• Holly Spangler

    Show Me a Master Farmer

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 30, 2009

    One of the greatest pleasures of my job, year in and year out, is covering our annual Master Farmer awards process. They are the folks who run their operations with the business-savvy of a Fortune 500 CEO, yet make the time to make a difference in their communities and within the agricultural industry. And amidst all that, they’re family folks at heart.   Meeting the winners, photographing their farms and families and spending time understanding what makes them live and farm the way they do…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Just Because They Haven't Come for Us, We Can't Be Complacent

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 29, 2009

    I've heard a few words of disturbing complacency from Kansas producers in regard to the legislative battles our friends in other states are fighting with the Humane Society of the United States as it pushes its anti-agriculture agenda. It's true that no initiatives have been introduced in Kansas. Yet. But that doesn't mean Kansas has gotten by without damage from this movement or that we will be spared a statehouse or court battle down the road. The movement to end horse slaughter, for…

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  • Tim White

    HSUS Considering a Referendum for Nov. 2010

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on June 26, 2009

    Yesterday (June 25) the Ohio Senate voted unanimously to allow a referendum to be put on the November ballot creating a 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board as part of an amendment to the state’s constitution. The board would be charged to provide oversight on how farm animals are raised. It would include “a broad base of livestock care experts including family farmers, veterinarians, a food safety expert, a representative of the local human society members from the statewide farm…

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  • Tom Bechman

    It Truly Is a Small World After All

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 26, 2009

    Matt Schafer came down off the trailer after being interviewed with his father and uncle at the Indiana Farm Management Tour last week and looked my direction. The Schafer’s farm near LaCrosse in LaPorte County. Matt seemed to be looking my direction. I always like to find the hosts after they’ve been interviewed, and snap a picture for later use. But Matt seemed to know who I was. I didn’t know him. Later, as I was leaving, I bumped into him again, after I already had my picture. Then he said…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    2009 Wheat Harvest Rolling Toward Memory

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 26, 2009

    Hot, dry weather over most of the state has wheat harvest really rolling. But as another year goes by and harvest becomes another year of statistics and memories, Kansas Farmer would like to know your favorite memories of harvests of the past. Was it sliding down the straw piles back in the thresher days? Riding home on top the wheat in the truck or grain cart? Maybe the first time Dad let you take the truck to the elevator alone? Drop us a note or an e-mail. In August, we'll publish a wheat…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Is Jim Hagemann A Polluter?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 25, 2009

    Is Jim Hagemann a polluter?   That appears to be the central question in a lawsuit that Jim and his family are caught up in.   Jim is parttime farmer. He runs approximately 130 registered Red Angus cows north of Winfred, S.D., and works a couple off-farm jobs.   A neighbor has sued him for allowing manure from his rented wintering pens to run off the feedlot. The neighbor – a physician from Sioux Falls who built a private hunting lodge and recreational area across the road from the…

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  • Josh Flint

    Dealing with Animal Welfare Groups: It's Time to Get Proactive

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 23, 2009

    During today's Illinois Agricultural Legislative Roundtable session, representatives from the state's major animal ag groups gave a fairly glum status report.   In a nutshell: 1. Pork producers are entering 20 months of losses. 2. Milk producers are getting half the price for milk they were a year ago. 3. Beef producers saw prices tank with the economy. 4. Lastly, each of the groups are concerned about attacks from animal welfare groups.   Mark Gebhards, Illinois Farm Bureau executive…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Crazy Animal Rights Tactics

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 23, 2009

    In my column this month, I wrote about the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their whitewashing animal rights tactics – raising money by calling attention to puppy mills and dog fighting, then using that money to fight for the end of animal agriculture. HSUS has worked diligently the past several years to legitimize their organization, to mainstream themselves.   HSUS, of course, stands in stark contrast to PETA, a group that’s worked hard to act crazy. No stunt is too…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Lining Up with New Products

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 23, 2009

    There are two events this week, cross-scheduled, with a pair of companies that have us scrambling to get people in the right places. It's part of the fun of being an equipment editor, you get to visit with company engineers and product folks about the latest tools coming to the industry. And it turns out, you get to drive the new stuff too. I'm headed out to see whatever John Deere is planning to launch during the 2009 fall farm show season. Dan Crummett is headed out to see what Polaris has…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Low Milk Prices Spurring Louder Protest

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 23, 2009

    The drastic drop in milk prices over the last year has created a crisis for dairy farmers, who are now getting paid less than half what it costs them to produce milk. Kansas dairy farmers Tom and Judy McCarty, who moved here from Pennsylvania for the opportunity Kansas provided the family to expand and allow their four sons to stay in dairy, say they are tired of reading tips about being more efficient. They think better prices are long overdue. "I would like to see a professional…

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  • Willie Vogt

    It's All in the Details

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 19, 2009

    You know, sometimes it happens. You get an idea for a column and you have a little fun, then you get a second surprise. That's what happened with my June Farmer Iron column that appeared in your friendly Farm Progress publication. In that column I talked about the cardboard tractor promotion (see the tractor below) that included stock photos for editors to use in a handy flash drive tucked into the paper model's cab. The detailed vehicle was designed to get an editor's attention - which it…

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  • Josh Flint

    New Rendering Rule Is Classic Over Regulation

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 17, 2009

    I'm not a big fan of over regulation courtesy of Uncle Sam.   While the new administration is ripe with fresh examples, one in particular isn't getting a lot of press. I'm talking about the new rendering requirements put into place by the FDA as of April 27.   The new rule requires rendering companies to remove the brain and spinal cord prior to processing cattle carcasses 30 months and older. Otherwise, the animal cannot be used for byproducts and must be placed in a landfill, buried or…

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  • John Vogel

    Tough Start for Grain Crops

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 17, 2009

    After a five-day trip into the Midwest for a family reunion, I’m back at my computer with much to report. First and foremost, I’d have to say that Northeast farmers have been blessed with good weather this spring – and Midwest farmers haven’t. That’s bound to push up corn, soybean and wheat prices this summer.    Much of the corn that I saw from the mid-sections of Ohio to western Iowa was at least two weeks behind the garden spots of southeast Pennsylvania, the Hudson Valley and western New…

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  • Willie Vogt

    New Way to Get Equipment Information

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 15, 2009

    I've always had a love of farm equipment, and more so since I started covering the industry back in the early 1980s (an interesting time for sure). And as my responsibilities at Farm Progress have grown in recent years, I've kept in touch with this industry segment by continuing to attend trade shows and such. I know farmers like equipment too, because of the interest I get on the topic. But how could we do a better job of providing you more equipment information in a useful format? Our…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Another Season to Forget in Indiana- So Far

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 15, 2009

    The best corn I've seen so far this year was in the Beck's Hybrids date of planting study at Atlanta. Toby Ripberger showed me around, and it didn't talk long to determine that the biggest and healthiest looking corn was planted while the calendar still said March. The soybeans planted then didn't look too shabby either.   April plantings of soybeans and corn looked good too. The planting suffering the worst was planted May 12, especially for corn. The stand wasn't quite measuring up…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    From Bobcat To Horseback

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 15, 2009

    I went from riding a Bobcat to riding a horse last week.   After attending Bobcat’s introduction of a new skid steer loader, I traveled south to Selfridge on the North Dakota-South Dakota border to interview Rod Froelich, a rancher and state legislator.   He took me over to a neighbor’s ranch and we rode through a pasture with nearly two dozen cowboys and cowgirls who were rounding up cows and calves for branding. The grass was in good condition and the cows and calves were recovering from…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Got An Idea For Bobcat?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 14, 2009

    Where does Bobcat get all its ideas for the attachments?   The company already makes about 70 tools to use with a Bobcat – everything from post hole augers to road graders.   Most of the ideas come from customers. You can also submit ideas through its Web site. They get two or three submissions are a week.   One of the latest ones: A log cutter.   The tool grips a 10-foot long log in a grapple-like vise as a chainsaw on an arm chops the wood into even lengths and awl splits the log…

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  • Tim White

    PETA Wants Your Help

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on June 14, 2009

    The email arrived at 4:33 on Friday afternoon June 12. Strangely late in the week. It came from the Washington office for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (they have no office in Ohio) forwarded to me by the Ohio Pork Producer's Council. It was sent by Ashley Byrne 757-274-9675 AshleyB@peta.org and Kathy Nizzari 917-609-2407 KathyN@peta.org Here's the pasted text of the organization's press release direct from the email. AS SWINE FLU SPREADS, PETA SEEKS PERMISSION TO BRING A REAL…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Emerging Details on Carbon Cap and Trade Disturbing

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 12, 2009

    Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Hays), who has a pretty good track record of knowing what he's talking about, is warning that the carbon cap and trade legislation now being considered in Congress, the Markey-Waxman bill, would be devastating to agriculture and the rural economy. In remarks to the Agriculture Committee Friday morning, Moran said that the bill would increase energy costs and drive up costs in rural areas disproportionately to urban areas. Any potential credits for carbon sequestration…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    What’s new at Bobcat

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 11, 2009

    It laid off welders and machinists and scheduled temporary shutdowns of its manufacturing plants this summer, but there’s no slowdown in product development at Bobcat.   The Fargo, N.D., company introduced the new M Series loaders recently. The four models -- the S630 and S650 skid-steer loader and the T630 and T650 compact track loaders – have bigger, more comfortable cabs; better visibility and more hydraulic power and are easier to maintain than any other loader on the market, according to…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Rain Keeps Wheat Harvest at Bay

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 11, 2009

    Everybody is anxious for the harvest to begin, but Mother Nature is still not cooperating. The cool, wet weather that has dominated the spring is stretching into the week that usually sees the combines beginning to roll. At OK Coop in Kiowa, where the first loads traditionally come in, workers say harvest won't get under way until early next week, and then only if the rainy weather blows out. One farmer tried cutting a test load on Wednesday and found moisture at 20 percent. Meanwhile…

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  • Josh Flint

    Hay Expo Provides a Break From Corn Talk

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 10, 2009

    There's an oft-repeaded phrase in Illinois, "Corn is king." For the past several months, delayed corn planting has been the hot topic. However, this week, I traveled to Hixton, Wis. for the Farm Progress Hay Expo. It's been fun to take a break from corn to discuss alfalfa -- a crop that doesn't get a lot of publicity in central Illinois. At the Expo, I met a couple of farmers from southern Indiana who raise a few hundred acres of alfalfa for local horse owners. Both said the delayed planting…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Company Offers Interesting Move for 2010

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 10, 2009

    A few weeks ago I highlighted the low- and no-cost financing programs that major players were offering to the market. Now comes word from Kinze Manufacturing that they've decided to do something even more interesting - no price increase in most 2010 pricing. The innovative company that started with inventive mind of Jon Kinzebau and his idea that farm equipment could be made better. The company has grown through the past 40-plus years to become a major provider of a wide range of implements…

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  • Tim White

    Vacation Time Not Without Pressure

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on June 9, 2009

    I have read and probably written articles about how important it is take time away from the office. I presume farmers are used to the U.S. populace packing up the van and taking a couple of weeks of R & R just as the workload around the farm is picking up the pace. Of course the whole idea of summer vacation for school students undoubtedly had something to do with pa needing a little help getting the crops out and the hay in and the weeds cultivated. You created this monster.   So I am…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Not Like Your Father's Farm Equipment Dealership

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 9, 2009

    Stick around long enough and you can see plenty of changes - great lesson for anyone just entering this business. Since the mid-1980s I've visited my share of farm equipment dealerships and there's been a big change in that time - which many of my customer-readers may have noticed. A trip to the dealer is almost like visiting more 'consumer-oriented' businesses than in the past. That message rang true when I stopped by John Deere dealership Gooseneck Implement in Stanley, N.D. a few weeks ago…

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  • Holly Spangler

    $400 a Ton Anhydrous?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 8, 2009

    Anhydrous for $400 a ton? It wasn’t so long ago that anhydrous prices were two, and bordering on three, times higher than that. But retailers are reportedly offering fall contracts at that very price.   Fertilizer’s price saga continues. When I was in high school, I remember my dad complaining that anhydrous might hit $300 that year. Last year, we saw early prices around $1,100. When my husband locked some of ours in at $900, we thought we had a bargain. Ha. We weren’t alone, though, for…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Worrying About Carbon Cap And Trade

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 7, 2009

    Climate change was on Jeff Enger’s mind when I caught up with him in the field recently.   He was super coultering around potholes in a corn field, trying to stay ahead his brother and nephew who were planting soybeans at a feverish pace. The calendar said June and some of fields around Marion were just getting dry enough to plant.   Enger represents North Dakota corn growers on a national cap and trade committee.   Cap and trade is a government idea that would limit carbon emissions from…

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  • John Vogel

    Greening of Ag is Just Beginning

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 6, 2009

    ‘Remember when Dad’s advice was simple: “Just drive a straight line, son. It’ll make the corn rows straight and cultivating easier.”   Now days, steering on the contour is the train of thought and motion. Unless you’ve got autosteer, it helps to keep one eye on the e-arrow of your tractor GPS monitor, and the other eye on the flashing 12 digital columns of your planter monitor.   That’s not all that changing. We are just beginning to enter an era when farmers will be paid for capturing…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Global Warming -- Get Out Of Here

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 4, 2009

    I was riding around with Kevin Skunes, Arthur, N.D., as he shuttled soybean seed to the planter on JUNE 3.  He said this year’s late planting wasn’t so unusual.   Once or twice each decade, planting is extremely late in the Red River Valley, he says.   He remembers one year when there was snow in their shelterbelts on Memorial Day.   And another year -- the year his sister got married in early June -- he and a friend spent the morning hooking two tractors together to pull a disk through…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Planter Power Pays Big Time This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 3, 2009

    A shrewd ag economist like Howard Doster could probably rip my theory to shreds. But it seems to me that if many farmers didn't have perhaps more planting capacity than they would need in a 'normal' year, they would be even further behind this spring than they are already. Doster, now retired, was a Purdue Extension ag economist who specialized in trying to determine what size of equipment a certain size farm could afford. Chances are he might think a farmer with 1,500 acres and two planters…

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  • Josh Flint

    Farm Progress Show's Seed Technology Plots Ready for Emergence

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 2, 2009

    Looking back through my day planner, I have "FPS Planting" crossed off four times through April and May. That's how many times rain pushed back the planting date for the Farm Progress Show seed plot planting. Mother Nature finally gave us a break on Monday, June 1. While taking photos of plot planting, I was reminded of an adage often used in construction -- "Measure twice, cut once." For seed plot planting, I'd tweak the saying a bit -- "Check the bag twice, plant once." If you check out…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Catching a Sniff of Show Season

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 2, 2009

    Next week - June 10 and 11 - farmers from around the upper Midwest will be heading to the Farm Progress Hay Expo where they'll catch up on the latest in forage-making tools. This is a strong show filled with field demonstrations as well as static exhibits that forage producers have come to rely on. And this year, the show is back in Wisconsin, near Hixton. That's north of Black River Falls on Interstate 94 in an easy-to-find location. For the Farm Progress Events Group, this is our first show…

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