• John Vogel

    The Last Time We Touched . . .

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 29, 2008

    This Christmas holiday season has been a mixed blessing for our family. We thoroughly enjoyed celebrating the real reason for the season and getting together of our family – even with all the howling and commotion of grandchildren running about.   But in the last two weeks, my only sister passed away, as did a pastor friend. And that sucked some of the joy out of the season, and caused me to look far beyond the New Year.   An agribusiness friend from New Jersey experienced the same…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Time to Take a Deep Breath

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 29, 2008

    It's year end. You're probably rushing to close some last deal, some final purchase to take advantage of the super depreciation that's available - who can laugh at $250,000 write-off on income. Of course, you may be doing that with an eye toward a reduced-income 2009, but nonetheless you may be in that camp.   Once the dust settles and it's officially 1/1/09 - consider a deep breath. It appears the ag market is going to continue it's "every man for himself" roller coaster ride that can rip…

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  • Josh Flint

    What I Learned This Christmas

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 26, 2008

    Most years, I can't wait until Christmas comes along. This year, I couldn't wait for it to be over.   In somewhat of a classic young-couple blunder, my wife and I tried valiantly to please everyone this holiday season. That meant eight hours of driving and four hours of sleep for the past three nights. When we got home on Christmas night, we were both fried.   Since we got married, Tiffany and I have been committed to the annual Christmas frenzy. This year, our baby boy made us realize we…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Not Ready for their Close-up

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 23, 2008

    Earlier this month, I had the chance to congratulate Chad and Deb Bremmer on their win in Illinois Farm Bureau’s Young Leader Achievement Award contest. My husband and I got to know Chad and Deb several years ago through Farm Bureau’s young farmer committee, and we were thrilled when their hard work was recognized.   But we also know a little about surviving the lengthy awards presentation with small children, having gone through the same thing last year with our five year old and three year…

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  • Josh Flint

    My New Year's Resolution

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 22, 2008

    With 2008 coming to a close, I hope everyone had a safe, productive year. I've heard a lot of people were pleasantly surprised with their yields following such a difficult planting season.   That being said, it's time to do it all over again. Hopefully, next year will be even better. Since you can't always count on the weather or markets, perhaps you can do something to ensure a successful 2009.   A couple weeks ago, an Illinois farmer told me about his annual ritual. Near the end of every…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Last Chance for Tax Savings

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 22, 2008

    Equipment sales have been strong - in the over-100-horsepower - tractor category for all of 2008. Whether that translates into 2009 remains to be seen.   During the Farm Futures Management Summit in St. Louis recently, one speaker commented he had heard about a bunch of machinery order cancellations, which is anecdotal evidence that some farmers are hunkering down going into the New Year.   If you're making that kind of choice, comment below and tell us more, but if you're in the market for…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Find Used Equipment Fast

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 17, 2008

    These days we're all looking for bargains, and I'm not talking the stock market. Your job is to raise a crop and make a profit, and somewhere in that process it gets difficult to keep good quality equipment on hand. We've launched a new tool on our Web sites, in cooperation with IRON Solutions that gives any site visitor access to more than 50,000 pieces of equipment on dealer lots all over the country.   This tool offers you the chance to find just the right machine, whether you're looking…

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  • Josh Flint

    Finding Inspiration During the Winter Months

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 12, 2008

    Conferences, trade shows, seminars, whatever you want to call them, they're a great place to find new ideas and inspiration for the coming year.   After attending the Farm Futures Management Summit in St. Louis the past couple of days, I'm excited to explore a host of new story ideas. The speakers were top notch. Even more impressive was the give and take between farmers.   During lunch, I listened as two Texas farmers discussed survival strategies with a farmer from Idaho. The Texans had…

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  • John Vogel

    Kick-start the Economy -- Now

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 12, 2008

    This week, I’ve been swamped with financial analysis, and I haven’t even been glued to the TV. I’ve been editing January issue’s part one of our annual Northeast Ag Outlook, and attending Cornell’s Agribusiness Economic Outlook Conference.   The overwhelming bottom line is: Uncle Sam must spend whatever it takes to “kick-start” the U.S. economy. Don’t wait for a new battery (Obama administration) to spark it.   History tells us that President Herbert Hoover procrastinated in injecting…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Company Move Aimed at Matching Machines to Markets

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 8, 2008

    Who says there's no good news in this economy? Just ask the 60 new Agco employees at work at three new assembly plants the company has opened in Baltimore, Md.; Houston, Texas and Tacoma, Wash.   The new plants are tractor assembly facilities that will work on all the major tractor brands for the company including Agco, Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and the Valtra brands. The aim is to better react to specific market needs and have the right tractor with the right options in the right…

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  • Josh Flint

    Farming and Inventing Go Hand in Hand

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 5, 2008

    The ingenuity of the American farmer never ceases to amaze me. Visit any farm in Illinois, almost all of them have some sort of contraption that's been modified or fabricated to meet the farmer's needs.   <<< Frank Evans says once this machine breaks, he can retire. Last month, I stumbled upon an invention by Frank Evans, who started a Christmas tree farm 47 years ago in the Mt. Zion area. Years ago, Evans built a machine that makes garland using evergreen twigs.   The…

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  • John Vogel

    Exercise Your Financial Health

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 2, 2008

    Boy, I’m thankful that Thanksgiving is over! After the media barrage about how we can undo the damage done to our waist lines, I can now get back to focusing on my financial “waste lines” – fixing my spending habits, past and present.   Judging from what I’m hearing from ag financial advisors, credit is tightening down even for farms. And our financial health is going to become just as important as our physical health. Both will cost us dearly if we aren’t vigilant.   I used to think that…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Christmas Tunes

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 1, 2008

    My husband, John, finished putting on anhydrous around 10 p.m. Saturday night, and we awoke to snow Sunday morning. Perfect.   His quote of the fall: "You know you're behind when you're listening to Christmas music in the tractor."   That one may make the Christmas letter, as it pretty well sums up this entire season. We had a great harvest and have much to be thankful for, but everything has just been so much later this year. It feels good to have the 2008 season wrapped…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Future Electronics Get Push

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 1, 2008

    Hooking an implement to the tractor has often been considered more an issue of finding a good hitch pin, but these days that's changing a lot. Several years ago I remember being at a Case IH event where to make a point about the change they sent all the editors that were to attend a hitch pin (a very nice one by the way that I gave to my farmer-brother-in-law).   Their point was that the simple hitch pin was no longer the main connection between tractor and implement. And that was in the late…

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