• Josh Flint

    I Fell For Two April Fool's Jokes This Year

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 4, 2014

    This fool fell for not one, but two, April Fool’s jokes this year. I’m not proud of it, but in both cases my inner optimist was on full display. As I browsed my Facebook feed, I came across one post that said “Obamacare has been repealed!” I immediately took to the web to confirm this exciting announcement. When I came up empty, I checked the post date. Yep, April 1. (I was reading this on April 2.) I’d been got. You would think I’d be on guard for more of…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Our Worst Blizzards

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 19, 2013

    Atlas -- the blizzard that killed tens of thousands of cattle, sheep and horses in western South Dakota -- should go down in history as one of the top 10 worst snowstorms ion the U.S. Here are some of the other monsters: The Children's Blizzard -- Jan. 12, 1888. Temperatures dropped from a relatively balmy few degrees above freezing to a wind chill of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in Dakota Territory and Nebraska. Because of the warm day, thousands were…

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  • Josh Flint

    Has the Sun Set on High Corn Prices?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 4, 2013

    This week, I interviewed several market analysts on corn price projections. Not one of them was optimistic about the potential for a rally. Pondering these price downturns, experts agree on several things. First off, this was expected. Once the 2012 drought had firmly established itself, market analysts started warning about the short crop, long tail scenario. Next, the ethanol industry is mature. In past years, ethanol producers had not yet hit the blend wall, i.e. the amount needed…

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  • Josh Flint

    Spread the Cautious Optimism

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 29, 2013

    April is upon us. It's almost time to leave the artificially-lit conference halls for the sweet smell of freshly-tilled black soil. Before folks get out there, let's reflect on the winter conference season. Perhaps the most notable theme is caution. In March alone, I heard multiple economists warn that ag could be headed for a downturn in 2013. During the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers famland value conference, DuPont economist Steve…

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  • Josh Flint

    Why Laws Against Undercover Animal Videos Are Worthless

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 20, 2013

    More and more states are enacting laws that prohibit employees from taking undercover videos of livestock operations. Sounds like a win for ag, right? Well, sort of, says Joe Miller, general counsel for Rose Acre Farms, the second largest producer of eggs in the U.S. Unfortunately, the laws only allow aggrieved farms to push back against the actual employee who took the video. So getting to the animal rights group who uses the video for their benefit is extremely difficult. (Miller spoke…

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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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  • Curt Arens

    Is Drought Coming in on a Cloud of Dust?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 10, 2012

    I’ve been holding back. I’ve been patiently waiting, not wanting to write about the unusually warm and dry weather the state has experienced in recent months. I understand weather patterns around here. There is no pattern. Our normal weather is the average of two extremes. It is either too wet or too dry. We’ve seen both in the same summer. But this spring even has veteran farmers and ranchers scratching their heads, trying to recall a similar year with similar conditions…

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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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  • Lon Tonneson

    An End To The Gold Rush In Grain?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on December 12, 2011

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

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  • Holly Spangler

    Perspective: Weather

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 28, 2011

    I just returned this week from a trip to New Orleans for our annual Ag Media Summit, which may well be the world's largest gathering of agricultural and livestock journalists and communicators. In short, it's a darn good time, mostly because of the opportunity to catch up with far-flung friends and colleagues. When I left last Saturday, we'd had 10 straight days with temperatures over 95 degrees, and no more than a couple tenths since the last weekend in June. Our corn had done most of its…

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