• Tom Bechman

    What if John Purdue Had Lived Near Bloomington?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 4, 2013

    Randall Reeder from Columbus, Ohio, of all places, spoke at a conservation tillage conference at Richmond recently. He is retired as an ag engineer at Ohio State University, but still works on various projects, typically to promote no-till or the use of cover crops. He asked the audience a question that seemed whimsical on the surface, but was very thought-provoking if you actually stopped to consider it. "What if John Deere had been a chemist instead of a blacksmith?" he…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Most Hoosiers Ready For A Rain Dance

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 11, 2012

    How can you not like a place where the high might be 90 in late March and 65 on June 1, or where it might rain three inches over two weeks when you don't need rain in the winter, and not rain for three weeks in the summer when you do need rain? That's Indiana, and maybe that helps explain why Hoosiers are so hearty. The thrown-in- sentences in conversations that we could use a rain are escalating in to "We need rain now!" over much of Indiana. That's particularly true in north-central and…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    When God Made Indiana, He Had A Sense Of Humor

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 7, 2011

    Coaching soil judging at the state soils judging contest last week proved to be a memorable experience. Our high school team placed in the top 10, but fell short of the goal all Indiana teams strive for- being in the top five and earning a trip to the National Contest in Oklahoma in May. Oh well, there's always next year. It certainly wasn't wasted time. Friday, practice day, when soil scientists have 15 or more pits set up to look at throughout the host county, in this case, Morgan County in…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    A Spring Worth Forgetting

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 1, 2011

    A friend once said that the great thing about the 4-H club pig business was that you get to start over each year. In the spring, in late March and early April, they're all winners. Then you take your lumps and start over next year, hoping this will be the year when that one that looks great in April still looks good in July and August in the show ring. Well, I think I've seen enough of this spring already. Hope may spring eternal, but this one is a train going down a fat track to nowhere…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Each Person's Definition of 'Too Wet to Work' is His Own

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 16, 2011

    The farmer on the other end of the line was planting corn. It was just a few days ago. He started talking to me like I had known him for years. This was the first time I had ever talked to him, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. I have fretted over similar situations and made similar observations for years. "Tom, I just don't get it," he said. "I just don't get it." OK, don't get what? "I finally started planting at noon today, my fields are well-tiled, we're on good black dirt…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Epic Tale Played Out in Greene County

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 8, 2010

    Whether you are one that believes restoring wetlands if the farmland is marginal or not, you surely can at least appreciate the magnitude of what was celebrated in Greene County just a few years ago. The Natural Resources Conservation Service held a day-long celebration marking the end of restoration work on the biggest restored wetland in Indiana. It's one of the biggest restored wetland in the Untied States. Locals know it as the Goose Pond, and now people all over the country are learning…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Hats Off to Gary Steinhardt and Company

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 2, 2009

    Picture a sunny morning in mid-to-late October. It’s just brisk enough that you need a jacket, but you can probably shed it by noon. Hundreds of kids are gathered in a soybean stubble field, and they’re going form soil pit to soil pit, trying their luck at identifying soil, seeing what they can learn. Soil scientists are sanding by in case they need to explain how a glacier moved in just s certain way to form a particular type of soil, or how an old lakebed became a heavy but poorly drained…

    Continue Reading