pledge represents up to a 40% increase in the organization's spending in the state, said Ducks Unlimited South Dakota manager of conservation programs Steve Donovan, in a report published and broadcast widely in…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Sides are lining up in battle over water quality

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 6, 2015

    The three northwest Iowa counties and their drainage districts the Des Moines Water Works is suing over water quality issues could get some help in this legal battle. The Iowa Drainage Districts Association said last week it is asking approximately 40 counties and 20 companies to join the three counties' effort in defending themselves against the lawsuit. The Iowa Farm Bureau is also assessing how it can best help in the fight. This all started in January when Des Moines Water Works…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Diversity in agriculture is good for Indiana

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 6, 2015

    Someone once said that things don't have to be right or wrong, sometimes they can just be different. That applies to Indiana agriculture. After traveling the state for several days, visiting a dozen farms, I'm convinced there is no right or wrong way to farm in Indiana – there are just different ways. The goal seems to be the one common bond: Make a living and support family members who also want to farm, while protecting God's resources at the same time. I visited a poultry…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Confessions of a Farm Wife: Episode 16

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 6, 2015

    There's more to the story, friends. Always. If ever there were a moral to the story, I think that might be it. And what happens when we don't read beyond the headline? My fellow farm wives and I are back with another podcast, talking about just those things, many of which I shared last week. New this time: it's shorter! We are told that shorter is better, so if you have any preferences on this, please let me know. Our thinking is more frequent and shorter podcasts, oriented around…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Oh, the places you'll go

    The Fence Post

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on April 3, 2015

    Did you miss me? I've been away from my blog for a few months and when I think back to what I have been doing and where I've been, I have one song that comes to mind…. "I've been everywhere, man. I've been everywhere, man. Crossed the desert's bare, man. I've breathed the mountain air, man. Of travel I've had my share, man. I've been everywhere." New York Farm Show This year started for me with the New York Farm Show in February. I left the…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Easter chicks end up as dinner

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 3, 2015

    My family was backyard, free-range poultry producers long before it became a fashionable fad for city dwellers. It was the 1970s and moving from a subdivision to a small hobby farm provided endless opportunities for a wide-eyed, animal-loving third grader. And one special Easter morning, there was more than eggs waiting in, well, near my basket. As I traversed the dyed egg trail, I could hear a faint noise. My pace quickened when I heard the sound turn into chirping. There hopping in and out…

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  • Holly Spangler

    When we think we know more than we know

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 2, 2015

    She approached slowly but confidently, new books in arm and tote over her shoulder. I smiled and said hello and tried to look approachable. It worked; she approached, but less with a question than a statement. "So, these GMOs that are getting sprayed on all our food, they're really killing the bees off," she said. I think I squinted and looked confused. She continued. "My husband is a beekeeper -  we're concerned about that. What GMOs are doing to the environment…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Things farmers shouldn't say out loud

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 1, 2015

    There are a couple things you shouldn't say out loud on the farm. Ever. Among them: "Calving is going really well this year!" Also, "The kids have been really healthy this winter!" Because you know what happens next: disaster and puke, though not necessarily in that order. I spoke those words last Wednesday as I visited with a farmer friend. He asked how calving was going. I said, "Great! Far better than last year!" I told him how our six-year-old had…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    April Fools' Day and not a minute too soon

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 1, 2015

    Of all the oddball "holidays," April Fools' Day I perhaps the oddballest. Should it be capitalized?  Should Halloween? Labor Day? English rules are bent when it comes to the oddball holidays which fall outside the conventions of Christmas and Easter. I also wonder about New Year's Day. Related: Perhaps the best agriculture April Fools' Day videos ever It seems whenever they create a new holiday like Earth Day it suddenly deserves caps (as we learned journalists…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Kudos to U-M plant breeding grad students

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 1, 2015

    As I skimmed emails last week, I came across information about a plant breeding symposium at the University of Minnesota. I read the agenda and checked my calendar. I was free that day, Friday, March 27, so I decided to go. Two things intrigued me about the meeting, entitled 'Breeding Crops for Alternative Systems and Environments': the symposium's theme and the fact that the whole day was planned and handled by a 12-member applied plant science graduate student planning…

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  • Fran O

    Nearly 50% of all food is wasted

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 31, 2015

    Every year, between 40% and 50% of the food produced in this country is wasted, according to a food safety Extension specialist at the Michigan State University and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Food waste happens at all stages of production including harvesting, packing as well as restaurant preparation. We are all guilty of wasting food. Who hasn't had carrots or deli ham spoil in the refrigerator? The same is true for a loaf of bread or a bag of chips or a bunch of…

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  • Curt Arens

    10 ways to prepare your farm for severe weather

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 31, 2015

    I know you are busy looking at the planter and making sure your tractors and equipment are ready for the upcoming planting season. Warmer weather so far this spring in Nebraska has allowed many producers to think about field work earlier than last season. Of course, we all know that winter can still cause some chaos in April, but our planning is focused now on the fields. Most spring and summer months in the Great Plains offer crazy weather extremes. The big tornadoes that struck last summer…

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  • Josh Flint

    Planting corn in central Texas is a bit rocky

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 31, 2015

    Update: Coverage of the Beck's multi-hybrid planter - Beck's, Kinze multi-hybrid planter collaboration becomes reality Last Thursday morning, Beck's Hybrids Ashley Woodward Fischer called and said, "I know this is a little last minute..." Uh oh. "But, would you like to fly down to Texas on Monday and see the Kinze multi-hybrid planter in action?" Umm...yeah! So, on Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. EST, I found myself cruising through the atmosphere at 500 mph via…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Congratulations on a job well done

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 30, 2015

    To encourage professional improvement and recognize outstanding effort by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists, the Iowa Agricultural Extension Association has a communications awards program each year for its members. These awards are presented at the annual meeting of IAEA on the ISU campus at Ames. Winners and categories they excelled in for 2014-15 were recognized at the recent March 2015 IAEA meeting. "We had winners in 10 of the 14 categories," says Gary…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Closed sign on Saturday at a farm store makes one think

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 30, 2015

    The farmer relating this story to me works in town during the week. Recently, he headed down to the local fertilizer dealer on Saturday morning to get fertilizer for his pasture. He wanted to get it on before the next rain. He never thought twice about whether the store would be open. It had been open on Saturday since he was a kid. Related: Old Telephones And Antique Store Ponderings Every other Saturday morning in those days was when his dad drove to the county seat, cashed the milk check…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Confessions of a Farm Wife: Episode 15

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 30, 2015

    Friends, we took the show on the road! A year ago, Emily Webel, DeAnna Thomas and I sat at the (most excellent) Women in Agriculture conference in the Quad Cities with two trains of thought: first, Ron Hanson shared excellent and simultaneously disturbing advice for our farm families. And second, we quietly chatted at our table about the possibility that Emily could be pregnant. And I said, "Don't worry, you are not pregnant!" And now she has twins. So don't ask me for…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: Statewide arboretums provide forestry outreach

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 27, 2015

    Nebraska has a long and storied tree history. For a prairie state, we love our trees. Another interesting, but not well-known chapter of that tree planting history still lives on through Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. NSA is completely unique, with over 100 certified arboretum sites, scattered throughout 56 communities across the state. This system is unlike any other arboretum network in any state. It all began 40 years ago, with Arbor Lodge, the home of Arbor Day founder, J. Sterling Morton…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Blogging through the Beltway: DC Dialogue

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 27, 2015

    It might not have been the Hollywood Red Carpet, but there was no lack of agriculture star power during this week's Missouri Farm Bureau Washington DC Legislative Trip. Farm Bureau members did not judged those who appeared before the group on clothing, but on commentary. There were times of tough talk and moments of lighthearted lines. Here are some of the highlights: Ambassador Darci Vetter, Chief Agricultural Negotiator with the rank of Ambassador at the Office of the U.S. Trade…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Rare Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 27, 2015

    National GMO labeling standards bill resurfaces: Pompeo and Butterfield have introduced another GMO labeling bill this week (similar to one they introduced last spring) but that would create a single federal labeling standard for foods containing GMOs, through a USDA-accredited non-GMO certification process. The non-GMO label would be similar to the Certified Organic label, in that farms or companies could seek the designation and label food as such; consumers who want to avoid GMOs could seek…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farmland for less than $10?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 26, 2015

    Remember the Farmland film, produced by USFRA? I've had the chance to see it twice now; first at the 2014 Commodity Classic and again this spring at a local college showing. I really liked it, even though I've mentioned it's not really for farmers. But I'd still like for my farmer to see it, and he hasn't yet. But now he can. Farmland is now available on DVD at Walmart and Amazon and on Amazon Instant Video. Could be the last movie you watch before planting season starts…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Blogging through the Beltway: USDA People's Garden

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 25, 2015

    As I walked by the USDA's office building in Washington D.C. across from the National Mall, I spotted a small greenhouse tunnel and raised garden beds. A small winding path darted off from the main sidewalk. I had to investigate. At the fork in the path was a small shed with dormant strawberry plants on the roof. Affixed to the front of the shed was a sign that read "People's Garden." This week I am traveling with members of the Missouri Farm Bureau on their annual…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Water Works lawsuit will slow progress on water quality

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 25, 2015

    Collaboration, not litigation, is the key to continued gains in improving water quality, says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. He spoke about the lawsuit the Des Moines Water Works recently filed against drainage districts in three northwest Iowa counties. I sat next to him during lunch last Thursday at our 2015 Iowa Master Farmer Awards Day in Des Moines and asked questions. About 200 people attended, including past winners from around the state and other people who came to honor…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    GMO Critics Face Future of Ridicule, Embarrassment

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 25, 2015

    When I was a younger ag journalist and Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" (1962) became the Bible of the environmental movement, I was jarred to think how short-sighted public perception could be about agriculture. Time passed and after covering the ag world in the wake of the book's far-reaching popularity, I  came to discover that some of the misuse of pesticides by the industry  was real, and that important changes were needed. Dawn the age of regulation, the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Be careful out there with prescribed fire

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 24, 2015

    Back in 1987 when I was working part time for UNL Extension, I had the opportunity to help out with a prescribed burn on a quarter section of CRP land. It was the first time I had been on such a project. Fortunately, the burn had a crew of experienced fire fighters and prescribed burn professionals. I was the only rookie that day. I showed up and immediately, the crew handed me a fire retardant jacket. I strapped on a heavy backpack filled with water and was handed a long-handled flapper…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Global farm machinery outlook dour

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 24, 2015

    It may be like stating the obvious but 2015 farm equipment sales could be soft. Of course, the list of layoffs at the major manufacturers is a solid sign that they're pulling back quickly to avoid past mistakes. In fact, in conversations at the National Farm Machinery Show and Commodity Classic, some of us "legacy" equipment followers talked about this latest downturn versus the historic collapse of the mid 1980s. And we all agreed that this time around, 30 years later, the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Do women earn less as farmers?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 24, 2015

    CBS News reported this week in their MoneyWatch section that farming is among the 11 jobs where women face the biggest pay gap. Give it a read but among the story's highlights: Women who are farmers and ranchers face the biggest pay gap out of all the professions measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, at 60.7 cents for every $1 their male counterparts earn. The U.N. says women farmers are likely to have smaller farms; women represent 1 out of 10 farmers and ranchers; and women farmers earn…

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  • Mike and Sheilah Reskovac

    Corn ethanol: What was Senator Toomey thinking?

    Two Hearts, One Harvest

     by Mike and Sheilah Reskovac
     on March 23, 2015

    Mike: This column departs from my joint effort with Sheilah for a reason you'll understand. Lately, my inbox and mailbox has been filled with all sorts of correspondence concerning U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s effort to repeal Renewal Fuel Standard incentives for producing corn ethanol. Back in mid-January, Toomey, along with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced an amendment to eliminate the RFS corn ethanol mandate. When I heard of it, I quickly put on my corn grower’s…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Barn fires can take away everything you know in an instant

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 23, 2015

    The barn lights – not heat lamps – burned for nearly two months straight this winter in the lambing barn. We installed new cameras, and while they provide night vision, the image is much sharper if there is more light. So I always left these lights on. I finally shut them off after the last ewe lambed and we took down the cameras and tucked them away for next year. Related: 7 Tips To Prevent Farm Barn And Building Fires Four days later I was feeding in the barn when I heard a…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Picture yourself in Cultivating Master Farmers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 23, 2015

    Some 10 years ago or so, Peggy Kay Fish had the idea to pair up young farmers and Master Farmers for a mentor experience. Peggy was a force at Farm Credit at the time and she came to us at Prairie Farmer with the idea. We loved it. Conversations ensued, the idea evolved and the Cultivating Master Farmers Program was created: a two-year class with 10 Master Farmer couples, 10 (or so) young farmers and couples, and a program that involves 6-8 speakers and roundtable discussions over the course…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Proud to be a farmer

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 22, 2015

    I thought Larimore, N.D., potato grower Carl Hoverson did something pretty neat recently when he was elected chairman the United States Potato Board. According to the Northern Potato Growers Assocaition, Hoverson accepted the gavel and thanked members for electing him as their new chairman and entrusting him with the opportunity to lead the organization. "In a brief and unexpected departure from the meeting program, Hoverson demonstrated what his priorities are for the coming…

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  • Josh Flint

    Is the iPhone 6 Plus too big?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 20, 2015

    Last week, I upgraded to the iPhone 6 Plus. I jumped from the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen to the phablet-sized 5.5-inch screen. Was the extra screen real estate worth the usability trade-off? I remember having this conversation with Willie Vogt, executive director of content, several months ago. He was leery of the extra girth that comes with the 6 Plus. And, he has a point. Since I purchased my iPhone 5 two years ago, Apple had introduced several new models. For a detailed comparison of…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Top Ten named for Iowa's Best Burger contest

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 18, 2015

    It's that time of year once again for the Iowa's Best Burger contest. For the last six years, Iowans have nominated their favorite burger joints to take the title of best burger in Iowa. For the last three years, those of us from the Creston area have had the honor of having our own local restaurant, the Elm's Club, make the Top Ten. This year, nominations came from towns of 1,000 to metropolitan areas of over half a million. From February 11 to March 10, Iowans made over…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Metro is clueless about conservation

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 18, 2015

    Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed buffer strip legislation is getting lots of media attention as lawmakers, farm organization and environmental groups wrestle with how to protect Minnesota's water quality. The governor's bill would require at least 50 feet of perennial vegetation to surround Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams. According to a downloadable  fact sheet provided by the governor's office, the bill does not alter existing shoreland rules or drainage law. It…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Rainless, sunny days marching on through spring's fanfare

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 18, 2015

    We have enjoyed a mostly dry winter this year, with lots of open days to plow fields and tackle the farm outside chores that sometimes wait on the end of rain. While those sunny winter days with little moisture might have been enjoyable, our snowpack in the Pacific Northwest has been sickly, and precipitation levels are down even in Twilight-famed Forks, Wash., the so-called wettest place in the lower 48. But as I get outside to work in the yard, I am beginning to realize that come August…

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  • Curt Arens

    The faces of farming during National Agriculture Week

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 17, 2015

    It’s National Ag Week, with Ag Day on March 18. This is a good time for me to reflect on all of the fine folks I know who work quietly every day to bring food to our tables. They do their jobs in the fields and around their farms and ranches without much fanfare, except when someone in the mainstream urban media wants to run them down. I’ve had the honor of helping cover agriculture in our region for Nebraska Farmer as a field editor for five years now. During the course of that…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Confessions of a Farm Wife: Episode 14

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 17, 2015

    Well, friends, we took a little break. Our last podcast was yonder back in September, which was two whole babies ago for my fellow farm wife, Emily Webel. The babies were born in early October, spent a few days in the NICU and came home to settle into Webel family life. They are as adorable, intelligent, funny and successful as you might imagine them to be. And so we're back with a podcast: updating on babies, on DeAnna's career change (that's Mrs. Thomas to you…that's…

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  • John Vogel

    Climate change is really happening. Spring's breaking loose!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 16, 2015

    It's not quite a Biblical happening. But most of us are experiencing "unspeakable joy" with winter's sudden break to warmer weather. It's the kind of climate change and global warming that we all want to see. Last week, many were out leveling off and spreading out their snow banks to make them melt away faster – a little desperate for spring, don't you think? Since robins now hang around all winter, they aren't the first signs of spring, anymore. Before the…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Historic water quality lawsuit on tap in Iowa

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 16, 2015

    On Tuesday, March 10 the Des Moines Water Works board of trustees voted unanimously to file an unprecedented lawsuit that will challenge whether drainage districts are nonpoint sources of pollution under the federal Clean Water Act. Depending on how far along it gets and what the courts decide, the suit could affect drainage districts across the state and nationwide. Two months ago, the board gave 60 days' notice to county boards of supervisors in three counties in northwest Iowa: Calhoun…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Celebrate National Ag Day your way!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 16, 2015

    The list of activities that will occur across Indiana this week to celebrate National Ag Day is long indeed. Many counties have committees, often linked to the Extension Service or Purdue CARET arm, to help plan and promote ag days. I've participated in them myself. A few years ago I even spoke at the Ag Day breakfast in my home county. I probably gained more from breakfast than they did from me – I talked about the origins of Prairie Farmer and how it survived to modern day. There…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Secrets to high corn and soybean yields

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 15, 2015

    What’s the secret to growing 100 bushel soybeans and 300+ bushel corn in the Dakotas? High plant populations, lots of fertilizer and “no boat.” That’s what I gleaned from the recent Soy100 conference at South Dakota State University. Scott McKee, Alcester, S.D., talked about what he did to produce 103 bushels of soybeans per acre to win the 2014 South Dakota Soybean Yield Contest. Frank Kralicek, Yankton, S.D., answered questions about how he produced 318 bushel corn…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    The 'what were you thinking' question hits a new level

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 15, 2015

    I had an uncomfortable experience Sunday morning when I watched my Congressman, 4th District Rep. Mike Pompeo, in an interview on the KAKE-TV Sunday morning news program, “This Week in Kansas.” Talking about the issue of 47 U.S. Senators signing a letter to the leaders of Iran in an attempt to sabotage the ongoing negotiations for a multi-national, unilateral agreement to end the Iranian move toward a nuclear weapon, Pompeo said President Obama should have brought the negotiations…

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  • Mindy Ward

    For farm safety sake, watch out for your wives

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 13, 2015

    We are minimalist livestock producers. I am not sure if it is because of lack of funds, lack of time or just my husband's desire to get "crafty" with our operation. His view is to use whatever is laying around the farm to build or rig the right tool for the job. Related: Farm Safety Tip: Carry a Fire Extinguisher, Know it Works However, our quest to make do with what we have creates a few more farm accidents than necessary. Case in point--tarps are good for moving things around…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Antibiotics Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 13, 2015

    Proof he's the Science Guy: Bill Nye the Science Guy has reversed his stand on GMOs, and is updating a chapter in his latest book, Undeniable. FDA tests turn up dairy farmers breaking the law on antibiotics: The veterinarian at the end of the story is right in that this is a small minority, proving the rules are actually working. But that's a tough case to make to the average non-farming consumer. Dear County Market: Judging by my friend, Emily's, latest blog, it appears County…

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  • Holly Spangler

    90 years of Prairie Farmer Master Farmers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 12, 2015

    If I have a favorite day of my work year, it is the day of our annual Master Farmer luncheon. It's the culmination of months of work: nomination forms completed, support letters written, judging finished, cover photos shot, farms visited, interviews done, stories written, announcements made and finally, the luncheon itself, held yesterday in Springfield, Ill. (It may have also been my birthday and what better way to spend it than with a bunch of the best farmers in Illinois? They even sang…

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  • Josh Flint

    Wrapping up an amazing Master Farmer ceremony

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 12, 2015

    Agriculture is a terrific industry. It’s a tight-knit group of hard-working individuals that feels like a family. I am continually thrilled with the high level of competence that exists in agriculture. Farmers, company representatives, agency reps or ag journalists – these folks know how to do their job, and they do them well. The folks at Penton/Farm Progress are no different. That’s one of the first things I noticed when I was hired in 2008. Take the Farm Progress Show. I…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Anniversary Comes With Thoughts of the Way we Were

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 11, 2015

    "I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who? Who wrote the book of love!!!!" The Monotones: 1958. Great soundtrack for American Graffiti! As I gaze at my magic digital frame showing all those wonderful moments since Sally and I tied the knot in 1977 on March 12, and listen to "Book of Love" it all comes gushing back in so many fuzzy moments. Chapter one says you love her with all your heart. Stuck on that part of the book even after 38 years. No, we're not the people we…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farmers, NRDs, technology preserve groundwater resources

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 10, 2015

    Nebraska farmers treat water as a precious resource. It’s National Groundwater Awareness Week. If you listen to some folks, you would think that farmers have single-handedly wasted our groundwater resources through irrigation in the matter of a few decades, with nothing to show for it. This simply is not the case. We can talk about producing food for the world and all. And, because of the water management responsibilities of our 23 local Natural Resources Districts, Nebraska has removed…

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  • Jennifer Kiel

    It takes 'levels' to attract ag investments

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Kiel
     on March 10, 2015

    Doug Clemens, CEO of Clemens Food Group, the company poised to build the new pork processing facility in Coldwater, credits the group of growers who approached him for putting the legs under the idea. He readily admits that his company was not looking to build a new facility and certainly not in Michigan. The decision to locate in Michigan, versus Ohio, was swayed by our state's levels of support. I'm talking truly levels of support — from the grower level, industry level and the…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Targets of Des Moines Water Works lawsuit threat get some help

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 9, 2015

    Three counties in northwest Iowa that the Des Moines Water Works is threatening to sue will get some of the $1.4 million in state soil and water conservation funding announced March 4 by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. The money will be used to help address problems with loss of nutrients from farm fields, such as nitrates entering streams and rivers. The three counties being threatened by the lawsuit are Calhoun, Sac and Buena Vista. The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land…

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  • Tom Bechman

    There's a time to say goodbye, even if you don't want to

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 9, 2015

    If you have livestock for pets, that's one thing. If you're doing it as a business, that is another thing. Good business decisions and sentimental feelings aren't always the same. In fact they're often polar opposites. It doesn't make the decision any easier. I have a ewe with her third set of lambs. It's one of the few times we paid a good price for a yearling ewe. She didn't get bred the first year or aborted, either is possible, after her show career. Then she…

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  • John Vogel

    American Agriculturist's favorite tractor poll results are in

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 9, 2015

    Yes, I know you're not supposed to brag when you're predictions come true. Forgive me this time. In my previous blog, I predicted that the boomer generation of farmers wouldn't pick the same favorite tractors as older "geezers" in American Agriculturist's poll. Likewise, Generation-Xers and Millennials might lay claim to higher-horse tractors. We put my theory to the test at the recent New York Farm Show by asking visitors to American Agriculturist's exhibit to…

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  • Tyler Harris

    "Border Battle" brings in 7,642 pounds of donated food

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 6, 2015

    The Western Farm Show is a Kansas City tradition that dates back to 1960 and has been held at the American Royal Complex in the historic West Bottoms every year since. Twenty five years ago, the Western Farm Show started another tradition in conjunction with National FFA Week – hosting FFA advisors and students. "We've thought for years we should have an FFA Day at the Farm Show. FFA members are the future of our industry and our work force. There's a great tie in to this…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Food and Dogs Edition

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 6, 2015

    Girl Scout Cookies Baked with Science Literacy: Woohoo! The Girl Scouts are back on board with science! Eat your cookies without non-GMO guilt, knowing the Girl Scouts not only didn't cave to non-GMO pressure but even came out with a statement in support of GMOs: “It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified crops…. "In addition, in the future, GMOs may offer a…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    What's next from Dwayne Beck?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 6, 2015

    Dwayne Beck has some neat ideas he wants to try with the $1 million that the Howard Buffet Foundation recently donated to the Dakota Research Farm in Pierre, S.D. Beck, a South Dakota State University professor, has managed the shareholder owned research farm in central South Dakota since its inception and is credited with leading the conversion to no-till and continuous cropping systems in the region. In an interview with the Capital Journal, Beck laid out several projects the money could be…

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  • Holly Spangler

    On poultry farmers and poultry killers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 5, 2015

    Over the past two weeks, 300,000 chickens have been killed on 16 South Carolina farms, stretching across several counties. On at least one farm, which belongs to W.L. Coker, 200,000 birds were roasted to death. Someone broke into the facilities, disabled the temperature alarms, shut off ventilation and allowed temperatures to reach 115 degrees. Mature birds need temperatures in the chicken house to be 65 to 70 degrees. Chicks live at 95 to 100 degrees. The details are simultaneously gory and…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Oh, yes, the season to dig in the dirt and plant something

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 5, 2015

    A month ago, I had an attack of a chronic disease that I have identified as “seed catalog disorder.” It comes at that point in mid-winter when snow and cold reach unbearable levels and the only reasonable thing to do is to think about spring. Thinking about spring automatically leads to thinking about what to plant where and what seeds need to be started early so they can be transplanted and that leads to a full-blown case of what I call “dig in the dirt and plant something…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Iowa Ag Summit attracting national attention

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 4, 2015

    The first-ever agricultural forum for wannabe U.S. presidential candidates is set for March 7 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. With a strong lineup of speakers, the event will offer Iowa Caucus voters a chance to hear the candidates' views on key farm and agriculture issues. The forum is also a way to prompt presidential candidates to learn more about important ag issues and how government policies affect farmers and the rural economy. A dozen potential presidential candidates…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Who Changed the World When I was Away?

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 4, 2015

    It all began … Well, maybe not ALL of it, and perhaps none of it all. Yet, it began sometime, somewhere. Social change, I mean. I have grown old in a world where those growing up are so markedly different from me at their age that I have trouble identifying with sometimes. Blame it on Elvis. Blame the Hippies. Blame Socrates. Before the '50s, everything was normal. Well, maybe those who grew up before "the" war will say it all went to heck right after. Or, maybe the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Being Neighborly on the Farm

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 3, 2015

    What do you think? What are some of the key elements you would expect from a good neighbor? You can share your thoughts and observations here. Common threads. It seems if you attend enough farm and ranch meetings over the years, you gain insight into common themes and threads that really run across enterprise lines, no matter if you are learning about livestock, crops, machinery, technology or natural resources. One of the themes I’ve brought home lately from some of the recent meetings…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Can a video change your life?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 3, 2015

    In my travels this winter, I was fortunate to meet Heather Dineen, the Waxahachie, Texas, farmer who was chosen as Monsanto's 2014 Farm Mom of the Year. She is lovely and I could listen to her Texas accent all day long. She struck me most immediately as being of incredibly deep character, and well spoken. It was only when I asked about her children that she hesitated in her conversation. She and her husband, John Paul, are parents to four children but lost their son, Johnny, in a farm…

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  • Josh Flint

    You've got to try this popcorn

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 2, 2015

    As a Corn Belt ag journalist, you’ll occasionally get a freebie from the field. One of the most common is sweet corn – delicious! But, every so often, a farmer will give you a bag of homegrown popcorn. Until lately, I’ve always filed that gift away in the back of the pantry. I’ll be honest; the only popcorn I’ve ever made is the microwave variety. That changed last week. I reached for a bag of my favorite microwave popcorn (Pop Secret HomeStyle) and came up…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Saved by the calendar! Weather guys say winter is over!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 2, 2015

    The calendar made it to March. That means according to the professional ag climatologists, the weather gurus, winter is over. Ken Scheeringa, associate Indiana state climatologist, says climatological winter is Dec.1 through Feb. 28. It's over – done – finished! Many of us thought it would never get started, although there was a brief cold patch before Christmas. Then the second half of February arrived, with bitter cold, snow, and school delay after school delay. One old…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Marketing like Pete Rose

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 2, 2015

    With the Minnesota Twins starting their spring training baseball this week (they play the University of Minnesota on the 4th and Boston on the 5th), I thought Jared Hofer, farm management instructor, South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management at Mitchell Tech, came up with an apt analogy of how baseball is like ag marketing. He says you should market like Pete Rose swung his baseball bat. “In spite of some poor decisions later in his career that tarnished his image, it cannot be…

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  • Paula Mohr

    The passion is still there for ol' 4-Hers

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 2, 2015

    For this 4-H alumnus, it was a delightful evening of celebrating the memory and impact of 4-H at the recent Minnesota 4-H Foundation's 'Celebration of Agriculture' held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. The night began with a social hour featuring several 4-H youth and their current projects. We had the chance to chat with them about their 4-H involvement and future plans for college. After that, we were seated for the meal, featuring delicious Compart Premium…

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  • Fran O

    Surviving the college years

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 1, 2015

    This is the sixth consecutive year I have had one or more sons in college. Currently our twins are juniors in college. One is attending University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is double majoring in dairy science and agronomy, and the other one is a student at UW-River Falls majoring in agronomy and soil science with an emphasis in soils. My 23 year old son graduated from UW-Madison in May 2012 with a degree in dairy science and is working for East Central/Select Sires in the Madison…

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  • Mindy Ward

    You might have attended Commodity Classic if...

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on February 28, 2015

    As the 2015 Commodity Classic winds down in Phoenix, I am sure farmers will walk away with some insight from educational sessions, a wish list of equipment or technology purchases, and new friends that will last a lifetime. However, you might have missed a few light-hearted moments that truly reflect what it is like for America's farmers to attend the Commodity Classic. Here are 10 ways to know if you had the full Commodity Classic experience. You might have attended the 2015 Commodity…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Location, location, location

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 27, 2015

    It is true in real estate and farming, and it is true in tree planting as well. Location means everything. When I go out to schools and conduct Arbor Day celebrations and festivities, we always talk with students about proper tree planting techniques. I always ask students, “What is the first thing you do when you plant a tree?” Unless they’ve heard the discussion before, they will invariably say, “Dig a hole.” I suppose technically they would be correct, but…

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  • Don McCabe

    Discover the biological action occurring in your soil

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on February 27, 2015

    Our preferences for off hours in this country usually center around "action" more so than relaxation. We like sports action and action movies, for instance. But those forms of entertainment pale in comparison with the biological activity occurring, or should be occurring, in the soil on our farms. It's a real jungle down there. And there's more of this live action in healthy soils than soils that are tilled and where limited rotations or monoculture occur. The concepts of…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Don't miss "Iowa's Century Farms" IPTV documentary

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 27, 2015

    Viewers can tune-in to Iowa Public Television March 3 at 7 p.m. to see the new documentary "Iowa's Century Farms." It will be repeated March 8 at 11:30 a.m. The program examines the resilience of Iowa's century farm families and the ways in which they've been able to continue their agricultural traditions for generations to come. "There is a sense of pride in farming land that has been in a family for generation after generation, 100 years or more in some very…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Mark Your March Calendar

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 26, 2015

    Farm meeting season is notoriously busy but I am here to tell you: March is set to out-do itself this year. It's all good though. Good people, good information, good experiences. Take a look: Women Changing the Face of Agriculture | March 6: it's a long name but a great purpose, in connecting high school and college women with careers in agriculture. If you are that young woman or are the parent of that young woman, it's worth a look and a trip to Bloomington. And for the rest of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Rising used farm machinery inventory drives new industry initiative

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 25, 2015

    This week I'll be covering Commodity Classic in Phoenix (and yes I've had more than my fair share of trips to warm places this winter - and I'm not complaining) which includes a great trade show. As I did at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show I expect to hear more about a trend that has been gaining more traction in the farm equipment industry - certified pre-owned equipment, which I'll call CPO. The idea of CPO products isn't new, major car makers and aggressive dealers…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Cooking Up a Storm My Idea for the Latter Years Delight

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 25, 2015

    I have always been tantalizingly interested in the culinary arts, even to the point I am thinking about taking cooking classes when Western Farmer-Stockman is in my past starting with my June 1  retirement. I've dabbled in gourmet meals, cooked a mess o' conventional dinners, and have even tried my hot pad-clad paws in pastries. The little mysterious ins and outs of cooking have always intrigued me, like zesting, deglazing and spraetzling. I like the kitchen gizmos that make…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Grass Isn't Always Greener On the Other Side

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 24, 2015

    When we used to milk cows on our farm, the talent I remember most about our Holstein cows was their flexibility. A Holstein cow on pasture would reach under the bottom barbed wire of the fence to get greener grass, because everyone knows the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But, she often wasn’t even satisfied with that, so she’d reach her long neck around the post back inside the pasture where she was standing, because everyone knows the grass is always…

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  • Tyler Harris

    UAS taking flight in Europe

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on February 24, 2015

    In the U.S., unmanned aerial systems, or UAS, are still considered fairly new technology. The producers who are putting them to use on their own farms are still early adopters. However, over 4,000 miles away in France, Germany, and other parts of Europe, those in the ag sector have had a head start in flying UAS commercially. "They're basically taking what we want to do and moving forward with it. Having the legal authority to go out and fly already puts them a couple years ahead of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    When a College Becomes a Family

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 24, 2015

    Once upon a time, I was a wayward freshman at the University of Illinois, enrolled in pre-med in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I have written before, how it took me not so long at all (approximately October of my freshman year) to decide that eight years of chemistry was simply not in the cards for me. How my roommate at 4-H House talked me through what I might be interested in, listened and explained there was a major called agricultural communications which fit exactly what I…

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  • Josh Flint

    Top 5 Reasons for an Off-Farm Detour

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 24, 2015

    More than ever, farmers are requiring their son or daughter attend college or work off the farm for a period of time before returning to the family farm. For some high school students, this seems like an unnecessary step. Why spend four to eight years delaying the inevitable? Wouldn’t that time be better spent shadowing mom and dad and learning how they do things on the farm? Sorry, students, I agree with the “forced detour” that many moms and dads are now requiring…

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