• Josh Flint

    Broadband Access Is Necessary to Attract Young Homeowners

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 29, 2012

    Potential home buyers are increasingly asking a very pointed question when looking to buy in a rural area. “They want to know how fast the internet speed is,” says Mike Rudibaugh, with Partnership for a Connected Illinois. There are a number of ways to label different internet speeds. For the younger generation, anything under 3 mbps is too slow. At 3 mbps, you could download a 3 minute song from iTunes in about 8 seconds. Large downloads or streaming movies can be a hassle…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Illinois Farm Families: More Mom Conversations

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 28, 2012

    By early Wednesday morning, I'll be packed up and headed north on a train to Chicago, with any luck whatsoever. The Illinois Farm Families folks are sending fellow Farm Mom Emily Webel and me to a reasonably glamorous event in Chicago. "Girls Night Out – Go Red for Women" is hosted by Sassy Moms in the City, and celebrates the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement. There are to be "fabulous Chicago personalities," a red carpet, hors d'oeuvres, a fashion show and…

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  • John Vogel

    Waterkeeper's Pursuit Of Chesapeake Bay Farm Stirs Ag Support

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 28, 2012

    On Friday and Saturday evenings a little over a week ago, I joined hundreds of farmers, agribusiness people, even legislators united to raise money for Alan and Kristin Hudson’s legal defense in a lawsuit that hopes to write Maryland clean water laws for the Chesapeake Bay by judicial precedent rather than by legislative process. It has been a long time since I’ve seen such an uprising from a normally accepting ag community. This young Maryland farm family from Berlin, Md., are the…

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  • Tim White

    At Times I Miss Our Back Pages

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on February 28, 2012

    I am mostly very happy that the Ohio Department of Agriculture was willing to take the bound volumes of the old Ohio Farmer magazines last fall. The responsibility of storing them and keeping them safe weighed on me and I figured there were very few times I would really need them. Well one of those times was a couple of weeks ago when I was writing up the profiles of the three new Master Farmer award winners for the March issue. I won’t spoil the surprise of opening the magazine by…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A (Very Talented) Farm Girl and Her Dream

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 27, 2012

    Maybe you've heard of Erin Ehnle? No? How about Keeping it Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl? If you're into agriculture and you spend any time at all on Facebook, I bet you've seen her work. In short, she's been creating an image a day since mid-January, combining lovely rural photography with various facts and quotes about agriculture. She publishes them on Facebook and she is marvelously talented, with an eye for both photography and design. She's a natural ag communicator; not many…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Recognize The Master Farmer In Your Life

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 27, 2012

    It’s time to nominate a farmer or rancher you know for the Dakota Farmer’s Master Farmer award. Master Farmer is an award for men or women who are actively farming or ranching. It recognizes them for their farm or ranch management achievements and their involvement in their communities, schools, churches, industry groups or other organizations. Each year, two farmers or ranchers from North Dakota and South Dakota are recognized as Master Farmers. To download a nomination form, go…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm Show Highlights...After Some Time

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 27, 2012

    No one who goes to a farm show sees everything, even after three days, but you can sure try. The 2012 National Farm Machinery Show was a true "sole searing" event (catch that spelling). And while I found my fair share of new stuff, there were a few items of note I'll highlight here - just a very few. First, Geringhoff is trying to rewrite how a combine corn head works. The company has already been recognized for its folding corn head with its chopping design. But now they're thinking in new…

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  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, It Pays to Employ Strategic Flexibility

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 27, 2012

    Most of the lessons I’ve learned on the farm, I have learned the hard way. I still hear the voice of my father, sending out basic bits of wisdom that seemed appropriate in handling almost every unforeseen circumstance. One of his most prized pieces of advice was quite simple. “Always have a plan B,” he would say. In other words, roll with the punches, or, as I like to say, employ strategic flexibility. When we were sorting cattle, he would insist on setting up extra…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What Color Purse Would Match My Outfit Best?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 27, 2012

    It was just an innocent mistake. I was visiting the Indiana FFA Center during one of their leadership camps for chapter officers on a Saturday afternoon recently. Some of our local kids were there, and I wanted to see what the camp was all about. One of the sessions was on acting and dressing like a professional. I hated to admit it when I heard the topic, but I figured I might learn as much as the kids did. In some ways, I did. The number one lesson learned was to stay alert and pay…

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  • Holly Spangler

    How a Cow Can Change Everything

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 23, 2012

    A few facts on the folks on Earth and what they've been up to lately: * World population hit 7 billion people in 2012. * United Nations estimates we will reach 9.3 billion by 2050. * Growth will occur not in our traditional allies but in rapidly developing nations like Pakistan, Brazil, India and Bangladesh. * By 2050, 30% of the population will be rural and 70% will be urban – some 6.4 billion people, which is roughly equal to the entire world population today. * Today there are…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Great News About New Ag Processing Plants

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 22, 2012

    Northern Beef Packers is about to open in Aberdeen, S.D. The plant will process 200 head of cattle per day when it opens and will have the capacity to process 1,500 head per day per shift. Bel Brands USA, headquartered in Chicago, is going to start construction on a new cheese plant in Brooking, S.D., this summer. The factory will have the capacity to process the milk from 15,000 cows. Bel Brands, which has two other plants in the U.S., makes Laughing Cow and other gourmet snack…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Is Agriculture Waiting to Talk?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 21, 2012

    Last week, I found myself sitting at the Ag Communications symposium at the University of Illinois. It was organized to mark the 50th anniversary of the program from which I graduated, and on tap were lots of speakers, lots of colleagues, lots of friends I hadn't seen in awhile, lots of agriculture. It was, in short, a great way to spend the day. It also included lots of thought-provoking discussions, which I'll try to share more of throughout the week. But for now, a single speaker stood…

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  • Josh Flint

    High Food Prices Didn't Cause as Much Poverty as Reported

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 21, 2012

    Remember all those news reports about the explosion in food costs in 2008? I distinctly recall one farmer saying the local news reported that the price of popcorn at the movie theater was going up because so the price of corn was so high. Ignorance aside, there were a lot of reports about how many households had fallen to poverty levels due to rising food costs. It turns out many of these reports were over exaggerated. According to a report published by University of Illinois&rsquo…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Video Winners Chosen for 2012 Grain Cart Contest

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 20, 2012

    The Frank Dietrich family from Lucan, Ontario, Canada, is the grand prize winner in the "Why Do You Choose Brent?" video contest. Announced last Friday at the National Farm Machinery Show, the Dietrich farm family video was chosen the best through an online vote at the Brent website. We reviewed all five finalists here in Farmers Respond to Video Contest and the competition was tough. Each of the finalists had done its best to bring high-quality video production values to their finished…

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  • Curt Arens

    Missouri River Farmers Look to a New Planting Season

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 20, 2012

    Driving over Gavins Point Dam north of Crofton today, a little water was being released through one flood gate into the spillway below and down the Missouri River. That is a far cry from the raging waters that burst through the flood gates in all of the six major Missouri River flood control dams last summer, sending flood waters downstream, into homes and cities, and across farm fields on the path to the Mississippi River. In January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported that their…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Shiny New Equipment Carries High Price Tag

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 20, 2012

    Walking through acres of brand new, shiny equipment at the National Farm Machinery Show, noticing that the equipment carried the latest advancements in both design and technology, made me think what I would do if I was farming. I would fill my toolshed with tractors that steer themselves, combines that can control the grain cart via the combine operator and all sorts of GPS gadgets and gizmos. It would be tempting to buy the biggest grain cart, buy the biggest bin and the biggest dryer so I…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Kudos For Ag's Pet Rescuers

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 17, 2012

    Kudos to the folks at the North Dakota State University’s North Central Research Extension Center. They were recently honored by state ag and emergency services departments for providing shelter to pets during the 2011 flood in Minot. The NCREC staff housed more than 500 hogs, cats, rabbits, iguanas, birds, snakes and other pets the center’s garages, machine sheds and seed warehouses. The first of the animals began arriving in May when the Mouse River began rising and the last…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Had It Not Been for 4-H House

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 17, 2012

    Aside from the obvious - things like my family and my husband - there are basically three things that have made me the person I am today: 1. God 2. The University of Illinois 3. 4-H House And pretty much in that order. For purposes of this blog, I'm going to skip to number three.   4-H House rocks. It was my home-away-from-home in college. It's a cooperative housing unit for women on the University of Illinois campus, which until now, required five years of 4-H…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm Brand Names Evolve, Connect

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 16, 2012

    This week the National Farm Machinery Show is helping me put more wear on my trusty walking shoes with a bevy of top companies showing off their wares. You learn plenty walking around the show, and this year the mood remains good (though there is that thought "how long will this last?" question weighing in the back of many folks' minds). I'm rounding up what new products I can find and learning more about a few hot topics or future copy in your favorite Farm Progress magazine, and online soon…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farm Families Could Bear Heavy Load in School Fund Cuts

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 16, 2012

    I got a reminder this week from my Farm Progress colleague Holly Spangler in Illinois that the school funding crisis is nationwide. This is a struggle that faces not just farm families but urban families as well. In Wichita, my family is faced with losing the school community of which we have been a part for six years. Our 219-student Open Magnet, Emerson, is on the USD 259 chopping block, apparently because the community of which we are made is diverse enough that no one school will be…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    FCC Has Pulled Plug on LightSquared

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 15, 2012

    It looks like the LightSquared battle is won. The controversial system that originally promised to bring cell phone service to every nook and cranny of America at the cost of overpowering GPS signals in areas around its towers, was effectively shut down when the FCC denied permission for its tower build-out and said it would rescind the conditional approval it granted a year ago. There will be public comment and there's a always a chance that things could change, but it is not likely. It…

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  • John Vogel

    Eco-terrorists Incite Culture Of Farmer's Fear

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 14, 2012

      Last July’s “Food for Thought” column was headlined: “America suffers ‘litigious pollution’.” It noted the growing legal legions employed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others. These groups “have become so bold that they now pose a greater threat to America’s economy than armed terrorists. Because of this growing ‘sue-‘em’ society, even state…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Help One Another - It's The Hoosier Thing To Do

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 13, 2012

    The night was pitch black, as nights get. I was leaving a meeting where volunteers has helped grade FFA proficiency forms, and I was one of the volunteers. As the person riding home with me and I approached my car, a fellow volunteer, an ag teacher, Joe McCain, Greenfield Central High School, spied us and called for help. His hood was up on his pickup. His battery was dead. Batteries will do that sometimes, especially when they're 10 years old. I could relate. Sometimes I just don't want to…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farm Groups and Farming Communities Need Volunteers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 13, 2012

    Being a farmer today is participating in a complex vocation. There is the tough, production-oriented business model, where we purchase inputs as cheaply and use them as efficiently as possible. Every dollar is accounted for and net profit is the key to happiness in life. Then there is the “way of life” model, where we don’t pay much attention to dollars and cents, but worry more about the value and rewards of living a rural life to the fullest and raising a family on the…

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  • Tim White

    Opportunity and Challenge of Producing Pork

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on February 13, 2012

    It’s exciting times for Ohio pork producers, according to Todd Stickley, president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council. We had a chance to sit with Todd at the Ohio Pork Congress last week and he said the mood of the pork industry is very positive. Stickley is also director of pork finishing and development for Kalmbach Swine Management, LLC. Ohio Farmer: You say pork producers are in a pretty good mood. Why? Stickley: There are many reasons to be optimistic about our pork industry. As…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Ready, Set, Go?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 10, 2012

    Next week my title takes a short vacation. For some time I've been editorial director at Farm Progress, responsible for a range of details, issues and such running our 19-magazine family of editors and production folks. But every year about this time, I turn that hat around (you can never really take it off) and bringing the other title to the front - machinery editor. Since the early 1980s I've been covering farm machinery. I enjoy it and most readers know I like checking out the latest new…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Consolidation: No Easy Answers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 9, 2012

    There are signs all over town: “Vote no.” “Just vote no.” “Vote NO on consolidation.” Our small town is, obviously, about to vote on whether to consolidate with two other rural school districts, just to our north. The Committee of 10 has long since been formed, the research conducted, the information presented. Now the communities are hashing it out, presenting their sides and forming formidable offenses. Suffice to say, there’s some vocal opposition…

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  • John Vogel

    Where To Place Your Farm Bets

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 8, 2012

    Agriculture is an exceptional industry with many exceptional businesses and an even greater number of exceptional people. Yes, that’s a double affirmation. That’s why America’s farmers are world leaders in food productivity and in return on farm investment. Even before the current economic downswing (We’re not supposed to call it a recession anymore.), agriculture was one of the hottest places to reinvest farm revenues. And as you know, it has solidly withstood…

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  • Josh Flint

    Union of Concerned Scientists' Article on Monsanto Gets an F

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 7, 2012

    I have a lot on my plate this week, but I had to take a few moments to respond to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report is called “Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture.” It’s a bunch of crap. To start with, it makes sense that the group is not called the Union of Concerned Economists. If it were, half of their eight bullet points would have succinct answers. I’m speaking of promoting pesticide resistance, increased herbicide…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Signs In The Night Sky

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 7, 2012

    Jay Bursch, a Glenn Ullin, N.D., amateur sunspot and aurora borealis watcher, sent me an interesting letter the other day. It details the number of auroras, or northern lights, he has documented by month since 1981. There are more 2,250. Bursch, who has been quoted by ABC News and several aurora borealis societies, thinks that di auroras, or northern lights, can tell us what’s driving climate change. Auroras are caused by sunspots and solar flares. The more solar flares, the theory…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Gauge Age By How Much Person Paid for College Tuition!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 6, 2012

    This is the season when seniors have either applied for tons of scholarships if they want to pursue a higher education in agriculture, or are still applying for scholarships. In fact, we will feature an item this week about three opportunities whereby ag companies, all of them ag cooperatives, are offering scholarships for members of descendants of members. The exact rules vary from scholarship to scholarship, but each one is worth checking out. Most are for $1,000 to $1,500 on a one-time…

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  • Curt Arens

    Is the Grass Always Greener?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 6, 2012

    When we milked cows when I was a kid, I marveled at some of our Holsteins. I swear that those long-necked cows were never happy. They would not only stretch their necks through a fence to the other side for a fresh blade of grass, but they would stretch it back around the post into the pasture where they were standing. I guess you just can’t please some folks. The attitude of the Holstein cow might be the same prevailing attitude that drives our young folks to high paying jobs…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Immigrant Policy Provides Interesting Divide

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 4, 2012

    I can't help wishing I could be a fly on the wall when the inner circle of Gov. Sam Brownback's advisers get together to talk about immigration. The conversation has to be interesting. On the one hand we have the new Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, elected in the great Tea Party sweep of 2010 on a campaign to stop voter fraud, which until he ran for office, no one in Kansas had ever thought much about. Stopping voter fraud is the thin veil that covers his real agenda, which is driving…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Studebaker, Oliver, Minnie-Mo Tractor Anyone?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 3, 2012

    This week comes news that a group of investors want to revive the Studebaker brand name. Most readers may remember the Studebaker as the maker of fin-laden cars in the 1950s (who didn't) or the boring Lark. Or maybe you saw the Avanti. Today, the Studebaker Motor Company looks more like an investor's front for Chinese car and motorcycle makers - and that may be the long-term goal. And it's amazing to me that these brands keep coming back. Sure, I think fondly of the Studebaker Hawk my parents…

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