• Lon Tonneson

    No Secret To Success For This Master Farmer -- Just Faith

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 31, 2012

    Ricky Lawlar says doesn’t know the secret to success. But he says he’s learned what helps him sleep at night despite the big risks of weather, markets and trade policy that are beyond his control “Do everything you can and then put it in God’s hands,” says Lawlar, Watford City, N.D. “God does the rest.” Lawlar was recently named one of four Master Farmers by the Dakota Farmer. But there’s a flipside to philosophy. “We had…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farm New Year's Resolution: Share Your Stories

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 31, 2012

    No one has to convince me that Nebraska farmers are good stewards, protectors of their environment and caregivers of their livestock. I see it every day as I visit with producers around the state and travel to their farms and ranches. They have always been the first environmentalists, the first soil conservationists, the first and best at proper animal husbandry. While producers in general enjoy positive reviews by most consumers around the world, particularly those in other countries…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Love is Blind. And Makes Us Do Stupid Things!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 31, 2012

    I must preface this by saying I've watched probably two dozen sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel with the family over the past two weeks. This is not because anyone forced me to – they have a certain charm, especially at this time of year. That's true even though the plots are predictable and the facts are sometimes stretched just a tad. There's usually a message about love of one form or another, maybe several forms, and some hope and inspiration in there if…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Looking Ahead to 2013

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 28, 2012

    As the year winds down we're all looking back on what started with such great promise and ended with such disappointment. To have an entire crop in so early was astounding. The epic failure of the weather will not be forgotten for some time for anyone on the farm. The only good news about this year will be the stories you'll get to tell your grandkids. The surprise bump in yields for soybeans and the solid winter wheat yields will be remembered. But a year like 2012 spooks you…

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  • Holly Spangler

    My Generation Presents: Top 10 of 2012

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 27, 2012

    It's been a busy year here at Prairie Farmer. An historic drought. No farm bill. More regulations. Pink slime. Continued pushback by HSUS against livestock. Palmer amaranth. More regulations. Wait. Did I mention that already? Anyway, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what you all read most this year. And I'm beyond grateful that you do read it. Our web team has scoured the data (scoured, not scours) and here, we present you with the top 10 My Generation…

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  • Curt Arens

    Early Indicators on the Farm Give Reasons for Optimism

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 27, 2012

    Drought continues to worry most producers in the Western Corn Belt. While the folks to the east of us have received some welcome fall precipitation, our rain gauge has been idle, except for a few light showers. That concerns almost everyone in our area. Yet, planning for profit in the midst of these challenges could set producers up for a very happy 2013. There are a few indicators that give us reason for some optimism. If you look at fuel prices trending significantly lower these days…

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  • Paula Mohr

    $38/cwt. Milk?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on December 27, 2012

    Media reports are trying to find a fresh angle on the farm-bill-yet-to-be. The latest, according to the Star Tribune, is how consumers’ milk and dairy product prices are going to double, due to the federal government’s lack of dealing with the ‘fiscal cliff’ and lack of farm bill passage. According to that news story, which links “twisted consequences of Congress' frayed fiscal cliff negotiations” with “the possibility of dramatically…

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  • Josh Flint

    An Old Man Ponders the New Year

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 26, 2012

    In six short days, 2012 will turn into 2013. It should be a seamless transition. The toughest thing will be remembering to date documents with 2013, rather than 2012. Apparently, once you’ve reached 30 and had a couple kids, you start to think of time in a different manner. At 18, I was concerned only with what was happening on the coming weekend. As a family man, planning begins to extend well past the weekend. Car and home loans take years to pay off. I’ve always admired…

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  • Holly Spangler

    'Twas the Night Before Christmas

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 24, 2012

    …and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… Ha! Yeah, right! There's a whole lot stirring in the Spangler house today, as I imagine is the case in your home, too. The Spangler clan will soon descend upon our home for Christmas. Our grand total head count is at 19 this year, given the summer weddings of our niece and nephew. My job at this point is to simply maintain some level of cleanliness/orderliness until everyone arrives. All bets are off after…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Jingling Bells For The Holidays A Good Sound For Ag

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 24, 2012

    We'll have prime rib for Christmas dinner on a table trimmed with big baker potatoes, fresh salads, a choice of vegetables, and a couple of marionberry pies for dessert. Of course, the common denominator is that this was all thanks to our farmers and ranchers, and I hope they enjoyed a big season for sales this year. I noted in an earlier blog that the holidays, from Halloween through New Year's Day, is a farm feast, and that unless we had a  safe, high quality and…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Recall Your Favorite Christmas Memory

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 24, 2012

    You read right – it was the present that was important, not just the thought, but we'll get to that later. I just watched the classic movie Hoosiers with my son, Daniel. I've watched a dozen times, but not for a while, and not with my son. He's home from college. Tonight will become a Christmas memory. So forgive me if I'm nostalgic. After all, it's Christmas. (You can still trade that tractor before Jan. 1 if you think you need to). But for this moment, think…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Advice From A Master Farmer: Invest In Yourself

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 24, 2012

    Ernest Krabbenhoft, another of our four Master Farmers of 2012, had some good advice on how to success for his daughter: “Invest in yourself.” “His idea was that you can’t control stock markets or commodities markets or the weather, but you can put your trust and money in yourself, as that is about the only thing you can control,” says Jayne Krabbenhoft, who operates her own farm. “I think it was this sort of thinking that brought our family’s…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Year-End Farm Equipment Shopping Deadline Looms

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 21, 2012

    The Section 179 depreciation provision of the tax code, long a part of the lives of small business operators everywhere, was significantly expanded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The aim was to get businesses to buy long term assets, which can give the economy a boost. In agriculture, that provision has given farmers a nice tax break for new and use farm equipment, but that provision is about to roll back to its pre-expansive days. And given how little Congress is getting done…

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  • Fran O

    Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre Should Be A Wake Up Call

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on December 21, 2012

    Like most of you, I was very shocked and heartbroken to learn about the massacre on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. As the details unfolded about the horrific violence and the deaths of 20 first graders and six educators, my sadness and grief soon turned to anger. I felt so sorry for those 26 innocent people's lives being cut so tragically short by some deranged individual armed with an assault weapon. Thanks to ammunition clips that hold 30 bullets each, in…

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  • Mindy Ward

    New App For Weed ID

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on December 21, 2012

    With just one click from a Smartphone or iPad and farmers or crop consultants can capture that pesky weed that they cannot identify. But, now there is no need to email an extension agent or state weed specialist. At the MU Crop Conference, Kevin Bradley, MU Extension weed scientist unveiled a new app for weed identification. Called ID weeds, this free app works with iPhone, iPads and Android devices. Bradley told the group of farmers and crop consultants that the app has information…

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  • Tim White

    Malabar State Farm Park Gets New Manager

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on December 20, 2012

    Malabar Farm is pretty damn photogenic any time, but for Christmas it can’t be beat. With snow headed our way, the park will be a postcard on Christmas Day this year. Even back in mid-November the staff and a crew of volunteers, who make state’s only farm park go, had the Big House at Malabar State Farm Park looking like Christmas was near and the Bromfield family was ready to put their presents under the tree. A big decorated Christmas tree stood between the railings of the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Meet A South Dakota Master Farmer

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 20, 2012

    “I like the fact that I’m growing a crop that is used directly for human food,” says David Iverson, a soybean grower from Astoria, S.D., and one of four farmers and ranchers recently recognized with a Master Farmer award from Dakota Farmer. Master Farmer is the oldest farmer award program in the U.S. It recognizes active agricultural producers for their farm and ranch achievements and their civic contributions. Iverson, 53, is chairman of the World Initiative for…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Joy, Suffering and Elephants

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 19, 2012

    Christmas is an odd mix for me this year. Life with 10-, 7- and 4-year-old children brings a ridiculous amount of joy into a household. Especially at Christmas. Everyone is just so darn excited. Like when my 4-year-old asks religiously, "how many more years until Christmas?" The anticipation is great. So are the cookies and the music and the food and the planning. And the presents! It's fun. It really is. But there's an undercurrent as well. We've known…

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  • John Vogel

    Raise Gun Controls Or The Spirit Within Us?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 19, 2012

    The Sandy Hook, Ct., school massacre pierced most of our hearts. It's also likely to shatter America's gun control shield when it should force us to face a far more pervasive crisis – our broken foundation impacted by America's moral decline. Sometimes, these tragedies help turn our minds to far greater issues than the day-to-day ones we wrestle with. Why wrestle with it here? Two reasons: We have a number of farm family readers in the Newtown area. And, huge…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    A Squeaky Brush With An Attempted Presidential Assassin

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 18, 2012

    News Note: "Squeaky " Fromme was sentenced to life in prison by a Sacramento, Calif.,  federal jury during this week in 1975 for attempting to shoot President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. I bring this up because just a few weeks earlier, I met Lynette Alice Fromme when I was working as a reporter for The Sacramento Bee.  I was near the entrance to the second floor from a staircase when the door opened and his nice young woman asked me how to get to the newsroom. Being…

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  • Curt Arens

    Drought Sends Beef Producers Looking For Answers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 18, 2012

    I’m about as optimistic as anyone. But I’ve attended enough drought meetings this past year to understand that drought forces producers to make decisions that are extremely difficult. And the aftermath impact is not always known. Almost all grazing experts are telling producers to destock their herds and delay turnout this spring on pasture to save the pastures from sure destruction. Producers are encouraged to plant annuals, if there is adequate moisture, to fill in the…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Iowa Nutrient Plan's Voluntary Approach Draws Criticism

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on December 18, 2012

    It's been a month since Gov. Terry Branstad released the long-awaited Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy report for public comment. The report lays out the state's plan to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus leaving farm fields and entering lakes, rivers and streams. The plan is heralded by Iowa officials as praiseworthy and as an effective, workable approach to reduce pollution and improve water quality. Branstad, along with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and…

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  • Josh Flint

    You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 18, 2012

    Ah, the Christmas season is upon us. I get to indulge in several guilty pleasures: Christmas movies, festive music and, most hazardous to my waistline, my wife’s cookies. A Christmas Story is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I go back and forth between it and Christmas Vacation as to which is actually my favorite. I can completely relate to little Ralphie’s mania for BB guns. My first BB gun was a Daisy lever-action. It was very similar to the Model 10 on this page. I…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Be Careful Where You Take A Nap!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 17, 2012

    Stopping to take a short nap can make the rest of the day go better. And it can be tough not to take a nap this time of year, especially if it's gloomy outside. When the sun doesn't show up until 8 a.m. and sets by 5:30 p.m., it makes for a short, dreary day, even for a rooster. He probably gets a nap in too. The trick is to be careful about where you take a nap. Just the other day I drove my old farm truck down to a neighbor's place. It was cold but sunny outside. I pulled…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Getting Past Drought

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 13, 2012

    One of our editors is offering up his ideas for new tech and approaches in an upcoming issue, and asked for reader participation. Interestingly, he also asked that readers not send drought-related ideas because he had "heard enough of that for 2012." It appears that's the way the machinery market is looking for next year too. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers issued a positive outlook for the machinery market and worldwide they're predicting a 5% boost in…

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  • John Vogel

    Finally, A Fiscal Cliff Solution!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 13, 2012

    My meek and mild-mannered wife came up with a sure-fire solution for America’s "fiscal cliff". Her common sense answer would likely work even though our nation’s leaders still seem a few bricks short of a remedy. Back when she was a kid, she got into fights with her brothers. Most of us have been there, done that. Well, in her parents' home, she and her brothers were sent to their rooms, and couldn’t get out of their detention to play again until they…

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  • Fran O

    Farm Meeting Season Is Just Around The Corner

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on December 12, 2012

    Pretty soon you will be taking down the tree, packing away the decorations, eating your last Christmas cookie and ringing in the New Year. That can mean only one thing – farm meeting season is just around the corner! January traditionally is the height of the farm meeting season in Wisconsin. I'm not sure why that is, but I think Extension agents, agribusinesses and farm organizations figure farmers have little else to do in January besides chores, reading farm magazines and…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Town Name Says It All

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 11, 2012

    Nebraska Farmer editor, Don McCabe, and I have the privilege of traveling the state’s byways regularly, visiting with farmers and ranchers, and stopping by rural communities in every section of the Good Life. Personally, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to not only visit these towns, but to talk with local residents and learn more about what makes Nebraska villages special. Our towns are as different as they can be. They were founded for varied reasons and have colorful, often…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Christmas Has Come To The Western Farmer-Stockman Office

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 11, 2012

    I am one of those fortunate workers who have an office at home. Usually, that's comfy as far as the short commute and occasional option to work in my pajamas. But they've taken it over, those Christmas elves. With my daughter and two grandchildren residing with us as she seeks to find work, the house is at high mess of cram-ness. That was OK until we decided there was no place to wrap presents out of the eyes of the youngsters. In a moment of mental lapse, I…

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  • John Vogel

    Help! Farmer Or Not, We Are Being Smartphone-ized!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 10, 2012

    I confess. I bought my own Christmas presents early this year – a 10-inch tablet plus a smartphone. So now I struggle to straddle the digital divide between computers and smartphones. And, that gap is far wider than I thought. Becoming smartphone-ized takes time and a lot of patience. Used to be, thumbs were calloused by hard physical work. Now, even eight-year-olds have them from thumb-typing itty-bitty keyboards made only for pint-sized "pokers". Everywhere you go…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Hungry For Information About Efficiency?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 10, 2012

    Three meetings were on my schedule within a week's time recently. One was a Precision Planting workshop at Bruce Weibel's farm near Remington. Ken Sauder of Precision Planting spent three hours in a special tricked-out semi-trailer that looks like a showroom demonstrating how a change here and a change there in your planting operation can add up to real efficiency, more yield and more profit. The trailer was nearly full for a morning session and afternoon session. A big steak…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Dakota Farmers You Should Meet: Dawn Scheier

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 10, 2012

    Dawn Scheier, Salem, S.D., says decided to get more involved in advocating for agriculture when her daughter’s college economics professor told the class -- “you couldn’t you couldn’t find a family farmer if you tried” -- and her daughter stood up and told them about her family farm and spent the rest of the period answering questions about farming and food production. “It was a wake-up call for me,” Dawn told Agriculture United For South Dakota…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Holiday Season Saddened by Loss of Loved One

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 8, 2012

    Saying Good-bye Is Never An Easy Thing My extended family lost a beloved member this week, but we celebrate a long life, well-lived Sometimes time passes and you hardly notice. Then, time passes and you realize that so many things have changed that the world is forever different. One of those changes involves age and the inevitable process that eventually means the end of life on earth. This week, we lost a member of my extended family – someone I had admired long…

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  • Josh Flint

    Walking on the Surface of the Moon

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 8, 2012

    Being a native Missourian, I’m a bit of a river junkie. The term “float trip” inspires memories of youthful exuberance mixed with a serious lack of judgment. With such dire problems occurring on the Mississippi River, I couldn't resist the river's call. I looked up 2009 Master Farmer Randy Lambdin, who lives in Wolf Lake, about 15 minutes from Cape Girardeau, Mo. He graciously offered to show me the problem first hand. Lambdin took us down to Thebes, one of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Christmas Idea: Farm Books for Kids!

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 7, 2012

    Last winter, I wrote a column about some of the greater books for children, about the farm. Some of it was born of frustration; if I never see another inaccurate illustration of a corn plant, it will be too soon. Or of a "farmer" in bib overalls. And a straw hat. So very wrong. But some of it was also born of my oldest daughter's recent infatuation with some really great books, like Little Joe. So I wrote a column, including a list of our favorites and those of Illinois Ag…

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  • Willie Vogt

    A Year-end Pause

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 6, 2012

    I'm not the biggest fan of year-end kinds of stories and I'm not going to load you up now on that kind of content. You can reflect the year you've had and given the drought I'm sure we'll be talking about this one for awhile. From an equipment standpoint, 2012 was a solid year with a wide range of new equipment launched. In fact next week we're rolling out or new Free Report that'll include all the products we found at the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farm Bureau Takes to the Windy City

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 4, 2012

    So Monday, I found myself walking down the actual Magnificent Mile in Chicago, carrying my coat. On December 3. In fact, though I packed gloves and a terribly cute scarf, I never used them. Ever. What the what? For sure, it's the first time in the 15 or so years we've been attending the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in Chicago that we haven't needed arctic-level bundling. Seriously, there have been years we've underpacked, frozen, and ducked into a Macy's…

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  • Curt Arens

    It All Depends on the Soil

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 4, 2012

    When I attended one of Pat Reece’s grazing strategies sessions last week in Bloomfield as part of Reece’s four-day tour of Nebraska, I asked the well-respected grazing consultant a question that I guessed might be on the minds of many producers. “If I pulled my cows off pasture in July, having grazed every conceivable blade of grass out there, and if I have received basically no measurable precipitation this fall and if there is zero grass regrowth visible in that…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Ethanol's Future Is In Corn Residue

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on December 4, 2012

    DuPont came one step closer to commercializing advanced biofuels by breaking ground November 30 on its cellulosic ethanol manufacturing plant to be built at Nevada, Iowa. Completion is expected by mid-2014. The $200 million facility will be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world. The new plant will produce 30 million gallons annually of ethanol from cornstalks, leaves and other plant material. The crop residue will be baled and delivered to the…

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  • Fran O

    O' Christmas Tree!

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on December 3, 2012

    Real Christmas trees are good for both the economy and the environment. If you haven't decked the halls with boughs of holly and put up your Christmas tree yet, consider these reasons to put up a real Christmas tree this year: •Wisconsin farmers grow nearly 1 million Christmas trees each year. •For every tree farmers harvest, they plant two to three trees, keeping the land in green space. •A real tree is a better option than an artificial tree with respect to…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    On The Verge Of Wining $550 Million

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 3, 2012

    Sitting here imagining what it would be like to win the $550 million Powerball tonight, my mind boggles. By now, of course, the draw is over and some may win, perhaps none will. Nevertheless, when I think of all that money, it is fun to dream about what I would do with it. The only real way to riches, and avoid falling off the financial cliff, is to work hard and make your own millions. I figure I could have done that if it were my priority, but money has never meant success or…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Story Worth A Chuckle Just In Time For Christmas

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 3, 2012

    This Christmas season, most folks are in need of some laughter and joke-telling. It's been a long year with a drought and an economy that is still sputtering, and dire predictions ahead. The reason for the season should help you get through the tough spots. That's enough by itself, but just for kicks, here's a funny story to get you into the Christmas spirit. The story is true. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. No, it didn't happen to me or even to any of…

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  • Tim White

    Soybeans Play A Big Role In Greening Of Yellowstone

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on December 3, 2012

      The Ohio Soybean Council held their annual industry dinner last week. It featured lots of recognition and awards to farmers, officers and business folks who have served the group. Not to mention a great meal. It also had one of the most interesting guest speakers I’ve heard in a while. Jim Evanoff spent 32 years in the National Park Service. He recently retired as the environmental protection specialist for Yellowstone Park where he has been for the last 24 years…

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