• Rod Swoboda

    Cultivating Student Interest In Agricultural Sciences

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 30, 2013

    At a reception in Des Moines last week for Science Bound students, I met the Tello family. Science Bound is a program that began 20 years ago as a way to draw students from middle school and high schools in Des Moines, Denison and Marshalltown toward careers in agriculture, science and technology. The program is aimed at minority students and currently has 378 students enrolled, all of them in those three school districts. Felipe Tello and wife Hermelinda, immigrants to Iowa…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Meeting the Test

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 30, 2013

    Not sure what to say this time of year with a much-delayed planting season and every single Midwest corn farmer standing by his shop door waiting for ground temps to top 50 degrees F for planting. You've probably gone over that planter twice and checked it once again. You've gone over your field plan with your crew - family or hired labor - to make sure when you can deploy you're covering a lot of ground fast, and furious. There's probably one more thing to do, check…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Washington Wine Interests Drive For New Industry Self-Help Dollars

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 30, 2013

    I get a kick out of ag's never ending effort to continue to finance its own industry. While there are numerous examples I could pull up of this, the latest on my desk announces the Washington wine industry Annual Cup Race golf tournament. The money goes to advancing research, education and leadership in the business. The 13th  such annual event will be held at Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland on July 15. If you want to tee up, go to www.washingtonwindfoundation.org or…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Flash Drives and Parts Runs

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 29, 2013

    Time was, when you had a breakdown in the field, somebody made a parts run. Like the time when I was a teenager and Dad sent me to town for a part, and I wound up back at McLean Implement three times because I came home with the wrong thing. But I learned the difference between male and female couplers. And that you really can't just guess. This morning, my husband went out to spray. First decent day back in the field in weeks. He ran in at lunch and chased me away from the computer…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Life Lessons Abound For FFA Students

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 29, 2013

    OK, so you are in a contest and you studied very hard. It was livestock judging and you wanted to place in the top five in the area and go to state so badly you could almost taste it! But you didn't win. You didn't even place in the top 10.The judge in the sheep reasons stared at his text on his cell phone the whole time you were giving reasons. Is that why you lost? You can react one of two ways if you're a high school student – resolve to come back and study…

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  • Curt Arens

    Tractor and Farm Implement Safety for Youth

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 29, 2013

    I noticed the new schedule for University of Nebraska Extension Tractor Safety and Hazardous Occupations courses for youth coming up this summer. The two-day courses, set up for 14- and 15-year-olds, will be coming to Kearney (May 23-24), Concord (May 29-30), Gering (June 3-4), Valentine (June 6-7), Osceola (June 10-11), North Platte (June 13-14) and Grand Island (June 17-18). Here is the complete registration information. I can recall my first experience driving a tractor. When I was…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Bring Back TIP In New Farm Bill

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 29, 2013

    Congress ought to bring back the Transition Incentive Program. The program gave landowners an additional two years of payment if they rented or sold land coming out the Conservation Reserve Program to beginning farmers. TIP helped Richie and Michael Heinrich, Medina, N.D. Richie is a recent graduate from North Dakota State University and Michael is a senior at NDSU. Both are back home farming with their father and starting their own operations. “We were lucky to have landowners…

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  • Mindy Ward

    FFA Honors The Fallen And Faithful

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 26, 2013

    The youth in agriculture never cease to amaze and impress me. This year at the 85th Missouri FFA Convention in Columbia, members were honored for their work on contest teams, leadership experiences and Supervised Agricultural Experience or SAE. However, this year I was more impressed with what they did beyond individual and school accomplishments. When Elsberry FFA members Jessie Knox and Bo Young took to the stage as part of the talent portion of the convention, I was ready for some…

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  • Paula Mohr

    DEA Goes After Veterinarians In Trucks

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 26, 2013

    In its ongoing effort to curtail illegal drug use, transport and smuggling, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is going after those folks who for decades have traveled openly with antibiotics, painkillers, vaccines and other subcutaneous injections: Veterinarians. Yes, DEA's interpretation of the Controlled Substance Act stretches to those who care for and treat 1,500-pound patients in pens and fields. DEA has said that federal regulations make it illegal for veterinary…

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  • Fran O

    Make Mine Milk, Please!

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 26, 2013

    I confess there was a time when I drank two, sometimes three cans of Diet Coke per day. In fact, I was addicted to Diet Coke. I could tell because if I went a day without drinking any Diet Coke I would wake up the next morning with a pounding headache. The cure? You guessed it – another Diet Coke. This addiction to Diet Coke went on for 23 years! Finally, in 2005 I managed to kick the habit. Fortunately for me, Diet Coke wasn't the only thing I drank. I have always been a…

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  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Veteran Brings Skills to the Ranch

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 26, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:   It had to be tough for Elgin rancher, Garrett Dwyer, when he returned home after serving with the U.S. Marines in Iraq. It is quite a transition, going from an active war zone to the peaceful Sandhills pastures west of Elgin. Dwyer, like so many of his fellow war veterans, were searching to make their place in society when they returned home after bravely serving their country. And, as Dwyer noted when I visited with him at the family ranch last spring…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Off The Beaten Path

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 26, 2013

    One of the reasons I love my job is the hidden gems I find while traveling for an interview – things you won't find by simply driving on the interstate. This might be a Red Dirt radio station in the Flint Hills or a small-town diner in the Ozarks. This week, a meeting and field day took me to Weston, Missouri. I had been to Weston before, since it's only 30 minutes north of where I live in Kansas City. At one point in the 1800s, the town's population rivaled Kansas…

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  • John Vogel

    Does Your Farm Host A 'Cereal Killer'?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 26, 2013

    I'm betting that you don't munch down Corn Flakes or Post Toasties for breakfast as much as you used to. So you or your family's chief food shopper may just might be a 'cereal killer". As a farm kid, I grew up in the Corn Flakes era. And in my first Animal Science class at college, my animal nutrition professor said: "Breakfast is your most important meal. That's true for animals, too." Too many of today's generation (farm and non farm…

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  • Holly Spangler

    GMO-No: Farmers Are Not Stupid

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 26, 2013

    You know, some days I just get tired. Tired of the accusations, tired of the misinformation, tired of the same old tired arguments. Monsanto's corporate agenda is driving takeover of the world's seed supplies. Farmers can no longer save seeds - and coincidentally the price of corn, soy and cotton seeds have skyrocketed. I personally hate anything treated with Pesticides or any other chemical and GMO foods of any kind. They stack more kinds of herbicides in sprays…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Beginning Farmers Find Land

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 26, 2013

    How do you find land when you are a beginning farmer? John Overboe, Kindred, N.D., is looking everywhere. He is talking to relatives, neighbors and friends; running ads in newspapers; and even visiting courthouses to track titles to land. Overboe has to hustle. He has to compete with large, established farms in the southern Red River Valley for land and he has to deal with urban sprawl from Fargo, N.D. Overboe has turned one those challenges into an opportunity. He’s met…

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  • Tim White

    Wrapping Up My Visit To Brookside

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on April 25, 2013

    In his 30 plus years at Brookside Labs, CEO Mark Flock has turned a lot of test tubes. As reported in the April issue of Ohio Farmer the company's soil and water testing business is booming causing them to build a new laboratory facility. Brookside's business has grown 25% a year for the last 5 years, Flock reports. The company did more than 260,000 tests last year. You only have space for so much in a magazine article. So here are a few of the other things we talked…

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  • Josh Flint

    Since You're Not Planting...

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 25, 2013

    Yes, it will be mid-May before most of you are planting corn. Deep breaths. So, what to do in the meantime? Well, you could catch up on routine medical maintenance. Why is it farmers are so good at maintaining equipment, but only go to the doctor if an appendage has literally become detached from the body? I pondered this with a farm wife yesterday. After multiple doctor visits, her fears were confirmed – her husband had skin cancer. Luckily, her persistence meant they were…

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  • Don McCabe

    Corn Board Wants Out As A State Agency

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on April 24, 2013

    It's a big logjam now in the 2013 Nebraska Legislature. In the remaining days—the current 90-day session is scheduled to adjourn in early June—debate on many bills will be sidetracked as state senators quarrel over the budget, proposed Medicaid expansion, capital punishment and other controversial measures. Even the designated priority bills of state senators and committees could get left behind in the debate over these issues. One bill I hope gets its time on legislative…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Extent of Wheat Damage From Freeze Uncertain

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 24, 2013

    The percentage of the Kansas wheat crop adversely impacted by freeze damage is expected to go up substantially in the days ahead. It will take several days after the weather warms up to get a handle on just how much damage was done when the temperature hit a record 25 degrees in Wichita  in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, but there is no doubt that the wheat crop is far enough along in south central Kansas that damage is inevitable. Just about all of Kansas was hit with…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    $22,000 Left in Oregon's Wolf Loss Compensation Account

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 23, 2013

    With less than $25,000 left in Oregon's Wolf Depredation  & Prevention Program bank, livestock owners who sustain confirmed kills by the pack can  look forward to little compensation. Meanwhile, the Oregon wolf pack is alive, well and hungry as it continues to  move throughout livestock lands at will, despite the efforts of a few  range riders paid by the fund to keep an eye on  the predators. Those who think the return of the wolf is a nice thing…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Only Thing Certain In Michigan Is Weather Uncertainty

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on April 23, 2013

    Donned with my winter coat and three blankets wrapped around every exposed part of my body, last Saturday I watched as my daughter's softball team proceeded to snow blow and shovel the field they were about to play on. Last year at this time I was sporting a tank top and a pretty decent tan. Ah… it's Michigan. Love it or hate it, one thing is certain, there's complete uncertainty when it comes to the weather. After a parched 2012 summer, most farmers were rejoicing at…

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  • Curt Arens

    Memories of Sowing Oats

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 23, 2013

    I know. I know. Corn and soybeans are the way of the future. You don’t want to read about anything else. But, this time of year, I have to mention one of my favorite crops – oats. Yes, you read it correctly. Decades ago where I live, if corn was King, oats came in a close second. Sure, it doesn’t have the traditional significance of wheat. Never considered a major crop, it has wallowed in the large shadows of staple row crops. But, long before soybeans were grown in…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Rain We Couldn't Buy Last Year

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 23, 2013

    Last Wednesday, I spent the better part of the day driving home from Kansas City, where I'd gone for a board meeting of the American Ag Editors Association. I sat with friends over breakfast chai that morning and we discussed the weather that was moving through, and I casually joked that I was probably going to wind up driving along with the front all the way home. As it turns out, that wasn't so funny when it actually happened. I drove with my wipers on high for a solid two…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    One Week Later, We Haven't Forgotten

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on April 22, 2013

    This past week was a busy week for news across the country. Monday started off with the Boston Marathon bombs, followed by ricin letters sent to Government official, ending the week with a fertilizer explosion in West, Texas. Now, a week later, communities are able to rest that the suspects have been caught for both the letters and the bombings. And investigators are continuing to look over the cause of the fertilizer plant explosion. Let's not forget those who lost their lives…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Yield, Not Price, Is King

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 22, 2013

    You have probably been told more times than you care to remember that you need be a good grain and livestock marketer to survive in agriculture today. It’s probably true, but it may not be as important as being a good producer. Jay Olson, a North Dakota Farm Business management instructor at Devils Lake, N.D., wrote an interesting column about the topic in the April Dakota Farmer magazine. He says that his analysis shows that in recent years yield, not price, has driven net…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Thoughts About Conservation and the Farm Bill Debate

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 22, 2013

    Some Indiana conservation farmers would like to see conservation compliance added as a requirement to get federally subsidized crop insurance. They've met with U.S. Senator Joe Donnelley and expressed their opinions. Their idea is that if a farmer is going to get full benefits from subsidized crop insurance, he or she should have to qualify at some level of conservation compliance. If he or she doesn't comply, their costs for insurance should be higher. Savings could be used to fund…

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  • Fran O

    Spring Fieldwork Will Require Patience This Year

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 19, 2013

    Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. That is certainly true when it comes to our weather. Last summer, nearly everybody was praying for rain in June and July in the southern half of the state and there was little rain to be had until the end of July. Showers were widely scattered throughout August and much of the state grew dry again during September and the first half of October. After a snowy, cold winter, spring has been much colder than normal and extremely wet…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Spring Brings Flooding

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 19, 2013

    My first flood warning alert came over my cell phone this week. The Missouri River at Washington was expected to rise above flood stage to 23.1 feet by Sunday evening. Then there was the call from the mayor of the small town of Clarksville asking for volunteers to help sandbag to keep the Mississippi River from inundating their town. Wet weather inundated the Midwest this week. Heavy rains in the state added to the heavy snow and rains in the northern states causing our state's two…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Honoring the Hands That Feed Us

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 19, 2013

    I've driven by the Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kansas, numerous times while driving on I-70, but until today – the first day it opened for the visitor season, I hadn't actually visited it. The Hall of Fame surrounded by a suburb of Kansas City, honors individuals throughout history who have made a significant impact on U.S. agriculture, and raising consumer awareness on the importance and influence of agriculture. The message is simple: "If you eat…

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  • Paula Mohr

    The White Stuff Can Go

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 19, 2013

    Like most Minnesotans, I am tired of the snow. I am finally admitting that. I have remained stalwart throughout the winter and into March as we got hit again and again with measurable white stuff. I kept my 'happy face' on while my family and I shoveled our long driveway, telling myself and my grumbling teen that this was wonderful family bonding-time. The latter was short-lived. Unless we had snowball fights while shoveling. Which we did Thursday night. Depending…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Bass Farm Generating Interest In Iowa Aquaculture Hub

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 19, 2013

    A hog production facility idled for economic reasons is back in production. However, there are sounds of splashes and not squeals coming from the farm operation near Webster City. The business, called Iowa's First, has taken a proactive approach to circumventing the losses in livestock production due to economic changes by moving into fish farming. Farmers Mark and Jeff Nelson are producing hybrid striped bass in their unused hog facilities. The former hog barns now hold 18 large…

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  • John Vogel

    Washington: A Nice Place To Visit, But . . .

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 19, 2013

    At peak cherry blossom time in Washington, D.C., I risked life, limb and vehicle damage to venture into our nation's capital city. Making it unscathed to the National Mall, I breathed a long sigh of relief. I looked forward to revisiting the wonderfully familiar monuments and records of our great heritage. The cherry and tulip trees were in full bloom, posing for multitudes of camera-toters. After wheeling into one of the few-remaining public parking lots deep beneath the Holiday…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Last-Minute Ideas Before the Spring Rush

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 17, 2013

    In the old days we editors talked about sharing a few items that came from the "old mail bag." Well these days, we're opening our electronic in-box to find farm information that may be of interest. Our friends at CHS, the cooperative, sent out a press release this week that included comments from Andrew Hamilton, their director of marketing for lubricants. Hamilton, who also blogs at the company's website - www.tanksofthanks.com - says the long winter may mean…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Wheat Dreams Are Sweet

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 17, 2013

    There’s plenty of reason to be optimistic that we can produce more wheat to feed the world’s growing population, says Randy Englund, executive director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission and South Dakota Wheat, Inc. Average yields in South Dakota increased from 6.5 bushels per acre in 1900 to nearly 40 bushels per acre in 2012. If South Dakota’s average wheat yield were to increase as much in the next 112 years, yields in 2124 would be 246 bushels per acre…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Words to Live By (or at least manage by)

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 17, 2013

    I pulled out an old notebook yesterday afternoon and flipped through to find a clean page. On my way there, I came across notes from a variety of semi-recent meetings and events. Among them: my most favorite quote, courtesy of estate planning attorney and Prairie Farmer columnist Curt Ferguson. He spoke last fall, addressing the Cultivating Master Farmers group and talking about communication and estate plans. He told them, "If you're not willing to talk to your kids…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Farmers Get Season Underway, But Rain Halts Progress

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 16, 2013

    Drier conditions across the state allowed for farmers in my area to not only work up the ground, but also fill the seed boxes. I live roughly 5 miles from the Missouri River in the southwestern edge of Warren County. So, it took just a quick drive down the road before I was met with dust flying. Farmers in this area were in the fields by April 5. Most were completing some much needed spring tillage. Still, with the sandier soils closer to the river, I spotted a few pulling a…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    When Stress And Worry Cloud Our Outlook

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 16, 2013

    We all get pressed by the regular flow of life and often become prisoners of our own clouded perspective. For example, I missed almost a week of work of late due to a combination of every disease known to man, then when I returned to my desk, I was stressed out thinking how difficult it was going to be to catch up with that never-relenting deadline. As I fretted and wrung my hands before my shrine, my computer, I happened to glance over at my digital photo frame and see an old shot…

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  • Curt Arens

    I'm Dreaming of a White Arbor Day

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 16, 2013

    I’m sure someone will blame our most recent Spring snowstorm on climate change. Last year’s drought was blamed on climate change too. For most Nebraskans, it is business as usual. Crazy weather is quite normal. Tramping through the eight-plus inches of snow we received last week to feed calves, I thought back at how many of these April storms I’ve seen in my lifetime. There have been more than a few. When I was dating my wife, she was living about 75 miles away in…

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  • Don McCabe

    Give EPA Same Scrutiny As Defense Department

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on April 15, 2013

    Since Chuck Hagel, former U.S. senator from Nebraska, was approved as the nation's defense secretary, he, along with the backing of the Obama Administration, has been trimming the defense budget and proposing realigning priorities and strategies for a future, supposedly leaner military. Perhaps some changes are needed, but it makes one wonder about the national security of our nation at a time of rising tensions in the Middle East, the unstable situation in North Korea and the…

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  • Josh Flint

    Removing the Human Element From Business Transactions

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 15, 2013

    Computers: love em, hate em … eh? Regardless of how you feel, they’re part of everyday life…for the most part. By in large, when folks are conducting a business transaction in person, they still prefer a human cashier. Case in point, the automated cashier lines at grocery stores, lumber yards and the post office are typically ignored by the masses. It’s quite the oddity in a nation where one of the largest retailers (Amazon) doesn’t even have a…

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  • Tom Bechman

    How To Tell When You're Getting Old

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 15, 2013

    As noted in previous columns, I turned 60 years old last week. I usually enjoy when birthdays roll around, but this one made me think. And while I was, in reality, only one day older, I felt years older. It's all is a matter of perspective. Does getting older just mean more aches and pains, or does it mean you can demonstrate the wisdom you've learned from hard lessons along the way? After all, a good friend of mine, who reached 60 before I did, told me last week that when…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Rain Makes Mud, And That Is Good

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 12, 2013

    The drought has been steadily lifting, and even in the northern and western Corn Belt, farmers are finally getting what they've needed -- some rain. It's at least a start at recharging subsoil moisture supplies in the driest areas. The rains are nine months too late for last year's crop, but with 2013 planting just around the corner, rain that fell on Iowa and western Corn Belt states this week was indeed welcome. Of course, one good rain doesn't break a drought and while…

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  • Fran O

    You and Your Family Should Take Tornado Warnings Seriously

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on April 12, 2013

      The week of April 15-19 is Tornado Awareness Week in Wisconsin and with any luck, the crazy weather we have been experiencing lately in Wisconsin will help increase residents' awareness and preparedness for tornadoes and even more dangerous weather. A freak ice storm hit east central Wisconsin overnight on April 10 knocking down countless trees and power lines, damaging homes and farm buildings and cutting electricity to thousands of homes, farms and businesses…

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  • Tyler Harris

    The Main Street of America and the West

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 12, 2013

    Last Saturday I had the opportunity to visit with some victims of cattle theft in southwest Missouri, specifically near Joplin, which will be in the Missouri Ruralist in the future. The drive from Joplin to where I live in north Kansas City is over two and a half hours, so I thought I would do some sight-seeing on the trip home. Having heard of the history of the town of Baxter Springs, Kansas, just 20 minutes from Joplin, I decided to check it out. With their proximity to Oklahoma, the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    When It Comes to History, April is Unmatched

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 12, 2013

    As “this month in history” goes, April is an amazing month. I am always a little in awe at how many major events in American history have taken place in the month of April. Other months have their memorable dates: January is the month of inaugurations, February is famous for president’s birthdays, the lunch counter sit-in that launched the Civil Rights movement, the launch of the first U.S. astronaut and the explosion of the space shuttle, Columbia. In March the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Talking Ag With The Enemy

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 12, 2013

    Do you get tongue-tied when confronted by somebody who doesn’t like the way you farm? I do. When one of my sisters-in-law, who lives in California, announced over lunch that pasteurized milk was bad; that she didn’t want her girls getting all the extra hormones that were in milk produced in big factory farms; and that genetically modified foods were an abomination against nature about all I could manage was a weak, “Well, I don’t think so.” I…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Fly Out Of Michigan And Take A Taste Of It With You

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on April 11, 2013

    Few would argue Michigan's Pure Michigan campaign has been nothing but a tremendous boon for the state. With Tim Allen's soothing commentaries and those scenes of tranquility followed by coffee shops and kids frolicking on Michigan's beaches, who wouldn't want to visit our Great Lakes state? The Michigan legislature has spent millions of dollars on billboards, pamphlets, and radio and television advertising. And, if you've been to Chicago lately, I'm sure…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Will The Dairy Industry Wipe Out Johne's?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 11, 2013

    USDA recently announced a new way of detecting Johne's disease in cattle. Johne's (pronounced YO-knees), also known as Paratuberculosis, is estimated to cost the U.S. dairy industry more than $220 million each year. It also affects sheep, goats, deer and other animals, causing diarrhea, reduced feed intake, weight loss and sometimes death. Microbiologists at the Agricultural Research Service National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, discovered an antibody that's…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Hard and the Great

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 9, 2013

    Last month, I was asked to speak at the Women in Agriculture conference, held in the Quad Cities, and organized by several Illinois Farm Bureaus. It was a fun and fabulous day. We learned about marketing, legislation and accounting software, just to name a few topics. And then I got to wrap up the day with a few thoughts on agriculture and farm life. As part of the presentation, my fabulous friend and local Fulton County Farm Bureau manager, Elaine Stone, asked me to create a handout for…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Falling Arches Remind Of Permanence Of Change

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 9, 2013

    As we age, we see more of the icons of our younger years fade away, usually with melancholy, often with shock. They're tearing down all the McDonald's arches and replacing the fast food joints with boxy, less nostalgic architecture. As a child laborer at one of the first of these iconic landmarks back in the '50s, I could never imagine a world without the Golden Arches. But they've gone the way of Montgomery Wards, big fin Chevys, Greyhound busses for the most part…

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  • Curt Arens

    Young Rural Nebraska Residents Have Vested Interest in Unicameral

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 9, 2013

    I had the honor of accompanying my wife’s 8th grade class at St. Rose School to Lincoln on a citizenship field trip. Students were treated to a planetarium show at Morrill Hall, and tours of Memorial Stadium, the Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion, along with a quick, but necessary stop at the East Campus Dairy Store. They thoroughly enjoyed all of these activities. At our school, 8th graders have been traveling to Lincoln for 44 years for this kind of trip. With…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Rancher Finds Her "Winner Within."

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 9, 2013

    I got fired up meeting Holly Hoffman. She ranches with her husband Charlie, near Eureka, S.D., and has become a professional inspirational and motivational speaker. If she is ever speaking at an event near you, take the time to go to listen to her. You won’t be disappointed. In 2010, Hoffman was looking for a new challenge when youngest of her three children entered college. The 44-year-old could have gone back to school herself, gotten a new job in town or even competed in a…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    A Round-Up Of Agriculture News

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on April 8, 2013

    Here is a local roundup of what is going on across the Nation in agriculture. Cool weather this year and lack of moisture last year are good reasons to delay your plans to run the cows out on pasture. Don't keep leaning on Cry3Bb1 hybrids only in continuous corn situations. You're just asking for trait failure. CME Group announces plans to add biodiesel, ethanol RIN trading in May, Bloomberg reports. During luncheon today with the North American Agricultural…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Drought, What Drought?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 8, 2013

    Well, there's nothing like an historic drought to put the ol' kibosh on equipment sales. I'm thinking that our partners selling big iron are hunkering down and rethinking their marketing plans. Oh, wait, I just got the February numbers from our friends at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and it looks like farm wallets are still wide open! A quick glimpse of their Ag Flash report - which gives an overview of tractor and combine sales - shows some pretty good news…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Age is Just a State of Mind

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 8, 2013

    If you're reading this before April 9, I'm almost 60. If you're reading it after April 9, I'm already 60. I'll probably feel more or less the same, no matter when you read this. But there's something about going over that hump that makes one pause and reflect. Last week I interviewed three people whose parents I interviewed 20 or more years ago. That starts to put things in perspective. People I'm talking to now were teenagers or young kids when I started this…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Terminating Cover Crops, It's Just A Matter Of Time

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 5, 2013

    Many Iowa farmers planted cover crops in the fall of 2012 as a way to create more livestock feeding and forage options for this past winter. However, this spring they will need to terminate those cover crops by May 10 in order to remain eligible for crop insurance. That caution or reminder comes from the Iowa Cattlemen's Association. Some cattle producers also say they'd like to see that deadline extended to allow them to graze or hay the cover crop a little longer in the…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Stock Trailer Missing

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on April 5, 2013

    Last week, my family and I loaded up the 4-door sedan and headed south. It was a multi-purpose trip, a time to relax and take in a college visit. There was a lot of excitement for the 18-hour drive that was to lead us from the snowy hills of Missouri to the sandy beaches of Florida. Then there was also a hint of sadness. We barely pulled out of the farm driveway when my eldest daughter announced, "This is the first time in 12 years that we have been on vacation without the stock…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Bees: Agriculture's 'Canary In The Coal Mine?'

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 5, 2013

    Science and innovation has advanced agriculture immensely for more than a century. If it hadn't, more people would still be raising and storing their own food. Yet, with the adoption of new methods and products comes responsibility. No matter our product price or political persuasion. Farmers today are living on the cusp of some serious agronomic and environmental issues: weed-resistant herbicides, nutrient runoff, water quality. You could add climate change if you wish. And…

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  • Don McCabe

    FFA: Developing Our Future Leaders In Agriculture

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on April 5, 2013

    As I wrote this entry, Lincoln streets were teeming with "Blue Coats." The state FFA Convention was in full gear and 3,700-plus FFAers from across Nebraska were taking part in the activities and festivities. FFA is one of the best, if not the best, youth organization in America. It produces young men and women with confidence in their own abilities and the drive to do well in college and in the careers that follow. I had the privilege of helping judge several ag proficiency…

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  • Tyler Harris

    A "Retro-Futuristic" View of Farming

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 5, 2013

    Looking through back issues of Kansas Farmer in the past week, I read through one of the most important eras in agricultural history – the "Green Revolution," as it was named in 1968. The revolution was spearheaded by Norman Borlaug in the early 1940s, followed by major innovations in the 50s and 60s. These innovations include the widespread adoption of tractors – which outnumbered horses by 1954, and the use of high yield varieties, pesticides, fertilizers and…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Sunflower: The Extra Crop Option

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 4, 2013

    Dakota farmers have a nice cropping option that most other producers don’t -- sunflower. New crop sunflower prices are competitive with corn and soybeans this year. Native to the Great Plains, sunflower does better than most other crops when it is dry. Best of all, you can grow sunflower under contract and most contracts include Act of God clauses. “Act of God clauses basically mean the producer doesn't have a production risk,” says John Sandbakken, executive…

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  • Josh Flint

    Just 10 Years Ago, You Could Get Your Email on a Cell Phone

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 3, 2013

    This spring, chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time in the tractor. I’d wager I’m with most young farmers when I ask, “What in the world did you do before tablets and smartphones?” In all seriousness, this slideshow from Wired has boggled my mind. The article looks at “The 12 Cell Phones That Changed Our World Forever.” The first BlackBerry doesn’t show up until 2003. At this point, savvy Wall Street types were able to be linked…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Organic Health Halo: It's Real, People

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 2, 2013

    A new study from Cornell University floated through my social media field yesterday. Basically, a group of researchers from Cornell's Food and Brand Lab wanted to know if the "health halo" effect of organic food could lead to real bias. Previous studies have shown that the organic label can lead consumers to think a product is healthier, but this group wanted to know if it went further than that. Turns out, it does. In short, they offered up a pair of cookies…

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  • Tim White

    USDA: Run For The Border

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on April 2, 2013

    Before last August, you could not ship state-inspected meat across the state border. You could ship federally inspected meat, but not meat that was inspected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and certified with inspections that were “equal to” federal inspection. You could and can ship fruits and vegetables over the border. You can truck state-approved dairy or grain or honey or maple syrup or about any commodity. However, until an Act of Congress was fully enacted Aug. 8 of…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Colors Of April Bloom With Spirit Of Summer, Drought

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 2, 2013

    Daffodils and tulips are creating a rainbow glow of spring and I sense that summer is yearning to bud out. I'm ready. Never a short days and dark season fan, I long for the 9:30 p.m. sunsets of the Pacific Northwest when you can go on long one-day drives to the ocean or mountains and return still in the light. There's a farmer in my soul that likes the season of the sun. Actually, I haven't met many winter folks who like to be cloistered in their warm homes while the wind…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Taking a Few Days of Vacation, Visiting Washington, D.C.

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 2, 2013

    I’m about to do something I don’t do very often: take vacation days. As most of you know, I really, really love my job. I love it so much, in fact, that I find myself forgetting it is actually a job and not something I do just because I want to do it. I guess that is why I often forget that I am entitled to take vacation from it now and again. This week and next I am taking a few days either side of the annual North American Agricultural Journalists spring meeting (which…

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  • John Vogel

    Six Next Big Farm Tech Things

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 2, 2013

     Last week's blog highlighted some of the coming farm changes that I shared recently with a farmers club. This is the exciting sequel, and the reason I'd love to be farming over the next 10 years. Soon, 300-bushel corn numbers are likely to pop up on your combine yield monitors. And, you're going to discover new ways to make those numbers pop up more and more frequently. Here are five farm technologies that'll make that once mythical high-yield mark a whole lot…

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  • Tim White

    Ohio Farmer Makes Huge Announcement

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on April 1, 2013

    NOTE: The date this blog was posted - April 1 - is in indication of the gravity and seriousness readers should have when viewing what follows. Enjoy! It is with a blend of great sadness and shock and even some remorse and also a general dismay that Farm Progress Co. and Penton Media Inc. announce the retirement of veteran farm writer Tim White. White has been far and away one of, if not the, most admired ag-beat writers in the long and proud history of the company dating to 1845. His…

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  • Don McCabe

    Mother Nature, Drought And Man Making Assault On Nebraska Trees

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on April 1, 2013

    Dennis Adams, as head of the UNL rural forestry program, knows trees. And he knows first-hand how devastating the 2012 drought has been for the state’s tree resources. On his own tree farm near Lincoln, Adams says “the worst drought on record in Nebraska” killed 100% of his newly planted spruce and fir trees and 75% of the newly planted pine. “Root systems on newly planted tree are so shallow that they didn’t find soil moisture. The only salvation is…

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  • Paula Mohr

    'Feedin' A Nation' With Social Media

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on April 1, 2013

    I'm on the Internet fairly regularly, mostly for my job. I am the recipient of a lot of interesting emails. I blog and I post on my own Facebook page. I might twitter occasionally, too. Recently, I received a post on Facebook featured a You Tube video that was a parody on the Beach Boys' song "Good Vibrations" that's entitled "Feedin' A Nation." The words of the song are re-written to highlight dairy farming. It's a Midwest Dairy Video. I…

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  • Curt Arens

    Don't Paralyze Your Farm Management With Too Much Caution

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 1, 2013

    Last summer, my wife and I were forced to sell off most of our cowherd. Granted, our herd wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t very large by most Sandhills ranch standards. However, we had spent much of our married lives working to improve our genetics, disposition standards and health of the cows and their potential offspring. It was a labor of love, and many of those cows were very important to us personally, and financially. Because of my attachment to the herd, and because…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Corn Planter Problems

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 1, 2013

    I read an interesting report about corn planting from Peterson Farms Seeds, Harwood, N.D. Adam Spelhaug, their agronomist who also writes “Dakota Crop Notes” for Dakota Farmer, says he’s noticed that a number of their top corn growers who have relatively new planters with only a few hours on them had a “disappointing number of variable corn stands” last year. He says part of the problem appears to be planting speed. “Our research has shown a…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Have We Seen The Last Snow of the Season?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 1, 2013

    Farmers who planted corn on March 26 last year looked out their office windows this year and saw three to 10 inches of snow on the ground in many parts of Indiana. That didn't stop them from working on their corn planter in the shop that day, because they know it wouldn't be around long. Indeed, by the weekend Frosty has melted away until next year. We hope. "Do you think we've seen our last snow this year?" one caller asked me late last week. I gave the normal…

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