• Willie Vogt

    Interesting Farm Stuff to See

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 28, 2012

    From a five-acre Precision Planting plot that'll inform the heck out of you, to a tire demonstration tool that's so unique it has to be powered by a European generator. Yep, I'm talking about the 2012 Farm Progress Show, our annual celebration of all things new in agricultural technology and productivity. Of course, this column is more iron focused, but if you want to get a better handle about how your planting iron is doing on your farm, a trip to that demonstration from Precision Planting…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    How Accurate Is USDA's August Corn Yield Estimate?

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on August 28, 2012

    On August 10, USDA's National Ag Statistics Service released its first official assessment of the 2012 drought on corn yields in Iowa and the United States. This first 2012 corn yield forecast is based on actual in the field measurements by trained enumerators. Before this August Crop Report was released, the previous estimates issued by USDA each month were projections based on computer models and data gathered from USDA's weekly weather and crop condition surveys. The current Iowa corn yield…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought Pauses With Rain; What Grows Is Disturbing

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 28, 2012

    One thing I noticed this week is that when it rains, vegetation grows. That was a lesson almost forgotten in the blistering hot, incredibly rain-devoid months of drought June, July and most of August. The lawn didn’t grow, the garden flowers barely stayed alive and all the annoying unwanted growth pretty much stood still. Then it rained. Really rained, like 3 inches, rained; enough to put drought on hold for days, maybe even weeks. That was all the unidentified woody shrub that…

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  • Josh Flint

    Why I Love the Farm Progress Show

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 28, 2012

    I love the Farm Progress Show. Within three days, I get to see more new products and ideas than I do the rest of the year. Just try walking the show grounds without getting excited about this industry. Your chest just puffs up with pride. When you're part of an industry that feeds the world every day, it’s contagious. I love it even more when I see new ideas implemented on a successful farm. This evening, I witnessed just such a scenario at beef producer (and Wallaces Farmer Master…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Oregon Dump Threatening Ag a Lesson to Farmers

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on August 27, 2012

    In visiting with Oregon farmers near McMinnville in late August about how a 30-year-old dump site that has grown to a mountain is threatening to leak toxics into neighboring wells and contaminate land, I had pause to wonder who was really to blame. Sure, land was sold by farmers themselves long ago. But while the land deal did not come with any awareness of how big the dump would grow, it still seems that the growers who did the deal should have realized the potential of future problems. This…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Sweden in Photos: the Farms

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 27, 2012

    August 2012 has been one of those months that we've braced ourselves for, for a long time. I had my two trips, first to Albuquerque for the Ag Media Summit, then home two days and off to Sweden. Then I returned home from Sweden a week ago, and John left 24 hours later for tiling school at Iowa State. Basically, we high-fived at the door. While he was gone, we showed and sold Jenna's steer – with fantastic help from my brother-in-law and mother-in-law. Oh, and in the middle of all this was…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Restored Farm Machinery Reminds Us How We Got Here

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 27, 2012

    Anyone younger than 40 who spends the day driving a combine with auto-steering and a yield monitor with yield map this fall ought to plan a trip to the Indiana State Fair Pioneer Village next summer. If he's in the combine cab, he's probably also checking markets on his phone. He may even have an 'App' that alerts him to market prices at various times during the day. One farmer in his 50's recently admitted he was getting 'soft' physically, not mentally. He just didn't do the hard work his…

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  • Tim White

    New Dean Wants OSU To Be No. 1

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on August 27, 2012

    I recently had a chance to interview Bruce McPheron the new vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. McPheron comes to Ohio from Penn State where he was the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. He replaces Bobby Moser who announced his retirement last fall and agreed to stay on the job until a replacement was found. Moser served as vice president for agriculture since…

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  • Curt Arens

    Why Are Farmers So Misunderstood?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 26, 2012

    I was talking the other day with some well-meaning, but misguided urban folks about the impact of drought on farmers, farm families and rural communities. I was trying to explain how most of the corn we raise in Nebraska goes to livestock feed and ethanol. I was trying to explain the difference between field corn, popcorn and sweet corn. I thought I was making some headway in the discussion, when these lifelong city residents asked me if we had computers on the farm. It was then that I…

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  • John Vogel

    Thank Ag Technology And Farms Using It

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 24, 2012

    In September’s American Agriculturist, my column was titled “On cusp of feed, food panic?” I pointed out some concerns related to the current drought. And those concerns are still valid. But here, I’m going to yield to the excellent thought of another seasoned writer and former Canadian diplomat. Maurice Hladik, author of Demystifying Food from Farm to Fork, has a superb perspective on the benefits of today’s technologies. Hladik says: “If farmers in…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Ag Isn’t Sexy Anymore

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 24, 2012

    Agriculture in the Dakotas isn’t sexy anymore. Drilling for oil, not farming and ranching, is get getting all the attention. Agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in South Dakota, but it’s probably No. 2 in North Dakota. Ag and oil were about the same in 2010 -- $7.4 billion for ag versus $7.3 billion for oil, according to a North Dakota State University economic base analysis. Agricultural sales probably grew in 2011, given high grain prices and good yields that year. But oil…

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  • Josh Flint

    Test Driving AGCO Sprayers Was Simple, But Humbling

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 23, 2012

    Want to showcase how easy it is to drive your company’s newest tractor, combine or sprayer? Invite a bunch of ag editors over and host a ride and drive. AGCO did just that this week at the Midwest Ag Industries Exposition in Bloomington. After making a few laps in a RoGator and TerraGator, I can honestly say they were easy to drive. Notice, I did not say “operate.” When I started taking pictures of the cab, I somehow morphed into a 10-year-old version of myself. Every…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Shrunken Crops Stir Long-term Concern

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on August 23, 2012

    The Iowa State Fair marks the time each August when you start to see a clearer picture of the size of the upcoming corn harvest, and can count pods on soybean plants. Farmers I visited with at the fair this past week were talking about the longer-term impact of smaller crops, tighter supplies and higher prices. The drought that's clobbered Iowa and the Corn Belt this summer ranks among the most severe in 140 years of weather records. USDA's first official yield forecast is released in the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Sweden in Photos, Part One

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 21, 2012

    It's difficult: A) for a person to fully share the beauty and magnitude of a country through mere photographs, and, B) for a photographer to not carry a camera pretty much everywhere and attempt to document pretty much everything, despite the aforementioned knowledge. Which is all to say that I am fully aware these photos won't begin to capture the real Sweden. It is, however, a slice of time through my eyes, and with my experience. And you'll notice few farm or agricultural photos &ndash…

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  • Curt Arens

    4-H Rabbits and Calves and Bugs, Oh My!

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 21, 2012

    It’s been more than a week since the Knox County Fair concluded in Bloomfield and our 4-H critters and displays made their way back home. All summer long, local farmers hoped the fair would bring a drought-breaking storm, as it has done for many years. A few sprinkles fell on Wednesday and Sunday of the fair and temperatures took a break from the century mark that had plagued county fairs across the state all summer long. In fact, on Sunday afternoon, with temperatures in the upper 60s…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Explaining Your Job

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 20, 2012

    I've been attending a few family and friend events lately where I run into people I've never met and inevitably we get on to the question of "what do you do?" At that moment, I have to try to explain my job after I say "agricultural journalist." Like every one of my farmer-readers I immediately have to start explaining my work so they get past some built-in stereotype of a "journalist" scurrying around to get the news. Of course, I have a pretty good job getting to meet readers, visit field…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Hoosiers Will Plant A Crop Again Next Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 20, 2012

    I get the impression there are many people who would like to wave their magic wand over this year's crops and have them disappear. Not everyone, mind you. Some people who caught just the right rains at just the right time will have excellent yields- but they're the exception this time, not the rule. The crop won't disappear, but the day after the combine runs through it, or the day after you mow or disk it down if it's truly worthless, that's the same day you start looking toward next year. If…

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  • Holly Spangler

    10 Things I've Learned About Sweden

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 16, 2012

    So here's the thing: Sweden is pretty much amazing. We're on Day 4 of the trip and I'm sold. The people are wonderful, the weather is perfect, the natural resources impeccable. We've spent days traveling, touring and spending time with our new international colleagues in the Young Leaders Boot Camp and Master Class in the city of Stockholm. Yesterday, we traveled to a hotel in the countryside for the Congress portion of the trip. I have been, in a word, amazed at every turn. Now, a few…

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  • Curt Arens

    Lessons Learned From the Summer of Drought and Fire

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 16, 2012

    Producers around the state have learned a lot in this year of drought and wildfires. Most young farmers and many not-so-young farmers have never seen conditions as dry as they have been in their lifetimes. Many haven’t seen a single really dry year in at least two decades or more. This season has been a time of trial and error, when we've had to be creative and innovative. So, we’ve dusted off some of the old axioms of farming and ranching, and we’ve been taking…

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  • Josh Flint

    Walmart Commercial Misses the Mark, Barely

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 15, 2012

    Have you seen the Walmart “steak over” commercial? If not, check out the video below. I first saw this during NBC’s primetime Olympic coverage. Clearly Walmart spent a pretty penny to put this in front of viewers. I love it; and I hate it. Let’s discuss the love part first. I love how the mega-retailer is associating quality beef with value. I’ve long been a fan of delicious red meat at a bargain price. If you’re into grass-fed, hand-massaged…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Starting Out Right

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on August 14, 2012

    Launching this blog is an exciting time for me, providing a medium to share my personal thoughts with readers as I travel Western Farmer-Stockman’s eight-state territory. There are 800,000 square miles in the area I cover, which includes the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. Nevada is also a WFS state. It is impossible for me to adequately provide the coverage needed by myself, so I have…

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  • Tim White

    Expo Is Fair Game For Politicians

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on August 14, 2012

    The Ohio State Fair is a celebration of agriculture. For a politician it is also a time to associate yourself with the state’s largest industry. Gov. John Kasich found time to declare a drought situation on day one of the fair. In response to severe heat and rainfall shortages across large areas of the state which are afflicting much of Ohio’s agriculture industry, Gov. John Kasich chose the first day of the fair to sign Executive Order 2012-11K instructing state agencies to help…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Our Swedish Melting Pot

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 14, 2012

    Alexis from Canada. Mercedes from Argentina. Nikolai from Australia. Calvin from Zambia. Ciara from Ireland. Lindi from South Africa. Jeri from Slovenia. This is a slice. Just a slice. As I sit here in Stockholm at the end of Day 1, I am in awe – truly awestruck – at how different we all are. And yet the same. Today, we began the day by introducing ourselves. We are two groups of people at the International Ag Journalists Federation, or IFAJ, Congress. I belong with the Young…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    New Tech Push For Wheat

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 13, 2012

    I’ve been to a couple wheat field days lately – Bayer Crop Science’s and Sygneta AgriPro’s for example. I missed Limagrain’s field day because I was out of town, but I heard about varieties that Limagrain, a new player in the North American, market has coming. It’s gratifying to see all the new effort that private and public breeders are putting into wheat. They’ve all are developing varieties coming that will make wheat more competitive with…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Healthy Today, Not Healthy Tomorrow: Who Knows What's Right?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 13, 2012

    Some 25,000 acres of high-oleic soybeans were grown in Indiana this year. The same soybeans were also grown in Ohio and Michigan. The Indiana soybeans will be processed after harvest at the ADM facility in Frankfort. The oil from all these soybeans will wind up in Plenish, a new soybean cooking oil, says Bob Kennedy, Senior Contract Manager for DuPont Pioneer. He expects the Indiana acreage to double next year, and will soon be ready to sign contracts with growers that state the premium they…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farm Girl Goes to Sweden

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 10, 2012

    Once upon a time, a group of young ag journalists stood on the balcony of a hotel in South Padre Island. We were there for the Farm Progress Companies annual meeting. And yes, those were flusher times in ag publishing, and was the first and last time I traveled on such a glamorous trip. Now, our meetings are decidedly more low-key and Midwestern.   At any rate, as I recall, about four of us stood there together, drinks in hand, the warm ocean breeze blowing gently, and Shannon Linderoth…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Waxing Nostalgic About a Tractor

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 10, 2012

    Attending a product rollout is just part of a farm editor's job and while my duties have expanded over the years, I still make it a habit to attend media events I can to keep in touch with what's going on. Case IH held an even this week that included the rollout of the new Rowtrac Steiger tractor (you'll see more of that online soon). But part of the event is a celebration of a corporate milestone. It was 25 years ago that a newly created company rolled out its first "merged" tractor - the…

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  • Curt Arens

    "Rotation" Might Be the Farm Buzzword of This Decade

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 9, 2012

    I’ve been attending workshops lately dealing with resistance issues. At the weed herbicide resistance field day in David City, I heard experts and researchers say that we need to rotate our way out of resistance issues. Rotate chemistries of our herbicides, rotate crops, rotate herbicide tolerance and insect traits. My head even started to rotate after a while. We’ve heard this before. We’ve been told for years that rotation was a good idea. Crop rotation is a longstanding…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Who's the Best Farmer You Know?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 8, 2012

    Bar none, in 14 years of doing this job, my favorite thing is working with the Master Farmers. They are the best in agriculture, and I count getting to know them as one of the greater privileges in my life. They are a thoughtful group of men and women, determined, passionate, engaged and committed. They might add lucky, but I don't know if I would. And over the years of interviewing and photographing them and their families, I have picked up information that I not only take home and share with…

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  • John Vogel

    I Think I Can. I Think I Can. I Think I Can Farm

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 8, 2012

    Success in any business requires the ability to forward think – perceive what you want to accomplish, then develop the game plan for getting there. Agriculture and your farm are no different in that sense. Where farming differs is that your family is an integral part of it. That can be very good – or not. But it places a lot more pressure on farm families to succeed. It’s 5:15 a.m., as I begin to write this. I woke up thinking a somewhat stupid thought: I think I can . . . I…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    In Drought, Limited Irrigation Is Sensible Choice

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on August 8, 2012

    Today came yet another announcement in a series of emergency measures to try to help farmers hit hard by this year’s drought. In Kansas, the need for practical policy relief goes well beyond the usual state of emergency to changes that will help farmers who are hit by drought far more frequently than those in the major production regions of the cornbelt. Kansas senior Sen. Pat Roberts sent another letter to the Obama administration on Wednesday, asking for approval for the limited…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Old Tractor Provides Quite a Ride

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 6, 2012

    This column should probably be about the impact of the drought, where farmers can get help to survive, what to do with damaged crops or some related issue. You can find that in our daily items on the web, in the August issue or in the September issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer due out later this month. To be honest, I have drought fever, and that's not a good thing. I've heard, read, seen and written about it until I can't stand to write about it anymore, at least for this week. So instead I'm…

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  • Josh Flint

    Who Needs Skill When Dumb Luck Is On Your Side?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 6, 2012

    You know when you think you’re finally getting good at something? Then an expert comes along and shows you just how little you actually know. I was privy to just an experience this weekend at the Ag Media Summit photography workshop. Throughout the daylong experience, there was a lot of learning, shooting and, at the very end, critiquing. Yeah, the end wasn’t as much fun as the rest of the day. Yamaha sponsored the event. They put on a terrific demonstration with their…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Lesson in Showmanship

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 3, 2012

    Sometimes, you show your cattle and you walk away and say, well that was fun. And you move on. And sometimes you complain about the judge or about how he placed the animals or about his reasons. Other times, you walk away nodding your head, and hoping these kids were paying attention to everything he said. Listening to Adam Dryer judge showmanship at our county fair last week was one of those times when we hoped the kids were paying attention. In fact, we told them to pay attention. I even…

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  • Willie Vogt

    A Different Look at Drought

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on August 3, 2012

    The 2012 Drought is so top-of-mind for everyone that a wide range of thoughts and ideas keep surfacing as we work our way through this disaster. Whether you're worried about crop insurance payments or what nitrate levels you have in corn you're going to chop, there's plenty to think about. But as combining begins in the Midwest - heck it's fired - we have something else to think about. Back in the 1988 drought we didn't have yield monitors, grid soil sampling or other data gathering tools…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Is Climate Change Behind The Heat?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on August 2, 2012

    Naturally, everybody’s talking about the weather. It been hot and dry and lots of people wonder why. “Climate change” is the pat answer. However, one of the meteorologists I follow -- John Wheeler, with WDAY-TV in Fargo, N.D., where I live -- says the summer's heat isn’t the direct result of a warming globe. “Actually, the frequency of 100 degree F days in Fargo has been in decline in recent years,” he wrote in a recent column that appears in the Fargo…

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  • Holly Spangler

    She's a Showmanship Winner

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 1, 2012

    There's a certain walk to a kid who's done well and knows it. She's got a jaunty step. She holds her head up. She smiles. Big. She says "thank you" a lot, as people she's never spoken with before stop and offer her congratulations.   This was our Jenna last week. And remember how I was hardly ever so proud as when she sobbed through pain-soaked tears but still wanted to go in for showmanship? Last week topped it. Last week, she showed at our county fair. It was her fourth show of the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Double Whammy: Drought and Fire Hit Ranchers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 1, 2012

    Fire was on everyone’s mind. As I ate my lunch at Big John’s Restaurant in Ainsworth the other day during a trip to Brown and Keya Paha counties to cover the aftermath of the wildfires that recently swept through that area, fire fighting stories were the greatest source of conversation for other diners around me. Signs on business windows, including Big John’s, simply said, “Thank you fire fighters and volunteers.” Driving through what was once the tiny community…

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