• John Vogel

    Now Comes 'Prayer Time' For Your Crops

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 16, 2011

    A couple weeks ago, I was commiserating with a cattleman about the weather. (He couldn't grumble about cattle prices.) He mentioned exactly what I was wondering: "Now that we've had monsoon weather all spring, is it going to turn off dry this summer?" We can certainly remember seasons when Mother Nature abruptly turned off her spigot. But isn't that just because those years hit us harder? Maybe not. Recently, I received a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rainfall history grid…

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  • John Vogel

    Rethinking My 'Golden' Thoughts

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 7, 2011

    Several blogs back, I shared a bit of advice from a Cornell economist on gold as a commodity. While he (and I) gave ourselves a little “wiggle room”, I wouldn’t want anyone to be misled. Gold, silver and a few other precious metals aren't just commodities. They are true residual currencies. And they are seen as counter-balancers of the global trading value of whatever printed currency is the king of printed currencies. The U.S. dollar still is today’s currency king…

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  • John Vogel

    Blame Mother Nature?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 30, 2010

     Last week, I took a rare 10-day vacation trip, wandering close to 3,300 miles up to northern Minnesota to visit family and wet my fishing line. And like any true agriculturist, I eagle-eyed all the goings-on on farms along the trek through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and back. While many southern Mid-Atlantic farmers saw corn crops being burned up by dry heat, many of their Mid-West counterparts agonized over yet another deluge of rainfall. While…

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  • John Vogel

    Older and, Hopefully, Wiser

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on October 22, 2009

    I'm always glad when readers respond critically to anything they find in American Agriculturist. As I recently told a younger critical thinker, “You keep me sharper and hold this magazine accountable. And that can only make it better. I consider it a privilege to write for you and to challenge your thinking – so you can challenge mine!”    He took aim at October’s Food for Thought column: “Avoid clunky thinking, short foresight”. He doubted that many “Cash for Clunkers” participants bought…

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  • John Vogel

    Buy Ahead! Now's the Time!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on January 9, 2009

    This week, I asked several farmers if they’ve been forward-pricing or contracting gasoline, diesel fuel and nitrogen fertilizer yet this year. And their answers generally were “No.”   One told me that gasoline prices are up because Uncle Sam is busy refilling his strategic petroleum reserve. And he’s right. According to the Jan. 9 Department of Energy report, Uncle Sam’s 727 million-barrel “tank” had been refilled to 701.9 million barrels of oil. Buying was projected to slow a bit – to…

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  • John Vogel

    Exercise Your Financial Health

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 2, 2008

    Boy, I’m thankful that Thanksgiving is over! After the media barrage about how we can undo the damage done to our waist lines, I can now get back to focusing on my financial “waste lines” – fixing my spending habits, past and present.   Judging from what I’m hearing from ag financial advisors, credit is tightening down even for farms. And our financial health is going to become just as important as our physical health. Both will cost us dearly if we aren’t vigilant.   I used to think that…

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  • John Vogel

    Stop Feeding the 'Monster'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 26, 2008

    ‘Monsters’ are perceptional images arising from talk or action that take on larger than life attributes. We try, for example, to teach our kids that “greed” can grow into an ugly green monster that can panic us if we don’t control it. In that sense, the monster can bite. If you own stocks, mutual funds and other investment vehicles, you’ve been bitten.   Take the recent news headline: “Bear market is like nothing America has ever experienced”. There’s nothing like a good bad headline to…

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  • John Vogel

    Good News You Can Use

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on October 21, 2008

    This fall has been an especially glorious time! Yes, the leaves have been spectacular. Yes, the leaf-peppers have been out in force – and spending more hard-earned money at farm markets and agritourism businesses. And, yes, the weather has been great for fall tasks. And fuel prices have been falling faster than temperatures. But that’s not what I want to bloviate about.   Any day now, you should be receiving American Agriculturist’s November issue. And inside, we featured the crop nutrient…

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  • John Vogel

    Hat's Off to the Thinking Farmer

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 14, 2008

    One can always benefit by spending time thinking – until it gets in the way of getting more important stuff done. Most of us don't have that problem though. And once you acquire the habit, it sticks with you to eternity.   Yesterday, an 84-year-old retired farmer walked in the office just to say hello. He'd given up dairying a few years back and turned over the farm to his next generation.   The congenial Mr. Zimmerman's passion for farming and living hadn't dimmed with age – a blessing…

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  • John Vogel

    Hat's Off to the Thinking Farmer

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 14, 2008

    One can always benefit by spending time thinking – until it gets in the way of getting more important stuff done. Most of us don't have that problem though. And once you acquire the habit, it sticks with you to eternity.   Yesterday, an 84-year-old retired farmer walked in the office just to say hello. He'd given up dairying a few years back and turned over the farm to his next generation.   The congenial Mr. Zimmerman's passion for farming and living hadn't dimmed with age – a blessing in…

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