• Curt Arens

    Right on the line

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 29, 2011

    I visited Sam and Eleanor Nelson’s farm near what is now known as South Yankton, NE, northwest of St. Helena, to catch some river flooding photos and to write about the flooding heritage of their historic farm for a future print story in Nebraska Farmer. The Nelson’s farm in northern Cedar County adjacent to the Missouri River, just downstream from Yankton, SD has an important and historic distinction. The farm is located near the old town site of Green Island, which was…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    How We Wound Up On a Billboard

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 28, 2011

    A couple weeks ago, John came home from his monthly board meeting for our county Farm Bureau. It seems they had some publicity money and the board talked about putting up a billboard, promoting Illinois agriculture in the Chicago area. He mentioned something about Elaine, our county manager, wanting to put a picture of our family on it. We had a chuckle about it and moved on. By the next week, I'd forgotten about it, until Elaine called and said the Farm Bureau photographer couldn't make it out…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Harvest Keeps Marching On in Blistering Weather

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 27, 2011

    As harvest got under way this year, a lot of folks were worried about how the prolonged dry weather, combined with a sudden very hot, windy ripening season would affect quality. Early on, it seemed that much of south and south-central Kansas had not suffered too much as test weights came in far better than expected, probably due to a prolonged period of cool nights in May. But has harvest has progressed, in spite of spates of thunderstorms and hail, it has become clear that drought did…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Fair Season Is On In Indiana!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 27, 2011

    The Rush County Fair was just one of the fairs that started the fair season last week. More are underway this week. If you love county fairs, this is your time to shine. One year ago the Rush County fair was deluged with rain. Volunteers pumped out thousands of gallons of water just so the fair could go on. I haven't had the guts to ask, but it likely saw some rain last week too. Some people think rains and county fairs go together like snowstorms and the basketball sectionals. At least they…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Farmers Are First-line Environmental Defenders

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 25, 2011

     July's American Agriculturist issue will be in most mailboxes early this coming week – if they haven't already arrived. Inside, we've begun addressing the conflict of interest that drives non-profit environmental advocacy groups to thrive. Unfortunately, these biases trickle all the way up to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Then it flows down to the farm and agribusinesses in the form of more regulations and more paperwork – and still more jobs to be funded by tax…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    A Little Something I Learned In England

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 23, 2011

    While visiting historic sites in England last week, I was surprised to find out something about the Magna Carta that I didn't know. One of the four existing original copies of the document that codifies human rights in the English history tradition (from which our own Constitution was drawn) is on display at the Lincoln Cathedral. According to the documentation there, that copy was on display from 1215 to 1939 in the Cathedral, at which time it was loaned to the United States for display at…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    Stand Up for 4-H

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 23, 2011

    Ok, 4-H fans, here's a prime chance to weigh in on the value of what you believe in! A CNN blog, eatocracy.com, is asking today whether 4-H and its livestock production lessons are bad for kids. They are asking for opinions, based on response to their earlier blog on buying local food from 4-H members. That blog generated a lot of comments that divided into two camps. Some like this: I don't and would never support the 4-H. This group helps desensitize youngsters into having no…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    When Things Pile Up . . .

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 22, 2011

      Stress sort of creeps up on you from behind, like those extra pounds we suddenly realize we're saddled with. Demands for your time tend to creep up, especially if you're farming. There are always animals to be fed, equipment to be fixed, weeds to cut, crops to be scouted or harvested, and that list goes on and on. Then there's your "Honey do" and "Daddy do" lists. And your own "Oughta do" and "Want to do" lists are always in the back of your mind. I have a rule that works – most…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    The More Things Change

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 22, 2011

    Finding 91-year-old copy of Nebraska Farmer sheds light on how much agriculture has changed, and how much it remains the same.   I was walking quickly from the second-hand store in Crofton, glancing on a table as I headed for the door. From the inside of a large, ziplock plastic bag, red letters, “Nebraska Farmer,” jumped out at me. A faded, torn and tattered copy of the January 24, 1920 issue of Nebraska Farmer looked too good to pass up. I purchased the old copy of…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Not Belly Deep In Mud

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 22, 2011

    It was a perfect day for the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Feedlot Tour -- cold, windy and raining heavily. More than 4 inches of rain fell across southeast North Dakota during the tour.   But in a hoop barn we visited, it was warm, calm and dry. The cattle were comfortable. We were comfortable. “This is the way to feed cattle,” said Kevin Schultz, of McLeod, N.D., who hosted a tour of the hoop barn that he and his brothers, Randy and Larry, built. For…

    Continue Reading


  • Tim White

    A Community of Gardeners

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on June 22, 2011

    Dr. Henry Hood from Lancaster is a retired orthopedic surgeon and a born-again farmer. As an International Medical Corps volunteer Henry has been to Afghanistan and Haiti and who knows where else. He’s always ready to go and always has something going. So it was no surprise when I saw him last weekend that he asked, “Have you heard about the garden?” Kevin Schmelzer mixes in some topsoil to the First Presbyterian Church’s raised bed at the Lancaster Community…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    LightSquared Move Baffles Industry

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 22, 2011

    In March we told you about a move by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to allow the company LightSquared to move ahead with a plan to use a signal for advanced 4G cell phone service that could interfere with the GPS satellite signal you receive. The industry coalition that formed to fight that move - saveourgps.org moved fast to get the FCC to slow down the idea of letting LightSquared fire up its new network. Fast forward to this week, where LightSquared has offered its solution to…

    Continue Reading


  • Josh Flint

    I Hope VEETC's Demise Renews Our Focus on Ethanol

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 20, 2011

    If recent activity in Congress is any indicator, it appears support for ethanol blending credits is drying up. While much of ethanol’s old guard will likely lament the eventual demise of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, I see this as an opportunity. As long as VEETC exists, too many ethanol support groups will pour money and effort into renewing it. Instead of keeping a blending credit alive, we need to focus all of our energy on moving this homegrown fuel to the next…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    County Fair Season Begins Again!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 20, 2011

    Believe it or not, the winter that would never end and the spring that many wish they could forget about are basically over, with spring officially turning to summer this week. Some counties didn't wait for official summer to kick off their annual runs, bringing roasted corn, giant tenderloins, Ferris wheels, and cracker jack back to life. I got my first taste of the county fair season this past Thursday, when I judged a variety of 4-H projects at the Rush County pre-fair judging in…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    Friday Farm Photo: Size 6

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 17, 2011

    It's official. There is nothing in this world cuter than little boy…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Finding the Unexpected at Cereals 2011 in England

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 16, 2011

    I did a doubletake when I spotted a sign at Cereals 2011, Europe's largest farm show, offering a chance to win a trip to Kansas. "Can't be," I thought to myself. But it was. So I walked into the exhibit. And I found Melanie Acklin, director of marketing, and Jennie Martin, event coordinator for SFP, a Leawood-based company that manufactures Nutri-Sphere N and Avail, products designed to enhance the lifespan of nitrogen in the soil and keep it available to plants longer. Melanie and…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Farm Service Agency on the Front Lines

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 16, 2011

        When disaster strikes farmers or when new programs are handed down, local FSA staff members are charged with the responsibility of helping farmers.   I remember visiting my local FSA office many years ago, during the signup period of a new farm program. The latest Farm Bill had recently passed, and several new criteria were changing the way farmers handled much of their business. One of the workers in the county office was trying to explain to an elderly farmer the…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wow, I Woke Up in England

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 13, 2011

    I woke up in England this morning. I had to look out the window to be sure, but yep, I'm definitely in England. We made it to our hotel in the quaint little town of Bury St. Edmunds, which the taxi driver told us is one of the oldest towns in this part of England, dating back to about 604 AD. It was a kind of a rough arrival from Atlanta. Our plane was delayed on the ground for heavy traffic and we arrived in Amsterdam too late for what was supposed to be a 9:20 a.m. flight to Norwich…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    A Love Story, the Condensed Version

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 13, 2011

    Once upon a time, a farm boy and a farm girl went off to college. They checked calves together. She wiped off her boots before she got in his truck. They decided to get married. Her friends came to the wedding. So did his. They did this to his car. They got married in a church called Little Prairie Christian. Then they celebrated in her dad's machine shed. She power-washed the floors, and they strung lights from the rafters. They covered up the work bench with these…

    Continue Reading


  • Josh Flint

    Coming Soon: Video From the Field

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 13, 2011

    It arrived last week: Prairie Farmer’s new Kodak Playtouch digital video camera. After shooting some test video around the house, I’m ready to take this thing on the road. Hopefully sometime next week we’ll have something to put on the web for your enjoyment. I’ll be making a trip to Decatur. Farm Progress Show manager Matt Jungmann has promised me a show update. Should be a good interview. In today’s digital video age, the tripod is typically the largest…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 13, 2011

    The Farm Progress Events team (we used to call them the show staff, but they do more than that these days) was hard at work last week near Cannon Falls, Minn. That's where they turned an excellent field of alfalfa hay at Hernke's Inc. into a full-fledged, high-tech farm show focused solely on hay and forage making. The 25th anniversary Hay Expo went off without a hitch, though high winds and record high temps the two days before the gates opened made it tough for exhibitors to set up. But in…

    Continue Reading


  • 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…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Looking Better Than Expected

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 8, 2011

    Across south-central Kansas, wheat harvest is in full swing with combines rolling in almost every wheat field. And the news is good: better than expected yields, better than expected quality. Keep in mind, however, that expectations were pretty low, given the drought stress that most of this year's crop has suffered. Judy Casner, who is completing her 52nd harvest with her husband, Jack, in Sumner County said they have had yields from 20 to 50 bushels. But their bests harvests on their…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Water, Water, Water

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 7, 2011

    The largest quantity of water in sixty years is now gushing down the Missouri, making the Muddy Mo look mighty wild. Just a few years ago, folks around Pierre, SD were talking about how low the water level was in Lake Oahe, on the Missouri River. Today, folks only wished they were talking about low water. Things change pretty rapidly in the Great Plains, and the low snowfall years have given way to a winter that won’t quit in the Northern Rockies. All that snowpack eventually melts…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    The Perfect 'Bug' Storm

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 7, 2011

      We're finally into the growing season where corn product companies are looking for every prime example of their product's superiority. And when they find one, they can't wait to tell the world about it. Last week, after an urgent email invite, I pulled into the ditch along a well-traveled highway to check out a corn plot gone wrong – or right, depending on who's looking at it. Remember, nobody wants the neighbors or anyone to see a disaster next to a road where everybody can see…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Governor Has Offended Key Support Group

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 7, 2011

    The Chautauqua County Farm Bureau feels betrayed and they are making their feelings known to Gov. Sam Brownback. The group recently sent an "open letter" to the governor as well as to media outlets across the state, expressing their disappointment at his role in an agreement to halt wind power development in the Flint Hills and encourage the development of a tourism industry. "We feel like we voted for a candidate and after he was elected, he was not at all what we thought," says board…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Getting Passed at The Kansas Speedway

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 7, 2011

    NASCAR is running on E15 this year and the race I attended last Sunday at the Kansas Speedway featured a special promotion for ethanol. Selling ethanol to NASCAR fans ought to be easy. After all, the cars NASCAR fans love to watch on the oval are running great. They have plenty of power. There’s been little change in the miles per gallon, which was especially important at the Kansas Speedway, as the winner got to the finish line first because he made one less pit stop than…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Gearing Up for Hay Expo

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 7, 2011

    Anyone who reads Farmer Iron at least a little regularly (thank you) knows I like farm shows - probably why I like working at Farm Progress so much. A day or three spent perusing the shiny new equipment, looking at innovations and checking out how different companies approach the same task is plenty of fun. And this week I'm heading to the Farm Progress Hay Expo. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Hay Expo travels to Minnesota for the first time near Cannon Falls about 25 miles south of the…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Suddenly It’s June 6!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 6, 2011

    Those who said there would be a break in the weather were finally right. Of course, they were saying it for about a month before it happened. And it may not be enough of a break to bail out those with river bottom land and other saturated soils who hoped to see corn growing there this year. Slowly but surely, the percentage planted numbers go up, both for corn and soybeans. It's now dangerously late for both crops if you have top yields plugged into your budgets. This may be one of those…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    The Results are In

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 6, 2011

    After four long days of competition that included everything from comprehensive technical reviews of finished machines, design reviews through a series of stations for everything from safety to ergonomics, mock marketing presentations to "management teams" and finally the tractor pull - we have a winner. Kansas State University has won the 2011 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International 1/4-scale Tractor Student Design Competition. The team's machine was a solid…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    We're Very Close to Time for Combines to Roll

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 3, 2011

    Wheat harvest in the southern tier of Kansas Counties will probably start this weekend. There's already been some test cutting around Kiowa (where harvest always begins) and even in southern Sumner County with moisture just a little too high. After the temperature topped 100 degrees today with winds around 20 to 30 mph and more of the same in store for Saturday, moisture won't last long. I made a swing around the areas likely to start cutting any day now this afternoon and found…

    Continue Reading


  • Tim White

    Full Motion Agriculture

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on June 3, 2011

    No sooner had all us media folk geared up for you not planting corn this year, when wham – blue sky and the planters are rolling 24/7. Farmers have such faith. You knew how much field work awaited, and didn’t falter. Now that conditions are right, you are in full motion in farm fields across the state. From tillers to planters to sprayers to mowers to balers, the tractors are chugging. Traveling on highways and country roads and farm lanes, you are bringing productivity to small…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    You Can Thank Me Later

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 3, 2011

    Buffalo gnats are from Satan. This, however, is a Godsend: I am no entomologist, nor do I pretend to be, but we have fought those annoying gnats during the April-May-June months for about five years now. They fly at your eyes, in your mouth, around your ears and drive you bonkers. Then they bite, especially your ears. And sometimes around your eyes. I once took lunch to John in the field, where he proceeded to squint at me and ask what in the world was wrong with me. And you know, I…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Raising the Green Flag

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 3, 2011

    I’m headed to the Kansas City, Kan., this weekend to help corn growers “raise the green flag.” I’ll be attending the NASCAR race at the Kansas City Speedway, courtesy of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol. It’s work – really! About 1,000 farmers and ethanol industry folks will be at race promoting ethanol. “We know ethanol is in the hot seat,” Teddi Mueller, of the SD Corn Growers Association.&rdquo…

    Continue Reading


  • Josh Flint

    Make a Meat Thermometer Part of Your Grilling Routine

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 3, 2011

    I realized I’d moved fully into adulthood when I hosted our first family barbecue. For some reason, feeding your grandparents, parents and multiple aunts, uncles and cousins conveys a sense of maturity that surpasses even a college degree or first job. In the days leading up to the big event, my wife and I brainstormed what we were going to prepare for everyone. Since it was a Labor Day event, grilling was a no-brainer. Still being a young couple, we decided on a cheap, yet easy, meal…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    A Little Hurry Up and Wait

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 3, 2011

    Ag-focused students from 26 schools are getting an interesting real-world experience this week in Peoria, Ill. As I wrote last week, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers 1/4-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition is underway - it started officially Thursday. The event, which goes through this weekend, is a "360-view" program that requires students to engage in design, then build, and also develop critical market/manufacturing documents to go along with the project…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    What Will Attract the Next Generation of Farmers?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 2, 2011

    The newest crop of farmers loves high tech tools. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege to meet a few father-son farming teams. Stories about these farmers will show up in future print issues of Nebraska Farmer. Both family farms have a few important things in common. The fathers are progressive, hardworking, creative and business-oriented. The sons are smart, energetic and ready to embrace the next efficiency on their farms. But the most important common aspect between these…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    All Rain or No Rain At All

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 2, 2011

    Kansas seems to have its own version of the divide in farm country precipitation this week. Heavy rains in the north have put rivers and creeks over the banks with widespread threat of flash flooding and river flooding across the top quarter of the state. The rest of the state is still gripped in drought despite off-again, on-again showers. The problem is heat and wind, which rapidly sucks any moisture right back into the atmosphere. Today, for example, most of the state is under a wind…

    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


  • Holly Spangler

    It's a New Day

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 1, 2011

    There's a new venture in Illinois agriculture. You may recall the Farmer Image Campaign, kicked off at the Illinois State Fair last summer. The group was the brainchild of Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Beef, Illinois Corn Growers, Illinois Pork Producers and Illinois Soybean. The idea was to pool resources, hire a real-live PR agency, and spread the agricultural word beyond the choir. One of their initial steps was to hire the agency Morgan & Myers, and begin polling. They polled and…

    Continue Reading