• Tim White

    Farm Articles Fly By at Ohio Farmer Time Machine

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on December 30, 2011

    The older you get the faster time flies. As a result 2011 was the fastest year on record. It seems like about six months ago that I wrote in the January 2011 Ohio Farmer that Gov. John Kasich told the Ohio Farm Bureau annual meeting, “This is not your father’s agriculture. Get the word out ag is cool.” So it must have been about five months ago that David and Peggy Thompson’s barn in Navarre was picked first in the Ohio Farmer Beautiful Barn Photo Contest in the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Bob: Just a Great Teacher

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 29, 2011

    The Illinois agricultural communications world is a small one. It’s kind of like a family. And a good share of that family is mourning the loss today of a wonderful friend and mentor, Bob Siebrecht. Bob died earlier this week, the result of a sudden illness. He was 59. Bob was one of two Bobs and a Gerry who made up the ag communications faculty at the University of Illinois, during my tenure in the mid-‘90s. Bob Siebrecht, Bob Hays and Gerry Walter. Bob Siebrecht &ndash…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Tough Farm Challenge Offered for 'Smaller' Operations

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 28, 2011

    What I'm about to say may surprise many but a 1,500-acre cash grain farm is slowly slipping into the "small farm" category. Given the size of equipment today - not the biggest stuff but the more-efficient later model machines available - it's possible to farm this much land yet still need a job off the farm. Our European farmer friends are often surprised by this. Fred Yoder, a forward-thinking Ohio farmer and member of the National Corn Growers Association leadership team, once told me that…

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  • John Vogel

    Forget That New Year's Resolution!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 28, 2011

    About 1:30 this morning, this revelation sprang to mind. Forego resolution-making. Instead, make a promise to yourself, in writing and big letters. Then hang it where you can see it every morning as a reminder. A promise has far greater force than a resolution. Since you only get one run on this earth, carefully pick what you promise. If you mess it up, you don’t come back again for a do-over. There’s one partial exception to that rule, though. Most men are better grandfathers…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Thank You, Tractor Supply, For Helping Santa Out

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 27, 2011

    Santa found every single most-desired item on the lists this year. No small feat when you are talking grandkid numbers in the double digits. But perhaps the greatest kudos go this year to the helpful people at our local farm supply store -- not where you'd first expect to find the perfect gift for the urban 3-year-old, which is probably why it was there. Baby Geneva, having made what appears to be a full recovery from her lymph node surgery, had one big request for Santa: a springy…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Prayers For The New Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 26, 2011

    Things can always be worse. If you're alive and reading this, then 2011 wasn't a complete disaster. In fact, some of you probably made more money farming in 2011 than at any other time in your career. Some- but not all. The 2011 crop season was a challenging one for many people, with record heat when corn should have been doing its thing, and no rain when soybeans were trying to fill pods. And rain in the spring frustrated more farmers than not. A farmer's prayer is for something better in…

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  • Curt Arens

    Finding Ways on the Farm to Utilize Red Cedar

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 26, 2011

        When I was a kid, five or six neighborhood families would pile into pickups and trucks around Christmas time and drive over hill and dale in grazing land along the Missouri River, searching for the perfect red cedar Christmas tree. In the days before plastic trees were so popular and before we operated our own choose and cut Christmas tree farm, red cedar trees were plentiful and made fine Christmas trees. They were always very brown when we cut them from the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Thanks For All You Do

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 26, 2011

    Walt Bones, South Dakota’s secretary of agriculture and a Parker, S.D. farmer, feeder, and dairyman, said something interesting the other day about all the time farmers and rancher spend volunteering and otherwise serving their communities. “It was about this time last year when I was contacted by a member of the governor’s search committee and asked if I would be interested in serving South Dakota’s agriculture industry [as secretary of agriculture],” he wrote…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Field Moms Look to Farms, Not PETA

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 21, 2011

    As I sat in on the second Chicago Moms Meetup earlier this month in Chicago, it hit me: it's working. The Field Moms, a group of 10 Chicago-area moms selected earlier in the fall for a special series of tours and much one-on-one access with farms, farmers and farm moms, were the focus of this Meetup. And while attendance maybe wasn't what the Illinois Farm Families folks might have hoped for, it was certainly a case of quality far outweighing quantity. Indeed, the conversations that took…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm Equipment Acquisition Fight is Under Way

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 21, 2011

    Now here's an end-of-the-year story I didn't expect to see. Two major farm equipment makers are battling over ownership of Norwegian farm equipment maker Kverneland ASA. On Monday, CNH Global confirmed it sent an indication of interest for a voluntary tender offer for 100% of Kverneland USA outstanding shares for about $246 million - at NOK9.50 per share. The actual launch of the offer is pending due diligence. But a rival bidder popped up. Kubota Corp. of Japan - according to Dow Jones - has…

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  • John Vogel

    Feeling Joyful And Blessed For Being A Farmer Yet?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 21, 2011

    A lot of people I know get depressed over the Christmas holidays  (farm folks, too) because they feel their life is out of control. Too much to do; too little time, and maybe too little money, to do it. If that's your dilemma, try this: Repeat after me: “I’m not going crazy. I don’t have to get everything on my list done.” Again: “I’m not going crazy. Most things on my list do not have to be done in the next few days. I’m in control…

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  • Tim White

    Cover Crops Grow Ohio Farmers' Ag Man of the Year

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on December 21, 2011

    The last couple of years I have named an Ohio Agriculture Person of the Year. In 2009 the passage of Issue 2, the creation of the Livestock Care Standards Board, made Jack Fisher, president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation an easy choice. Then in 2010 the work done by ODA and Director Robert Boggs to implement the LCSB statute earned him the title. This year I'm picking Dave Brandt, the conservation-minded farmer from Carroll, Ohio, who has spent countless hours over the last few years…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Christmas Cheer Is Recovering Child

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 20, 2011

    It looks like my tiny granddaughter, Geneva, is on the mend. At 3 years old, Geneva finally hit 25 pounds a couple of months ago. She was premature and has gained size slowly, but steadily, since she came into the world. What she lacks in size, she makes up in energy and spirit. She is a really, really busy, active little girl. Even after a lymph node began swelling on her neck around Thanksgiving, she has been undaunted. But the lump got bigger and bigger and then became inflamed and…

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  • Curt Arens

    A Wish List for the Farm at Christmas

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 20, 2011

    The other day, my younger children were busy making out their wish lists for Santa, before he arrived for a visit in Crofton. My son, who will be six years old in January, was so excited to meet Santa in person, that he forgot to give him the list that he’d worked so long and hard in developing. I think most farmers in our neck of the woods aren’t wishing for much more than we’ve been blessed with this year. We’ve had good crops, record pricing opportunities, and less…

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  • Josh Flint

    Slapping Band Aids on Illinois' Economic Problems

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 20, 2011

    I think I’ve figured out why many of our nation’s politicians have law degrees rather than medical doctorates. Have you ever seen an ER doc slap a Band Aid on a gunshot wound and call it good? Of course not. That wouldn’t fix the root cause. The bullet needs to be removed, lest the body be forced to fight added stress from infection. On the other hand, our legal system is a complex patchwork of Band Aid upon Band Aid. Many times the lawyer who understands how and why a…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Only You CAN Prevent Intrusive Farm Regulations

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 19, 2011

    A phone call with a regulator this week prompted me to view how we should take care of our land and resources in a slightly different way. One new rule requiring licensing for applicators who apply fertilizer for hire or manure from a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) unit goes into effect Jan 1. At the same time there is a rule proposed for how fertilizers are handled in this state. You can comment on it until January 7, but it won't be finalized likely until spring, and probably…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Farm Wetlands -- A New Spirit of Cooperation?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 18, 2011

    I talked to Mary Podoll, the new Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist in North Dakota, the other day and was surprised and pleased by what she told me. Podoll said she wants NRCS to improve its farm "customer service." When a producer submits a request to install drain tile or to maintain a ditch on a farm, Podoll says she'd like NRCS to be able get its wetland determination done more quickly, perhaps in just a few months. She also said she'd like NRCS to be less…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Walking, Chewing Gum Not Always Easy

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 14, 2011

    I have more than once been accused of not paying attention to where I'm going. On Tuesday, it proved costly. I was carrying my baby grandson, Dylan, into the bedroom to change his diaper. But I hadn't noticed that his brother had been playing with a small step-stool in the same room and left in the walkway. I tripped over it and took a nasty fall. It might not  have been so bad had I not had Dylan in my arms and shifted all my weight to the right so I could lift him out of the way…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Big City Lessons

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 13, 2011

    Well, it appears I ran out of words following 30 Days of Farms & Families! I'm so grateful to each of you who have read and commented, or who've stopped me in person and shared how much you enjoyed the series. I very much appreciate it, and it certainly makes all the late nights worthwhile! Mostly though, it made me realize how blessed we are in agriculture. This business is full of great people. How fortunate are we that we can know them? Very fortunate, indeed. And yes, I have been MIA…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Cool Stuff? No, Much Needed Farm Stuff

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 13, 2011

    Last weekend our friends at "60 Minutes", the long-running news magazine, featured a profile of Howard Buffett, son of Warren Buffett, and an Illinois farmer. It's a great profile, and you can watch it online too. His was the profile after Steve Kroft talked with President Obama. Howard Buffett gets the '60 Minutes' treatment, and shows what it takes to farm. I've been lucky enough to meet Mr. Buffett (Howard, not Warren) and he's a passionate person about feeding the world as you can see…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Good Stewardship of Sandhills Ranchers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 12, 2011

    I was driving home from a farm meeting a few weeks ago, and passed, as I like to do, through a portion of the Sandhills. Like most folks who experience the beauty and remote awesomeness of this region, I have come to cherish every trip I take through the area. My Dad loved the Sandhills too. If he hadn’t purchased the home place back in 1965 from my grandparents, he would have loved to go west and ranch in the middle of the Sandhills somewhere. It was his favorite place in Nebraska…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Survive The Dark Days Of December

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 12, 2011

    The rush of harvest is over for many of you. If you have livestock, there's pressure 24/7, 365. If not, December can get to be a long month. Each day is shorter until Dec 21. The sun rises later, and goes down earlier. And if you live on slow time, your kids might have to hurry to get home from school before dark. Christmas is coming, and there's just enough kid left in all of us to look forward to it. But it's not here yet. It's a week early to really feel like the holiday is upon us, and…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    An End To The Gold Rush In Grain?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 12, 2011

    Rick Browne, CHS senior vice-president for grain marketing, had an interesting presentation at the Prairie Grains Conference in Grand Forks last week. It was about the end of the "gold rush" in grain. Browne, who has more than 30 years of experience in the grain marketing with CHS, doesn't buy the idea that we've reached a new plateau in grain prices, or that the world's population growth is going to keep grain prices this high forever. The grain market has always been, and probably always…

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  • John Vogel

    Hot Air Rising In Marcellus Gas Controversy

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 9, 2011

      This week’s reactions to U.S. EPA’s report of Wyoming’s groundwater contamination by natural gas fracking were swift and volatile. Nowhere is that controversy hotter than in central and western New York State where a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing is still on. Recent hearings held across the Empire State were jam-packed with vociferous anti-frackers every bit as noisy and provocative as the Occupiers of Wall Street. The Wyoming case is sure to add to the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    And, Suddenly, It Is Winter

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on December 6, 2011

    What a difference a couple of days makes!! Less than a week ago, my petunias, snap dragons and sole surviving geranium were still blooming in my front garden. Now, the fountain sports icicles and the once-vivid flowers are more like puddles of color on the soil. It happens this way every year -- we get maybe one cold spell around Halloween and then a month of summer-ish November weather followed by a sudden chill down. You'd think I'd be used to it after almost 22 years in Kansas, but…

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  • Tim White

    Soybean Council Salutes Innovation

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on December 6, 2011

    The Ohio Soybean Council bestowed their outstanding service award on Battelle Memorial Institute at their 2011 Industry Dinner last week. It's an appropriate choice and one that has been along time coming. The first contact between the council and Battelle came nearly 20 years ago, recalls Keith Stimpert, who was the soy group's executive director at the time. "I remember touring Battelle with Bhima Vijayendran and talking about biodegradable plasticizers," says Stimpert. "I wasn't exactly…

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  • Curt Arens

    Light Up the Season

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 6, 2011

    As Nebraska Farmer editor, Don McCabe, and I travel the state going to farm meetings and interviewing farm and ranch families, we are always amazed by the beautiful and scenic farmsteads and ranches in every sector of our land. But over the holidays, farm and ranch families put on the Christmas glow and decorate their homesteads in such a way that everyone who visits or drives near is pulled into their festive creativity. That’s why, this year we’re inviting our readers to email…

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  • Tom Bechman

    There's Something Special About a Real Christmas Tree

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 5, 2011

    You haven't read about my adventures with real Christmas trees for a while because once our son, Daniel, went off to serve FFA for a year and then to Purdue, the push for a real Christmas tree went with him. Besides, my wife still complains about all those needles in the carpet. So for the last couple of years, we opted for an artificial tree. Christmas happened just the same as it would have otherwise. After all, Christmas isn't about trees, it's about a cross made from a tree and the man who…

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  • Josh Flint

    What Happened To This Great Country?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 2, 2011

    At some point in a person’s lifetime, they’ll usually hit the “things aren’t like they used to be” phase. You know, “kids aren’t respectful like they used to be” or “people used to work hard in this country.” I never thought I’d hit this stage of my life at the ripe old age of 29. Yet, last week, my wife and I were opining on the way things were. We watched with disbelief as the nightly news reported on the growing number of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    What to do with $500,000 (sort of)

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on December 2, 2011

    I'm of the belief that you probably shouldn't set up your management or equipment plan based on cutting your tax bill. However, when the government turns around and pretty much hands you a big write-off, if it makes sense you may want to use it. For years the Section 179 Deduction has been helping small businesses innovate by encouraging to buy equipment. When I was freelancing that's how I depreciated computer equipment for my business - it makes sense rather than spreading it out over time…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Impressed By New Ag Leaders in N.D.

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 2, 2011

    I am impressed with the new leaders of the North Dakota Farmers Union and North Dakota Farm Bureau. They may represent a new era for Dakota agriculture. Elwood Woody Barth was elected president of the North Dakota Farmers Union in November. He replaces Robert Carlson, who decided not to run after holding the post for 15 years. Barth has served as vice president of the organization since December of 2008. He was first elected to the State Board of Directors in 2003 as the District 5 Director…

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