• Lon Tonneson

    Grain Elevator Building Boom

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 30, 2010

    Grain companies are hustling to keep up with the boom in grain production in eastern South Dakota. ADM Benson-Quinn recently announced it will build an elevator at Tulare, S.D., next year. The new facility will have two million bushels of storage, a 10,000 bushel per hour dryer and high-speed truck unloading and railcar loading equipment. Cenex Harvest States and West Central Ag Services says they are teaming up to build a new shuttle grain elevator at Hannaford, N.D. They’ll break…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: My Farmer

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 30, 2010

    We met at a country dance place in Champaign, circa January 1995. He was a friend of many friends, and somehow, we'd lived within a block of each other for an entire semester and never met. His name was John Spangler and he had beautiful dark hair. And he could dance. We discovered we'd both signed up for calf watch, but I had to work and missed the meeting where they told us what to do and stuff. John offered to go with me, if I'd like, since we were supposed to go in pairs anyway. Um, why…

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  • Tim White

    Hunting Dogs

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on November 29, 2010

    The crack of dawn seemed unnaturally loud this morning -- kind of like a thunder clap that originated somewhere just beneath the pillow. Actually the first gun shot of deer season probably was several hundred yards behind our house. It was followed rapidly by two more blasts. It got me awake in a hurry. You see hunting season at our place is not about chasing whitetails. It’s about hunting for our dogs. You might think that yellow labs would have a special love for the boom of a shotgun…

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  • Josh Flint

    Missing My Son

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 29, 2010

      Sorry it’s been so long since my last blog. To be quite honest, I’ve been too heartbroken to write. As many of you probably know, my son, Lucas, passed away on Nov. 17 at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He fought a tough battle against a rare type of leukemia. He was two years old. During his fight, our emotions were on a roller coaster ride. Any good news sent our spirits soaring, while bad news did just the opposite. Since his passing, my wife and I have felt…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Corn and Beans

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 29, 2010

    I was at a field day this past summer and a rep for Dairyland Seeds was speaking. He was from Wisconsin and was actually there to talk alfalfa, but he commented that whenever he thinks they can grow pretty good corn up there, he just drives through Illinois…because we can really grow corn here. It's true. From May to October, 12 million acres of Illinois farmland are covered with corn. I've always been amazed by the architecture of the corn plant – brace roots work so perfectly…

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  • Tom Bechman

    No Christmas Pigs This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 29, 2010

    If it was up to me, outside Christmas decorations would consist of a couple strands of bulbs thrown onto the bush nearest our front door, and that's assuming that the lights strung the year before still worked. It's not that I'm a 'bah humbug,' it's more that I'm a klutz when it comes to things made in China with a half-life of two days, namely cheap strands of Christmas lights. My son, however, has become quite the overachiever in Christmas lights. We may not have the best display in the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Farm Safety

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 28, 2010

    A lot has changed in the past 30 years on the farm. Much of it is good. Like farm safety. I think back to my childhood and am slightly amazed I made it through it. Not that my parents did anything wrong necessarily. Everybody had exposed augers back then. No one had ROPS. We all played in the corn in the wagon. It's just the way it was. But over time, we've learned, often through heartache and loss. Ag engineers and farm safety experts have come up with some great stuff. Today, we…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Memories Come Pouring In When You Unpack the Christmas Decorations

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 27, 2010

    Like many of you, I'm sure, the weekend of Thanksgiving is the time to check the Christmas lights, unpack the decorations and start putting everything that makes the holiday in its place. Over the years, my family and I have moved a number of times and lived in assortment of houses. Maybe that's what makes the collection of decorations so special -- no matter where in the new house we decide to put them, they are still the familiar pieces of the past. Never mind that baby Jesus is now…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: DVD Players

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 27, 2010

    We're driving from one end of Illinois to the other today. Here's what I'm thankful for. I don't think there's much more that needs to be said here. Thanks & Giving Day 28: Farm…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Experts

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 26, 2010

    I don't know much about corn insects. But this guy does. I don't know anything about farm accounting. But this guy does. I don't know the latest growing season trends. But this guy does. I definitely don't know much about fertilizer supply and demand. But this guy does. And I can't walk out in a field and diagnose disease, yield or tillage problem. But this woman can. And every time I call each of them up, they patiently answer my questions with a depth of knowledge that I marvel…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Farm Friends

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 25, 2010

    Before these children were born, their parents sat in a hotel conference room and met for the first time. The husbands were all on the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee, and we were just getting to know each other. Some of us knew some of the rest from college. But over the course of the guys' four-year tenure on this committee, babies were born, jobs changed, careers came and went, farms grew and changed. We became fast friends. And in the years since, we've visited each…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Tech Offers Potential for In-Season Effort

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 24, 2010

    When you write about precision ag a lot of the talk is about analyzing data after the season ends; matching planting rates and hybrids or varieties with final yield can be enlightening. However, as more technology comes to play growers may be looking at ways to measure in-field stress to determine the potential for in-season action too. This idea may be gaining traction especially as some veteran technologies are put to new uses. From remote sensing in-season satellite images to on-the-go crop…

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  • John Vogel

    Be Thankful For What You Don't Have!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 24, 2010

      Thanksgiving will be an extremely difficult one for a certain young couple in Illinois. Last Saturday, Josh Flint, one of my counterparts in Farm Progress, and wife Tiffany laid to rest their two-year-old son. Lucas passed in his mother's arms after a grueling six-month battle with leukemia. If you've lost a child, especially a young one, you know the grief coming with that loss. That heart-breaking pain ebbs so slowly, and never completely heals until you come together again in…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: 4-H House

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 24, 2010

    Somewhere in February of my senior year in high school, one of my classmates was going on a college visit to the University of Illinois. I knew this place called 4-H House existed, but I hadn't given it a lot of thought. I figured I'd live in the dorm. And I don't know what came over me that day, but I said to my classmate, "If you happen to run into Kelli, ask her about 4-H House for me." We'd gone to high school with Kelli, too, and she was a sophomore at U of I and 4-H House. And while…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Last Load

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 23, 2010

    For anyone who has ever brought in the harvest, you know what that last load means. Harvest time is pay day. It is the time when you finally take a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief because, even if the last load of grain isn't inside a grain bin yet, at least it is in a wagon or truck and probably under a roof somewhere. When I began farming on my own, I learned to appreciate the feeling when the last load was driven out of the field. But there are a few last loads that I recall…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Grandparents

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 23, 2010

    Years ago, my mother-in-law started a lovely little tradition with her grandchildren. Starting at age 3, she takes each of them on a "Special Day" for their birthday. It's become quite the thing around here. In fact, plotting for next year's Special Day often starts right after this year's is experienced. Here, Jenna and Grandma Sharon are about to embark on Jenna's most recent Special Day. Note the pink purse straps and the excitement glimmering in her eyes. In general, a Special…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: History

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 22, 2010

      I'm guest blogging over at the Illinois Corn Growers today! Click here to join me at their site for day 22 of Thanks and Giving. The photo is one of my all-time favorites. Really, I've got a copy hanging right by my back door. And I'll be back here tomorrow, for day 23! Thanks & Giving Day…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Who Says Time Travel Isn't Possible?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 22, 2010

    This past week I reached out to people over a 500 mile radius. If I had done those interviews in person and took those pictures as in the good old days, it would have been some 2,500 miles. I would have been tired beyond belief by Friday night. Besides, I wouldn't have many if any stories written either. As it is, I've got a nice variety and number of stories prepared for you to enjoy when the January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer kicks off the New Year. And I seldom left the comfort of my…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Wisdom

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 21, 2010

      Five years ago, I was coming to realize we were the parents of what some might call a strong-willed child. And so, when I went to a motherhood conference called Hearts at Home that year, I made sure to check the box for a seminar on parenting a strong-willed child. It was led by John and Kendra Smiley, and their own (now grown) strong-willed child, Aaron. Turns out they'd written a book together. I took copious notes and bought the book immediately, if not before. A month or so…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Cousins

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 20, 2010

      I don't have any cousins. My kids have six, all of whom are growing up within 10 miles of our house. And may I just say, cousins rock. (And local cousins, at that!) This is Kayla, getting a hug from my little guy, Nathan. This was a couple years ago, but it's still one of my favorite pictures. And since my husband is the youngest of three brothers, the cousins range in age from Kayla, who's now 22, down to our Caroline, who's 2 ½. We grown-ups in the family have done…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Dunn Can Get It Done

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 20, 2010

    Several people have told me that Barry Dunn is going to be great for Dakota agriculture. It took me one phone interview with Dunn to agree. Dunn is the new president of the South Dakota College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and is charge of ag education, research and Extension in South Dakota. Dunn has done it all. He’s farmed and ranched, taught agriculture, done ag research and worked in Cooperative Extension. What impressed me most is that Dunn acknowledges that some of…

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  • John Vogel

    I Agree With Obama and Buffett

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 19, 2010

    Some of you probably are reading this in disbelief: Vogel actually agrees with President Obama on something!? Politicians in our nation's capitol are pandering to the well-heeled by accepting their lame excuse of why people who make high incomes shouldn't be taxed at a higher rate. Their claim – that these high incomes create jobs – is as lame as the current session of Congress. Think about it. Most businessmen, farmers included, separate personal income from business…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    The Budget Numbers Tell Story of Their Own

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 19, 2010

    There's a lot of talk out there about what needs to be done to fix the federal budget problem. Routinely, farm subsidies are a part of that conversation. I found some Cato Institute numbers on just who gets what of the federal budget broken down in an interesting way and I thought I would share some of them. The biggest share of your dollars goes to Health and Human Services -- $869 billion a year -- or around $7,400 per household on average: That's $617 a month, per…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Namesake

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 19, 2010

    Remember earlier this week, when I told you about Jenna Louise? Well, this is Louise. Louise Efnor will be 92 this month. She swims at the Y. She leads Bible studies at her apartment building. She makes it to our little church in the country nearly every week. She will witness to the power of Christ in her life to anyone who will listen – including a hospital orderly. She volunteered at Faith Bible Camp for something like 40 years or so. Generations of campers still call her…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Departure from Thanks and Giving

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 17, 2010

      On Friday morning, June 10, I was rushing around the house, trying to get us organized and out the door to go show Jenna's bottle calf at the Cuba Livestock Show. John was spraying and was going to meet us there, so it was up to me to get us that far. I was packing lunches, thinking through snacks and halters and showsticks and boots and feeling fairly flustered and overwhelmed and late. I'm forever running late. The phone rang, and it was my co-worker, Josh Flint. I said, "Hey…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Equipment Technology Keeps Moving On

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 17, 2010

    Years ago, when I worked for another publisher, I had a conversation with a long-time automobile media guy who got into a conversation about how a car from 1988 was radically different from a car from 1972. Remember that's pre-electronic ignition and pre-super Clean Air Act on car emissions. By 1988, a lot of changes had been made, but that was 22 years ago...look at where cars are today. Now look at your tractor. If you've bought a new high-horsepower machine in the past three years you've…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Lunchboxes

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 17, 2010

    I'm going to be honest here. I can only pack so many of these things. And then it starts to get old.   Farm wives, are you with me? Anyone? Anyone?! Like, by the time I've packed lunches for my husband from September through mid-November – painstakingly making sure he's got his favorite roast beef sandwich, chips, some kind of fruit, veggie and treat – I'm a little done. And then there were the days this fall when I packed lunch for him, lunch for Jenna and Nathan for…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Promise

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 16, 2010

    Farmers are optimistic. In the face of all evidence to the contrary, we persist in thinking this year will be a good one. If last year was a horribly wet and cold, with a record-setting late crop, we are certain this year will be better - assuming certain is defined as having enough confidence to invest thousands of dollars in seed, fertilizer and other inputs for next year, all before the late crop was out. And if this year came out early but yields were pretty darn disappointing, we are…

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  • Tim White

    A Question for Dr. Mendell

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on November 15, 2010

    Dr. Jerry Mendell doesn’t play much golf. In fact the round he played this fall at Pleasant Valley Golf Course near Lancaster was the first he had played since he participated in the same event a year ago. No doubt he won’t play again until next year. When you are the director of the Center for Gene Therapy at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a professor of pediatrics and pathology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and co-director…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Who's the Dummy?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 15, 2010

    I heard yesterday that there farmer near Fargo, N.D, who have several thousand acres of corn yet to harvest. The upshot of the conversation was that maybe he was farming too much. After all, if you can’t you couldn’t get your corn harvested by mid November this year when the fall has generally been so nice aren’t you farming too much? Initially, I agreed. But I’m having second thoughts. After the last couple wet years, we know it’s possible to harvest corn in…

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  • John Vogel

    An Honoring That Must Never Cease

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 15, 2010

      Yesterday, a long line of war veterans – men and women – walked to the front of our church as we honored them. Some wore uniforms they could still squeeze into. Some proudly wore red, white and blue. Some came in t-shirts. Several slowly climbed the steps with canes and a little assist from fellow veterans. Most were old and graying, but amidst them stood two young men – one just recently returned from Afghanistan. All were proud to have served in the U.S. Armed…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Talk to and Appreciate People While You Can

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 15, 2010

    Hopefully this blog won't be as depressing as the subject indicates. But there comes a time in everyone's life when they need to realize that no one lives forever. I've become too accustomed to watching the obituary column in our local paper this year because it seems like there's someone I know there more than I would like - more than in the past. And reports of people heading to the next life come across my email more than I would like too. I've lost track of how many former ag teachers, all…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: New Babies

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 15, 2010

    Eight years ago, this child came into our lives. We named her Jenna Louise Spangler, and she was our perfect little peanut. She's the only of my three children who, when the doctor handed her to me, looked wide eyed at me and directly into my eyes. It's the way she tackles life; full-bore, head on, eyes wide open, ready to go. Let's get this party started. She's intense, but I love that about her. It's difficult to understand how profoundly your first child changes your life, until, of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Rest

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 14, 2010

    When you're tired enough, you'll sleep just about anywhere. On a bed, a couch, a truck seat, a show box, or with your favorite bovine. Take these kids, for example. They'd been up since 5 a.m. to load the trailer and hit the road for a suburban Chicago school. By this point in the afternoon, they were pretty tired. The sun was pretty warm, and the calves were pretty soft. And as someone who's also napped next to her favorite heifer, I'll tell you it's a sweet spot for a nap. You have…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It's Amazing How Fast False News Spreads

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 13, 2010

    There's an axiom in journalism that says a reporter will believe the worst take on news and routinely ignore anything that refutes it. Well, it sure is true when it comes to reporting about food and the systems that produce it. You'd think the people who don't grow food would be grateful they still get to eat. That wouldn't be the case if Capt. John Smith still ran things. But instead, they spend an amazing amount of time running down the people who provide them three squares and two…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Summer Is Officially Over; That WAS Frost . . .Or Was It?

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 13, 2010

    Summer, or late summer, isn't really ready to let fall move in. Wichita is still waiting for a frost that flattens the garden and officially marks the end of growing season. Yesterday was rainy and cold, but was that a REAL frost that dusted parts of the lawn? I thought so until I looked at my garden this afternoon. It pretty much looks like everything is still growing and nothing was flattened and the geraniums have never looked healthier. So I'm thinking, maybe that wasn't frost…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Adoption

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 13, 2010

    Three years ago, this little girl didn't have a home. She lived in an orphanage in Ethiopia. She didn't learn to crawl more than a couple paces because she rarely left her crib. She didn't have a mom or a dad; she didn't have anyone permanent to snuggle her close, to rock her as long as she needed it, to love her. But now she does. Two years ago, David and Shelly Roberts travelled to Ethiopia, after much saving and sacrifice, and brought her home. Today, she could not be more loved. Just…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: A Cold Drink

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 12, 2010

    Like father, like daughter? I think it's appropriate and worth noting that each of my toddlers have at some time referred to Mt. Dew as "Daddy's juice." So here's what I'm thankful for: a slice of time for my children with their dad. Lunch in the tractor cab, a moment nabbed during planting. A sandwich and a big drink, and some silly conversation. I’m not sure it gets any better than that. Thanks & Giving Day…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Rewards of Farming

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 11, 2010

    Who says that farming doesn't pay? Before taking a field editor position with Farm Progress this past spring, I had operated my family's fourth generation farm full-time for over 25 years. Over that period, some of the rewards of a farming life have been financial and others were less tangible. I've also had my share of comical trials and errors, and on a few occasions I've even learned from my mistakes. In addition to writing mostly for Nebraska Farmer and Dakota Farmer magazines, I still…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Working Toward Year End

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 11, 2010

    As winter nears in the north (there's even a threat of snow this week where I live) it's a signal that the year is coming to an end - the tax year that is. And if you're able to take advantage of the higher crop prices you may find yourself with the opportunity to keep on upgrading your equipment while lowering your tax burden. Tax Expert Darrell Dunteman, who writes Farm Tax Saver notes in a special report that's appearing in our magazines that the handy Section 179 expense method of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Patriots

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 11, 2010

    I'm not sure why, but farmers are a patriotic bunch of people. Maybe because they know what sacrifice is. Or because they knew someone who sacrificed everything.   Maybe because they're grateful for the opportunity to farm freely, they way they want to. Maybe they just like seeing the flag. Because it sure crops up a lot of places, and on farms all over the country. I appreciate that very much. And our veterans. My goodness. The veterans. Think of all we wouldn't have, were…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Time

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 10, 2010

    I've often been reminded of the Goethe quote, about how things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least, and never more so than when I visited the Allaman family a couple years ago. Roger Allaman had just been named a Master Farmer, and on a lovely day in May 2008, I went to visit with him and his family and take their pictures. Roger had been diagnosed with a pituitary brain tumor in January of that year, and his condition worsened daily. Looking back, I'm…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Community Leaders

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 9, 2010

    Nine years ago, Paula Helle had a vision. She rounded up a bunch of young people, taught them to sing, dance and act, and put them on a stage in a historic opera house in Ellisville, Illinois. And then she did it again. And again. And again and again and again. And when those kids grew up – they became high schoolers – she started another play for them. And nine years later, they're still going strong, with a high school production in June and a younger kids' production in…

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  • John Vogel

    Be On High Alert!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 8, 2010

    Yes, it's that time of year. No, I'm not talking about fattening a turkey (a real one, not a political one) – although a little extra grain might make good gobbling. And no, I'm not "pushing" Christmas shopping – although stores are already selling the Santa Claus spirit. So what am I talking about? Mother Nature has cocked her hammer with the onset of buck "rut" and the hormonal rush that speeds Whitetail deer herds onto roadways. This is the season when we all need to be…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Co-workers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 8, 2010

    I love my co-workers. I think any time you can count the folks you work with as extended family, you are blessed indeed. When I joined Farm Progress 12 years ago, I was told the people were wonderful. Whoever said that was totally right. We're scattered all across the country and only see each other once or twice a year, if that. But those are some good times. We catch up like old family, and we've even been known to participate in a few hijinks during our overnight outings. Let's just say…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Everyone Needs a Break Now and Then

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 8, 2010

    September and October around my house are known as soil judging season. I volunteer as the soils coach for local 4-H and FFA teams in the evenings and on weekends. If I wasn't busy writing things for you to read and didn't enjoy it so much, I might be a soil scientist. It's fascinating how the good Lord placed with here in recognizable ways, and how no two are the same, just like people. It's also useful information, especially if you're buying a farm. You want to find out before the sale, not…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It's A Banner Year for Kansas Cotton

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 7, 2010

    Kansas cotton harvest is getting into full swing and Southern Kansas Cotton Growers gin manager Gary Feist says this may be the best year ever. Yields are good, quality is outstanding and prices are the best they have been since the Civil War. Better yet, market watchers say good prices for cotton are likely to be around for at least another year, because use is still outstripping production and cutting into stocks. Promoters of cotton as a Kansas crop say the combination of factors…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Country Churches

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 7, 2010

    This is Checkrow Community Church. On any given Sunday, a couple hundred people from a handful of small towns and rural townships gather to worship. We fellowship, we compare harvest notes, we catch up, we worship. It's the place where my husband was raised. It's the place I attended when I was but a girlfriend, and where I first heard the complete salvation message. It's where it all began to make sense. It's where my little kids race downstairs to Sunday School and soak up the Word of God…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Farm Boys

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 6, 2010

    This photo won't come as a surprise to anyone who's raised a little boy on the farm. Yes, this was at a friend's house. And yes, that's a s'more in his hand. I'm not sure what to be grateful for here. That he thought to do it away from everyone? That he turned his back? That he's comfortable enough with our friends to relieve himself on their bushes? I'm really not sure. But I am grateful to be raising my little boy in the country. Think of the violations we'd incur in…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Barn Cats

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 5, 2010

    Why barn cats? Because they catch mice. And they have kittens, which make little farm girls smile. And then you can take pictures like this. And be grateful for how wonderfully happy they make your little farm kids. Thanks & Giving Day 6: Farm…

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  • Tim White

    Coyote at Play

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on November 4, 2010

    We hear coyotes around the farm on a regular basis -- as in at least once a week. In fact if the local emergency sirens went off at noon, like they do in many places, I’m sure we would hear them yelping and yapping every day. When a cat moved into our barn several years ago, the coyotes could be heard right behind the corral on a nightly basis. One day the cat disappeared and the coyotes were gone too. We don’t have many ground hogs anymore either -- plenty of squirrels and the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Opportunity

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 4, 2010

    Last spring, a handful of our local farmers took a couple trailer loads of livestock to a suburban Chicago school. We got to tell our story. Ipava farmer Randy Farr even spoke with a parent who thought "Food, Inc." was a great movie that showed both sides of the story. Randy was patient, thoughtful, engaging, and he took the opportunity to tell him why organic food is safe but so is conventionally-produced food. That parent walked away with a new perspective. Tell your story. And be…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Last Field, Last Round

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 3, 2010

    Paul Evenson and his crew were combining their last field of corn near Renner, S.D., this morning. Their harvest was ending on a bright, dry November morning.  “It went a lot better this year,” said John Evenson, Paul’s nephew, who was running the combine. The field was dry. There was no snow. It was 50 degrees F rather than 20 degrees F. Yields were good, John said, but he declined to “The corn is 14-15% moisture. That’s nice for a change. No need to dry…

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  • Josh Flint

    Missourians Make the Wrong Choice on Prop B

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 3, 2010

      Remember that song by Paul McCartney? It goes “someone’s knocking at the door, somebody’s ringing the bell.” Well, Missouri, that someone was the Humane Society of the United States. And you just “Let Em In.” When I turned in for the night, Proposition B was losing by about 4%. I said hallelujah when one of the news commentators said Missourians are seeing Prop B for what it is, just another layer of government intervention. At that moment, I was…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Perspective

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 3, 2010

    I have a friend who likes to say, "Without the bitter, life isn't as sweet." He's so right. Even if you don't take for granted the good years and the good crops, when you come out of a harvest that's not so great, it makes you realize how great the good ones really were. Sometimes, all it takes is a bad crop to make you really appreciate the good ones. Thanks & Giving Day…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Vote Now

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 2, 2010

    Today is going to be an interesting day for Dakota agriculture. It's election day. In North Dakota, Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) – one of the chief architects of the last farm bill – may lose his seat to Republican Rich Berg. In South Dakota, incumbent Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D) is in a tough race with Republican Kristi Noem. In North Dakota, there’s a measure on the ballot that bans high-fence hunting. How it will affect livestock producers has been hotly…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Surprise Poll Result?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 2, 2010

    This week I'm attending a crop science conference in Long Beach, Calif. This meeting, which brings together three big science organizations - including the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America, is chock full of scientific presentations and one in particular caught my eye. The report showed the latest results from an ongoing series of Ohio State University studies that look at the adoption of precision ag technology. This is a…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Piles

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 2, 2010

    It's Day 2 of Thanks and Giving...a month-long look at what we can be thankful for in agriculture and the rural Midwest. Today, piles of stuff. I'd like to argue that piles are the true farm kid life. No boxes. Just piles. Large, messy, never-ending, amazing piles.   Snow and sand, even rocks. Perhaps a little more dangerous, but no less fun. Piles. Thanks & Giving Day…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Take Time to Read Extension, SWCD Newsletters

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 1, 2010

    The days of paper newsletters mailed out under a bulk mailing permit from the local Extension office or the local Soil and Water Conservation District, or maybe your church or even the Farm Service Agency in your county, are slowly going the way of the Pony Express. Everyone wants to send email. Since even email is getting to be old hat among the younger set, perhaps it will be in text message form or some sort of video delivery in the future. I'm old fashioned. I still appreciate those who…

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  • Josh Flint

    Prairie Farmer Facebook Fan Page Turns One Year Old

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 1, 2010

      Sometime this week, Prairie Farmer’s Facebook page should hit 700 fans (698 as of press time). Not bad for a project we started just over a year ago. We started the project to help bring you even more information in between issues. Also, we added a lot of content to the Prairie Farmer website (www.prairiefarmer.com) and we wanted to promote it in the social media realm. We’ve also been successful in what I consider the most important goal, engaging more frequently with…

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  • John Vogel

    A Good Turn-out?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 1, 2010

    Sunday's newspaper headline read: "Good Turn-out Expected." The story was about voters turning out at the polls – no, not about "turning out" incumbent politicians. The article reported that 40% of eligible voters are expected at tomorrow's polling sites. I certainly hope you are one those 40 in 100 persons. That means you'll have more say in the future direction of American and even local government than the other 60 persons. My barber, a youngish man, has never voted. "I don't mess…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thanks and Giving: Heritage

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 1, 2010

    It's Day 1 of Thanks and Giving...a month-long look at what we can be thankful for in agriculture and the rural Midwest. Today, our roots. Farming is a generational business. Most of us are in it because our parents or grandparents were in it. What we have here is a heritage, and we have more than 8,300 Centennial Farms in Illinois to prove it. Take the Defenbaugh family, for example. Ray and Alice are the 9th of 10 generations of Defenbaughs to farm American soil. Every generation has…

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