• Holly Spangler

    Picture yourself in Cultivating Master Farmers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 23, 2015

    Some 10 years ago or so, Peggy Kay Fish had the idea to pair up young farmers and Master Farmers for a mentor experience. Peggy was a force at Farm Credit at the time and she came to us at Prairie Farmer with the idea. We loved it. Conversations ensued, the idea evolved and the Cultivating Master Farmers Program was created: a two-year class with 10 Master Farmer couples, 10 (or so) young farmers and couples, and a program that involves 6-8 speakers and roundtable discussions over the course…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Christmas Gifts for Farm Employees

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 17, 2014

    There is nothing quite so valuable on the farm as a solid farm employee. Amen? So with the clock winding down and with gifts for farmers secured and gifts for landowners figured out, here are a few ideas for showing your appreciation for a year's work well done. These ideas, gathered from farmers and ranchers across the country, will hopefully give you some inspiration. And a note: I love the practical nature here. You can find all sorts of random ideas online – like an actual…

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  • Holly Spangler

    20 Minutes of Hail

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 23, 2014

    I deemed Saturday as the morning in which I would catch up on laundry. It was a beautiful day, clothes on the line, sun shining, gentle breeze. I was folding clothes after lunch, and I sent the kids out to grab jeans off the line. They no sooner walked in the door before rain started falling, out of nowhere. We joked about how bizarre that was. Then it got completely dark, the wind picked up and it got real serious. Marble-size hail started falling, straight out of the north and blowing across…

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  • Holly Spangler

    'People Don't Come To Me Because Everyone Is Happy'

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 25, 2014

    Ron Hanson said a lot of great things Friday at the Women in Agriculture conference, held in the Quad Cities. In short, his message boils down to this: parents need to make a plan and communicate the plan. A will is not enough. Among my favorite Ron Hanson quotes of the day: On wills and plans: "There is a difference between a will and a succession plan: a will says who gets what. A succession plan guarantees the farm will be there and everyone knows what happens next." On the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Confessions of a Farm Wife: Vol. 6

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 24, 2014

    Confessions of a Farm Wife took a road trip last week! Emily Webel, DeAnna Thomas and I headed north to the Quad Cities for the Women in Agriculture conference, which was headlined by Dr. Ron Hanson of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Hanson is a farm family relationship specialist whose spent his career counseling farm families in crisis, and speaking to farm groups all over the country. He's spoken in Illinois at the Farm Progress Show and at the Illinois Farm Bureau Young…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Three States, Two Panels, One Flu

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 26, 2014

    I had every intention of blogging last week. I had a plethora of information from AFBF to share, and mentioned as much when I last blogged…um, almost two weeks ago. Then, sickness. Which really messes with your plans. Also, snow days. To recap, I made it home from AFBF in Texas with something resembling respiratory flu. I got some drugs (yay, drugs!) and I left again the next weekend to speak at the South Dakota Young Farmers & Ranchers conference (sidenote: they are the nicest…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Lessons from the '80s: Your Most Important Assets

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 14, 2014

    I'm writing this while sitting at the American Farm Bureau Convention. I just attended an economic outlook workshop and I've sat through a panel where a handful of state Farm Bureau presidents are reflecting on the '80s. If there is one common theme here, it is that times are about to change. The message, especially to my generation, is a strong one. More than once I've heard that if you've been farming less than 10 years, you haven't yet experienced anything…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Farmers Said

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 20, 2013

    One of the greater perks of being a farmer and of interviewing farmers for your job is that they will often say something that changes the way you think. Maybe about farming, or cattle, or family, or life. Here are five that come to mind, mentioned in the course of interviews or just plain-old good conversations. 1. David Erickson, on buying farmland: "There's never been a time in my farming career when we bought land and thought we could afford it. But we've always been glad we…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Bound for the Farm Progress Show

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on August 25, 2013

    Hey, it's a beautiful week to head to the Farm Progress Show! Wait. What? It's some sort of irony, isn't it? Can't buy the heat units we need all summer, to the point that our field demo corn isn't even mature enough to harvest. And now during the week of the show, temperatures are forecasted to soar to the mid-90s. I don't even want to think about the heat index. The good news: there are more than a dozen air conditioned exhibit tents. And lots of…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Words to Live By (or at least manage by)

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 17, 2013

    I pulled out an old notebook yesterday afternoon and flipped through to find a clean page. On my way there, I came across notes from a variety of semi-recent meetings and events. Among them: my most favorite quote, courtesy of estate planning attorney and Prairie Farmer columnist Curt Ferguson. He spoke last fall, addressing the Cultivating Master Farmers group and talking about communication and estate plans. He told them, "If you're not willing to talk to your kids…

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