• Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Hinderliters

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 30, 2011

    To tell the story of how I know this family would be rather lengthy, so I'll get to the point: they are my family! My brother and his wife, Doug and Katie Hinderliter, farm just south of Albion with my folks, Wayne and Susan Hinderliter. After college, Doug spent a few years working on various cattle operations before returning home to raise corn, beans, wheat, hay and cattle with my Dad. He and Katie – a farm girl herself, from the northern end of the county – married last…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Currys

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 29, 2011

    I think of two things when I think of Josh and Jody Curry. First, that they are hilarious. And second, that they are the epitome of a true family farm. Josh and Jody farm with his dad, brother, uncle and cousin in Henry County, near Alpha. They raise corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, and they also operate a farrow-to-finish hog operation and run a small herd of Shorthorn cattle. We first got to know the Currys through the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader program, back when Josh and my…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Nothing Better Than Chili On A Cold Night

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 28, 2011

    If you're a soup lover like me, the word 'chili' in Hoosier-speak conjures up thoughts of a warm, hearty meal that will stick to your ribs, especially on cool evenings like we're having this time of year. I love many kinds of chili, but I'll stay away from the Texas and southwestern chilies with all the jalapeno peppers and other 'hot' ingredients in them. To me, chili is too hot if it burns your tongue form temperature, not from being loaded with spice. The Franklin FFA recently held a chili…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Ropps

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 28, 2011

    When I first met Becky Ropp, I was but a wee freshman in college. Becky was a senior, an ag communications major, president of 4-H House, well-liked, well-respected and pretty much everything you'd want in a person you'd look up to. Over the years, our lives have intersected in various and interesting ways, not the least of which include my marrying a young man from her hometown, whom she'd gone to school with since kindergarten. And somewhere during my college career, I held an internship…

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  • Curt Arens

    Getting Wind Power Where It's Needed Most

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 27, 2011

    James Hoecker ought to know what he is talking about when he speaks about wind energy. The former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, serving from 1997 to 2001, is now senior counsel and energy strategist with Hush Blackwell. When he spoke to a large crowd at this year’s Nebraska Wind Conference in Kearney, he said that the only way the U.S. reaches a goal of 20% of our power generation from wind by 2030 is if transmission lines and infrastructure are expanded, improved…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Halpins

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 27, 2011

    This is beginning to sound repetitive, but it's true: we met Scott and Sarah Halpin when we were all on the Young Leader committee together! I'm sorry; I hope you're not sick of hearing that. If nothing else, take it as evidence that this committee gig is a great place to meet some wonderful people and make friends for life. (By the way, I occasionally hear from groups of farm families of various age groups who met either through this committee or through the Jaycees young farmer program of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Sometimes, You Get a Funny Sense of Optimism

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 26, 2011

    There's something about seeing the future generations in agriculture that just can't be beat for farm optimism. Little Galen, now about 30 months old, is the grandson of my life partner, Dave Dewhirst. He and his mommy and daddy, Noel and Rob, came to spend Thanksgiving with us from their home in Lawrence, where both are deeply engaged in academia from management issues to IT security and are connected to the University of Kansas, which for those of you who don't follow Kansas college life…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Bremmers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 26, 2011

    It was six kids ago when we first met Chad and Deb Bremmer. We were young grain and beef farmers in western Illinois; they were young grain and dairy farmers from northern Illinois. We met through the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader committee and became fast friends. The Bremmers, in short, are just good people. And over the years, they've become parents to Ben, 7, Ethan, 4, and Eli, 2. They raise corn, beans, wheat and alfalfa on 1800 acres in Stephenson County, near Pearl City…

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  • Willie Vogt

    The Ultimate Farm Gift List?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 25, 2011

    It's that time of year again, shopping 'til you're dropping, looking for new stuff to buy. But it's also a time on your farm when you may be aiming to maximize tax benefits for the operation, or take one final look at capital purchase needs at year end. We've done something new at Farm Progress, and it's a first for us. For years we've been providing a roundup of new products from the Farm Progress Show that you can see in your favorite publication, but that's over a few months when we have…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: Sean Arians

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 25, 2011

    If you take a look at the title of today's blog and glance at the picture below, you'll notice it varies somewhat from the past 24 days. I wanted to feature Sean Arians for several reasons: first, because he farms and works off the farm – like a whole lot of young farmers in this state. Second, because he's a single guy – like a whole lot of young farmers in this state. And third, because he's chair of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader committee – which means he's…

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  • John Vogel

    A Thanks-filled Reminder

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 24, 2011

      Early this week, I had the privilege and pleasure to sit at a farm table with good friends. And just about all of what we ate was raised on that farm or nearby – even the grape juice . . . not sure about the cranberries though. It gave me cause to think back about how as a child, I enjoyed the fruits, vegetables and beeves (even an occasional rabbit) of our labors. And sadly, I’ve somehow grown away from that all home-raised diet, lured by store-bought convenience and a…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The O'Briens

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 24, 2011

    Much like the Elmores, I didn’t get to know David O'Brien very well until he and his wife, Jennifer, joined the Cultivating Master Farmers Class of 2011. Then we became Facebook friends, and he generally cracks me up. Also, he's clearly a fan of The Sandlot, which means we're automatically real-life friends. You're killin' me, Smalls. David and Jennifer are parents to four small people, Katie, 6; twins John and Maggie, 3; and Julia, 1. Their lives feel a lot like ours, with dolls…

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  • Josh Flint

    I'm Thankful To Be a Part of the Ag Industry

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 23, 2011

    This week, the Illinois Corn Growers Association honored me with their Excellence in Media Award. First and foremost, thank you to the folks at ICGA. It’s a top-notch group that is doing some tremendous things for Illinois farmers. Afterward WIXY Classic’s Gale Cunningham asked me a few questions relating to my career for his radio show. It got me thinking back on my career thus far. I know; that’s a dangerous proposition. I’ll have been with Farm Progress four…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Making a Food Connection

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 23, 2011

    I don't usually do this, my blogs are pretty focused on technology or on farm equipment. But this week, I'll make an exception in part due to last week's blog where John Deere worked hard to make a deeper connection between the farmer and the food produced. Of course they used can goods, and I'll just be using words. We focus a lot on production in our magazines - that's what we want to do, provide you with the latest information so you can do the best job possible to bring in a bigger, more…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Elmores

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 23, 2011

    I first came to know Curt Elmore in the open cattle barns at the Illinois State Fair. For years, our families' Shorthorn strings were tied across from each other in one of the old brick buildings. I can remember his dad, Joe, watching me fight to stay awake one afternoon – when I was supposed to be watching our cattle – and coming over to tell me to go take a nap, that he'd watch the cattle. So very nice. Especially since we'd probably been up since 4 a.m. or something equally…

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  • John Vogel

    What Comes Next?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 22, 2011

    Last week, I closed with “If we have morphed into a Greater Recession, we’re entering into another era of civil unrest and violence.” I absolutely detest closing on such a negative note, and I resist it with every fiber of my positive mind. But sometimes, the ugly, unvarnished truth must be bared. This week confirmed that the Congressional Super Committee wasn’t so super. The club of 12 was just another pack of politicians with yet another failed delivery. It was just…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Buhrows

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 22, 2011

    I hardly know where to start with Allyn and Amy Buhrow. I met Allyn in college and I think Amy and I were separated at birth. The end. Oh wait! There's more. There's actually a lot more. Back in college, Allyn and I were in a campus-wide student organization, two of a very small handful of ag students among many non-ag students, and we would typically share rides to meetings and exchange wry observations such as, "these people couldn't organize their way out of a shoebox." (Speaking…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Perks to Becoming a Senior Citizen

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 21, 2011

    On my way back from interviews in Henry and Hancock County recently, I stopped in Greenfield for lunch. The cashier took my order and told me the total. It didn't seem like it was enough. Fast food is high, but I didn't want to cheat anybody. "Ma'am, I don't think you charged me enough," I said, digging in my pocket for more money. "Oh, yes, it's right. You get the senior citizen's discount," she said. Huh? How did she know that anyway? Turns out their senior citizen discount begins at age…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Smiths

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 21, 2011

    Every year at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting, the Young Leaders host a suite and on just about any evening of the meeting, it's a hopping good time. And if you get there on the right night at the right time, it's packed wall-to-wall with the best and the brightest in young Illinois agriculture. It's a good time. And let me just say that over the years, this scene has provided more honest-to-goodness column fodder than anyplace else. Jokes are told. Stories are shared. Rumor has it…

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  • Curt Arens

    Appreciating AG-ceptional Farm Women

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 20, 2011

    Jan Miller had no idea what was coming. As the Belden farm wife and agriculture leader watched the video touting this year’s AG-ceptional Woman of the Year along with 350 other farm wives, country gals and agribusiness women at the 3rd annual AG-ceptional Women conference, she noticed that several video segments were featuring her words. When her husband, Jim Miller, and her children were featured in the video, she knew something was up.   AG-CEPTIONAL - Jan Miller of Belden…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Return Of The Prairie Wildfire

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 20, 2011

    I lit a brush pile on our farmstead on fire the other day and spent a tense half hour beating down the flames that flickered through the dry grass surrounding the pile. Luckily, my son and I were able put contain the fire before it reached the shelterbelt and really took off. Fortunately, I had waited to start the fire until the soybean field around our farmstead had been harvested and the ground had been worked. If the fire had gotten away from us, at least it wouldn’t have spread…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Jones Family

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 20, 2011

    It's "Farming with Your In-Laws Weekend," here at 30 Days of Farms & Families! Yesterday? Troy and Kim Purvis. Today? Christopher and Karen Jones, who farm with Karen's parents, Alan and Susan Haas, grandparents Bob and Doris Haas, and brother Jason Haas, in the greater Roanoke area. I joke, but only because the path to farming so typically follows the father-to-son route. Over and over again we see that pattern. Though theirs may be the road less travelled, kudos to these families…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Purvis Family

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 19, 2011

    Troy Purvis and my husband go way back, all the way to college where they lived together at Nabor House, an ag fraternity at the University of Illinois. Back then, they were "Purv" and "Spang" (and wow, they were creative with the nicknames, right?) Actually, they still call each other that. I've even been casually known as Mrs. Spang, but that's another story. And isn't the world of college nicknames a strange little place? After our college pal, "Woodsy," came back to our small town and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Liefers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 18, 2011

    I don't know that I've met Kirk and Stephanie Liefer in real life, and yet I feel like I know them. That's the beauty of mutual friends and of shared experiences, I suppose. Their walk has been like our walk. They've served on the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader committee and just this year, they won the Young Leader Achievement Award – pretty much the pinnacle of success for a young farmer in Illinois, and they are most deserving of it. And their kids are about the same ages as our…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Andras Family

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 17, 2011

    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a family whose roots run deeper in Illinois agriculture than the Andras family. Maybe the Defenbaughs. It's a little hard to say. Regardless, the Andras ancestors settled in the 1830s in an area of west-central Illinois known as Burnt Haystacks Springs, named for the stacks of hay that settlers would leave each season for the new settlers to use through the winter, as the previous group headed on west. The local Indians tended to express their feelings…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    New Drought Monitor Map Not Encouraging

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 16, 2011

    Less of Kansas is in exceptional drought this week than last. That is the good news, thanks probably to the widespread rains that moved across the area about a week ago. But the bad news is still with us. The area of Kansas that is some kind of drought, abnormally dry to exceptional drought, is up. All but six counties now have some area in a drought designation. For south-central Kansas, where heavy rains a week ago were highly welcomed, the exceptional drought has backed off, leaving us…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Unique Combine Sculpture Under Construction

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 16, 2011

    NOTE: I've updated this blog with a couple of new images from the 11/17 press event. You can see the images at the bottom. Big equipment rolling through a corn or soybean field isn't always a direct connect to the final food consumer, though it is an important part of production. John Deere wants to make that connection a little more concrete - boy do they ever! This week, sitting in prime real estate in the John Deere Pavillion in downtown Moline, Ill., is a "canstruction" that includes…

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  • Josh Flint

    People Are So Removed From Agriculture, It's Like I'm Talking To Them About Nuclear Physics

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 16, 2011

    I love chatting people up about my job. People are so far removed from the farm, I might as well be an astronaut. That’s how groundbreaking my ag information is. For instance, last week I was a groomsman in a wedding. At the rehearsal dinner, we began exchanging the old “what do you do for a living” pleasantries. One thing led to another and pretty soon someone was talking about how Monsanto is apparently doing some pretty impressive things in St. Louis. I asked if…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Buntings

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 16, 2011

    I can hardly remember a time when I haven't known Tasha Bunting. Except that back then, she was Tasha Jordan and she was the cute, hard-working little girl we showed Shorthorns with. Tasha comes from a prominent Illinois Shorthorn cattle family and growing up, we ran into her family at every state fair, preview show and random sale around the state. Back in the day, her dad even wrote scholarship recommendation letters for me. (Hi Denny!) By the time she was a college student, Tasha was on the…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Breaking Harvest Records

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 15, 2011

    Claas, the harvest company - likes to make and use big combines. There's no question they like to test 'em out too. This week during Agritechnica - the big farm show in Germany - the company announced it had hit a new world record for wheat harvest. Count it up - in 8 hours using a 770 Lexion Terra Trac combine - the company harvested 24,832 bushels of wheat. The combine was outfitted with a Vario 40-foot head and the event took place near Swaby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. The 13-person…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Strodes

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 15, 2011

    Pardon my geezer moment, but honestly, it seems a little unfathomable to me that Wes Strode is grown up and is farming and is a parent. I suppose, however, that's the way it is when you get to know someone as the little brother of your best girlfriend. I first met Wes during a little brother's weekend at 4-H House, as he was the younger brother of my friend, Rachel. He was probably in junior high then, and yet, inexplicably, he grew up. Go figure. He went on to graduate from U of I, to start…

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  • Tom Bechman

    The Future of Farming Never Tasted Brighter!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 14, 2011

    Can you make a living on 60 acres if you have a specialty product? I found a family this week who thinks they can. Their product is unconventional- they milk goats and market goat cheese. You can snicker, and I won't say I didn't roll my eyes when I first got the lead to find these people, but they have a plan to be profitable. In today's world, so different than 20 or 30 years ago where there were good jobs in factories and unions were in control, more people than you might imagine could find…

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  • Curt Arens

    Up Close Lesson in Farm Safety

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 14, 2011

    “Haste makes waste.” I harp on my children with this little piece of fatherly advice every day. “Don’t get in a hurry. Take your time and do things right the first time. Accidents happen when you rush.” Yes, the words buzz around in my mind, but my words of wisdom backfired on me last week when I didn’t heed my own advice. I’m a bit tardy in my blogging this week because last Tuesday, over noon hour, I had an accident while I was driving in steel…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Wachtels

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 14, 2011

    Remember the Mieses? Todd and Lynelle Wachtel were gathered around that same table with us a few years back, learning the ropes as new members of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders. As we got to know Todd and Lynelle a little better, John and I became both impressed and perplexed. Impressed, because they run a stellar grain operation with their family at rural Altamont, in Effingham County. Perplexed, because they really farm with family. Like, they farm together and they…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Pollards

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 13, 2011

    I got to know Brent and Carrie Pollard a little better when they were Cultivating Master Farmer participants a couple years ago. Carrie grew up on a farm near Little York, and today they milk 100 cows with Brent's parents, Warren and Gail. They also raise corn, beans, alfalfa and assorted forages on 800 acres. Translated, "assorted forages" means a lot when you're talking 100 head of dairy cows. Off the farm and in between milkings, Carrie works for Bethany Swine, where she helps about…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Bowmans

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 12, 2011

    Married just over two years now, Andrew and Karlie Bowman are popping up in a lot of places these days. Granted, I got to know Karlie through our UI ag communications connection (she's an '09 grad) and I've run into her at various points of the past several years. I think we first met in the media tent at the Farm Progress Show. It's an exciting place; they have donuts there. Don't tell. Andrew and Karlie are like a lot of young ag couples, in that they met in school, they both love…

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  • Tim White

    A Bright Future for Ghana Agric

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on November 11, 2011

    So what I was brought to Ghana by ACDI/VOCA and USAID of the U.S. government to do was to help train journalists to write more about agriculture or “agric” as they abbreviate it. Initially I was to work with “The Business and Financial Times,” an independent publication that focuses on the topics in its name. They publish it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The plan was to work with the editor and writers to help them establish a full-page of agricultural news that ran…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Pratts

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 11, 2011

    Several years ago when I visited the Pratt farm for a story about their grain system, I came away with two main thoughts: 1) awe that they paused in the middle of harvest to chat, take a few pictures and have Andy show me around their grain system, and 2) awe that Mike (father to upper-20-somethings Andy and Peter) talked of stepping back and letting them take over. I was awed enough about #2 that I called him up later, talked some more about this concept and wrote a column about it. Andy…

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  • John Vogel

    Just Who Represents The 'Real America'?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 10, 2011

      Most of us have traveled into America's landmark cities – Boston, New York and Washington. Some of us have even ventured to those on the Pacific side. We've been astounded by the wealth – or the counterfeit perceived image there of. And we've probably been blown away by the cost of lodging, meals and parking – at least double that of smaller cities within a crow-fly of Megalopolis. The wealth that's paraded (and pandered to) gives those with six- and seven-figure…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Park Your Car, Drive a Tractor

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 10, 2011

    In this month's Farmer Iron column found in your favorite Farm Progress magazine, I took a look at that robot tractor idea Kinze demonstrated ahead of the fall Farm Shows. This is exciting tech for managing grain harvest, and for planting. While it's not ready for prime time - yet - it's interesting to note that some of the systems in use are similar to what you can find on new cars. Think about it. Ford, GM and others are now making it easy for anyone to parallel park. The system uses sensors…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Martins

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 10, 2011

    Doug Martin is one of those farmers who it feels like I've known for most of my career. Like, that we might have gone to college together, except that we didn't. In fact, I don’t' remember exactly how we met, other than at some point I met his dad, Jeff, went to their farm, shot some pictures and we struck up an email friendship after that. Then, about a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting his very lovely and very genuine wife, Erin, when the Illinois Farm Families coalition taught us…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Schillings

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 9, 2011

    Daniel and Lesa Schilling are just nice people. They're raising three little kids, in what some might call God's Country. Especially some who were also raised there. In fact, I grew up around Daniel and Lesa (Duncan), in and around Edwards County. I always knew Daniel to be a hard-working hog farm boy - though that could describe a lot of the young guys in the county back then, before the hog crisis of '98 led a lot of local hog farmers out of the business. After they married, Daniel and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Walters

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 8, 2011

    A few years back, Prairie Farmer named Jamie Walter's dad, Jim, as a Master Farmer. For the record, you've hardly seen anyone so proud and so supportive of his father, as Jamie was of Jim. It was really very touching to watch. And so was born a friendship between Jamie and wife Kristen and me and my husband. Over the years, we've exchanged emails and phone calls, including last week when we tried THREE TIMES to have a cell phone conversation about our WatchDog unit (thanks a lot…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It's Raining! It's Raining!

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 7, 2011

    More than an inch of rain has fallen across parched south-central Kansas today in the first day of rain since we got about 3/4 of an inch on Oct. 8. It is a welcome soaking for the winter wheat crop and the native prairie and downpours have even generated some runoff that will help the pasture ponds. With temperatures at near-freezing overnight, there won't be much chance for anything to really get growing before the winter winds blow, but anything in the profile is better than nothing…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Wave

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on November 7, 2011

    A few years ago, when my nephew from the city visited our farm for a couple of weeks in the summer, he learned more than he bargained for about farm life. For instance, he had no idea that if you touched an electric fence wire that was hot, it would shock you. He didn’t know that a cow with a baby calf could become somewhat protective in nature. And he learned that he could mow around my farmstead and he didn’t have to worry about what direction the blade lines ran. I was just happy…

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  • Tom Bechman

    When God Made Indiana, He Had A Sense Of Humor

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 7, 2011

    Coaching soil judging at the state soils judging contest last week proved to be a memorable experience. Our high school team placed in the top 10, but fell short of the goal all Indiana teams strive for- being in the top five and earning a trip to the National Contest in Oklahoma in May. Oh well, there's always next year. It certainly wasn't wasted time. Friday, practice day, when soil scientists have 15 or more pits set up to look at throughout the host county, in this case, Morgan County in…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Forever Young

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on November 7, 2011

    A tip of the hat to Lavern and Sue Koch, New Underwood, S.D. Both are in their 70s – but are 70 years young. The couple took a trip to Argentina and Brazil last year hosted by South Dakota State University. The trip was part of their commitment to never stop learning about how to make their ranch better. Over their 50+ years of marriage, they’ve attended as many pasture walks, grazing seminars and conferences as they could squeeze in their schedules, and they have done…

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  • Tim White

    For Love of Trees

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on November 7, 2011

    She is the tree lady of Tamale. Her name is Dr. Hadjia Salamatu Taimako. She says her last name means "healing." She calls herself a "traditional healer." "I can help with many sicknesses because of the herbs I know. If someone is having a baby, they come to Momma Taimako," she says. "I can usually help, but I know if they are too sick I must call for the doctor to take them to the hospital." But Momma is also a doctor and how a woman who cannot read or write came to be honored as doctor is…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Kortes

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 7, 2011

    It's funny how, when as a woman you get to know another young woman before she's married, it becomes really hard to think of her with a different last name. Even when she's been married for, say, 12 years. That's the way it is for me with Tiffany (Henry) Korte. I grew up showing Shorthorns with Tiffany, and in fact, we have a shared tartan past. Tiffany was the Illinois Shorthorn Lassie queen the year before I was, and she became the National Queen after that. Really, very, quite impressive…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Hawkinsons

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 6, 2011

    Like many of the featured families this month, I came to know Matt and Carrie Hawkinson through our experience at the University of Illinois. In fact, Carrie lived at 4-H House when I did, and Matt was on the meats judging team with my husband. I remember well when they got engaged; it was one of the first engagement ceremonies I ever participated in at the house, and boy, was Carrie excited. And so were we, for her, as she prepared to marry this Knox County farmer. And when John and I…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Weavers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 5, 2011

    I first met Jarod Weaver in 2004, when I wrote a story about young people farming without the help of family. Jarod was from Fairfield, a town over from where I grew up, and I'm pretty sure we shot the photos when I was home for my 10-year reunion. Fast-forward a few years and Jarod is married to Carissa, a sweet young woman whose family farmed next door to mine, and they have three kids. Crazy. And, they're farming 2,000 acres between Albion and Fairfield, raising corn, soybeans and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Stewarts

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 4, 2011

    Basically, Bob and Sarah Stewart are our farming heroes. John laughs and says, "we're not worthy," but really it's kinda true. Bob and Sarah just seem to do things right: they take care of the farm, they have great kids, they've expanded their operation, they're just nice people. In fact, a neighboring farmer said of them, "you'd never guess they're as large of an operation as they are. They're just really nice people." This past summer, a few of the folks who work with BASF along with a…

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  • Josh Flint

    Save the (Garden-Sized Organic) Farm!

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on November 3, 2011

    Not much surprises me these days. I still get outraged, but surprised, nah. As a writer for a farm publication, I get email from folks who have even the smallest connection to ag. Since so few in today’s world even understand the industry, it’s no wonder they don’t know the difference between production ag and somebody’s strawberry-growing side venture. To the public relations folks sending these emails, I’m only interested in production ag.   When…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Thomases

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 3, 2011

    I remember hearing DeAnna Thomas's name a few years ago, back when she was DeAnna Schertz. I didn't know her personally but knew she was an up-and-coming ag communications major who was clearly going places and ready to do great things. It didn't hurt that she started out as an intern for farm radio giant Colleen Callahan, either. Earlier this year, DeAnna took over as agribusiness director for 1470 WMBD and 1290 WIRL in Peoria. I got to know her better when she asked me to be one of two…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Have I Mentioned I Hate Leukemia?

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on November 2, 2011

    Tonight, I got an e-mail update. A little friend who has fought leukemia since he was four months old, died tonight in his mother's arms. His tiny body was cancer-free but so ravaged by treatments that he died of side effects. He was 32 months old. This disease is so horrible. My daughter has another friend who is just beginning the process of fighting. Their 2-year-old has AML, the same disease that took the life of baby Lucas Flint, the son of my colleague at Illinois Prairie Farmer…

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  • Tim White

    Coca Cola Diplomacy

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on November 2, 2011

    On the weekends I like to make the long walk to the marketplace here in Tamale, Ghana, where I am volunteering with ACDI/VOCA to improve ag media coverage. I take photos along the way. I still don't have nerve to pull out camera in the marketplace. It is an amazing and colorful sight, but I think I will need to photograph it from a distance maybe inside a car. The market is a charged place -- too crowded a spot to get someone upset about taking their photo. Not that folks here seem to get too…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Mies Family

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 2, 2011

    Ten or so years ago, John and I sat in an orientation meeting for the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders committee. Among the other couples were Ted and Julie Mies. And though John had known Julie in college, somehow I never crossed their paths with either of them (despite mutual friends). Crazy. Especially crazy because we all hit it off right away. We were young, just getting started in our families' farming operations, wives working off the farm, no kids yet but thinking about it. Also…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Going Big Changes Sales Approach?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on November 2, 2011

    Last year Case IH rolled out a massive four-wheel drive tractor - the Stieger 600 - with a 600-horsepower engine and plenty of other features. It's a big machine that can pull most anything, but it also raises a question: How do you maximize the investment in that much horsepower? That's the questions a couple of key people at Case IH were also asking too, and Mitch Kaiser and his colleagues came up with an interesting idea. You see, another division of the company was also at work on some…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families: The Webels

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 1, 2011

    Fifteen-ish years ago, I was a lowly agricultural undergrad at the University of Illinois and I met this guy, Joe Webel, in a student organization we were both a part of. Joe was a jovial kind of guy who always seemed to have a smile and quite frankly, he had some of the best jokes. If you define "best" as something along the lines of: "Three guys walked into a bar and the fourth one ducked." Personally, that was my favorite. If you had met Joe during that time in his life, you'd likely come…

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