• 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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  • 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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  • Tom Bechman

    No Shortage Of New Products To Buy

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 3, 2011

    If Mother Nature was kind to you this year, which may put you in the minority in Indiana, you may have a few dollars to spend on new machinery or products this year. Even if Mother Nature frowned heavily on your farm, if you had crop insurance, irrigation or just got lucky, it may still be a decent year on income. At least that's what Chris Hurt at Purdue University is reporting. If so, there are plenty of companies out there looking for a share of your farm budget. Many have introduced new…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Here's to All Those Who Farm Little Patches

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 13, 2011

    The goal here is not to chastise those who farm mile-long fields of level, black, well-tiled ground. If that's what you've achieved, more power to you. Your challenge is producing as much as that field can possibly produce, and maintaining the soil fertility and productivity levels in the field. Instead it's to say here's a toast to all those who struggle planting and harvesting small patches, often irregular shaped fields, many times with nooks and offsets and trees all around the edge…

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  • Tom Bechman

    History is Where You Find It

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 25, 2011

    Be honest. Have you ever heard of an Empire tractor? If you said 'yes,' you're a member of the Empire Tractor Club, an owner of one of these rare oddities, or perhaps someone with too much time on your hands. You can read what little is known about the history of this strange machine by Googling Empire Tractor Club. But if you want to see one in person, you may have to do some inquiring. It's not a tractor you run into at your typical antique tractor show. That's why I was particularly…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why you Should Follow Directions To a 'T'

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 17, 2010

    One evening recently I helped a friend by planting soybeans with an eight-row, split-row Kinze planter. When I finished the machine I was in, I was to move to his farthest and last farm to plant, some 10 miles away. I knew the area, more or less. It's 'more or less' that can get you into trouble. "Go back here, turn left, go past a road, turn right a the next road, cross the highway, go down the next highway to a T-road, trun left on it, wind around for five miles and you'll be a the next…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Beware of Fred Whitford's Ball Bat

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 25, 2009

    Who says fertilizer and pesticide meetings have to be dull. You know, the ones where you get credit toward your pesticide licensing- the ones where speakers typically turn off the lights, show power points, and the audience is supposed to soak it up. Well, if that's your idea of a typical meeting, you haven't been to one of Fred Whitford's pesticide training meetings.   This breath of fresh air drifted into Indiana from Louisiana many years ago, where he claims he worked on the regulatory…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Planter Power Pays Big Time This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 3, 2009

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

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  • Tom Bechman

    Tractor Drive Can Be Therapeutic

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 20, 2009

    "What could be better than this?" asked Dick Kruse, Ladoga, as the Indiana FFA Tractor Drive prepared to kick off last Saturday morning. The third annual event, held on April 18, featured a 40-mile drive throughout Johnson County, home of the Indiana FFA Leadership Center.   The drive is held each year to raise awareness and hopefully also raise funds for the Indiana FFA. It's the brainchild of Tim Newcomb, Noblesville, a former Indiana FFA Foundation Board member, and Brian Buchanan…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Big Planter Captures Imagination

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 17, 2009

    There I was sitting quietly at a 30th wedding anniversary party for a local farm couple, Charlie and Becky Canary.  Naturally, there were several other farmers gathered in the church basement, eating cake and drinking punch. Many of them were about the Canary's age, having worked with them in various capacities - friends, neighbors, as fellow young farmers in various groups.   It was the day after the National Farm Machinery Show concluded in Louisville. Nearly everyone had attended and…

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