• Holly Spangler

    Kickoff: 30 Days on a Prairie Farm

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 31, 2012

    Tomorrow is the day! November 1 is the official start of my 30 Days series. And this year's topic here at My Generation: 30 Days on a Prairie Farm. Everything you ever wanted to know about why we do what we do on the farm, designed for you, the agriculturalist, to share with your non-ag friends. Look for plenty of numbers and sourced facts, told in the story of a Midwestern farm life. You'll see lots of the Spangler farm, and a few others as well. And my kids are already…

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  • Josh Flint

    Messing With the Budweiser Recipe? That's Just Crazy!

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 31, 2012

    As a native Missourian, InBev’s hostile takeover of Anheuser Busch in the 2008 was less than thrilling. I’ve lived in the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis for about four years now. Busch Stadium, the Clydesdales and Grant’s Farm were tangible reminders of the brewing family that put St. Louis on the map. Finding out one of the city’s top corporate stewards would be Belgium-owned and Brazilian-run was a shot to the gut. For most (at least those not directly employed…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Biofuel Mandate Bashed In Iowa Speech

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on October 30, 2012

    The chairman of the board of Nestle Group, the giant Switzerland-based food manufacturing and marketing company that owns many brand names and supplies numerous products on grocery store shelves around the world, warns that overuse of water will lead to shortfalls of grain. "This year's drought in the U.S. has aggravated the trend," said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, one of the speakers at the recent 2012 World Food Prize symposium held October 17-19 in Des Moines, Iowa. Over…

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  • Curt Arens

    Neighbor Helping Neighbor - It's a Farmer Thing

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 30, 2012

    Our hearts and our prayers go out to all the folks living and working along the East Coast and eastern Corn Belt regions this week. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the storms, blizzards and raging winds that spread out over the eastern third of the country, the thing that amazes me most is how well folks pull together and work together, pitching in to overcome the obstacles of these huge natural disasters. We saw it firsthand this summer in Nebraska, as farmers, ranchers and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Organic and Conventional: Food and Friends

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 29, 2012

    I spent an afternoon in Chicago last week, listening as three organizations presented their latest research on what consumers think about food and agriculture. My official report on the story is here, but the conversations of the day have stuck in my mind. When I go to something like this, I generally like to sit with people I don't know because what better way to meet people, right? So I chose a table and sat down. As it turned out, I'd sat right next to Lori Loughlin of the Illinois Farm…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    A Perspective Worth Printing

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 29, 2012

    We get lot of calls and e-mails from commercial firms looking for press, and in most cases we avoid solicitations from product enterprise unless something newsworthy justifies use in Western Farmer-Stockman. When Syngenta called to ask if we wanted to interview their PNW breeder, the red flag went up. But after further thought, we found the story to be one that our readers hopefully will find of interest. It will appear in our December issue. What we try to avoid is a lot of chatter in these…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Weathermen Need To Go Back to School

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 29, 2012

    Beginning Oct. 20, weathermen began to talk about how the next week would feature Indian summer, a phenomenon that typically occurs in October, and signals the last good stretch of weather before fall and reality take over. There's just one problem. The typical definition of Indian Summer, according to Jim Newman, retired ag climatologist at Purdue University, is a series of days that feature blue skies, a few wispy clouds perhaps, and unseasonable warm temperatures. We got the warm…

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  • Tim White

    Giant Pumpkin Farmers Reveal Their Secrets, Maybe

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on October 26, 2012

    Pumpkins abound at the Circleville Pumpkin Show. Pumpkin paraphernalia is everywhere and you can get just about any kind of pumpkin-based food you would imagine. A table covered with all kinds of pumpkins and gourds stretches for a full block down Main St. There is a tree-like tower made up from more than 200 pumpkins stacked one atop the other. It makes a great backdrop, but let’s get real, this festival is all about producing Pickaway County’s biggest pumpkin. Like the fat heads…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Learning From The Masters

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 26, 2012

    I’ve been learning from the Masters this past week -- the 2012 Master Farmers, that is. We are going to reveal their identities in the December issue of Dakota Farmer. Master Farmer is one of the oldest recognition programs for active farmers in the nation. It recognizes individuals for their farming and ranching success and their contributions to their family, their communities and their industry. White interviewing this year’s Masters, I have learned one man’s secret to…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Federal Bucks For Farmers Continue To Auger Up

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 24, 2012

    Make no mistake, I think getting money for ag is a good thing, and the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant system is a faucet of funding for which thanks should be given. But when I see those big grants for the recent round -- $4.8 million for Washington and Oregon – it makes me wonder how long the spigot will spout given today's anti-ag actions and the precariousness of the next Farm Bill. What wonders the grant performs, particularly when you consider more than $1 million of the new…

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  • Fran O

    Organic vs. Conventionally Raised Foods

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on October 23, 2012

    Several studies this year have revealed that there is no nutritional advantage to eating organic food vs. conventionally raised food. The latest study published Monday, Oct. 22 by researchers and pediatricians shows that organic food is no better than conventional food for kids when it comes to nutritional value. "Pretty much every study shows no nutritional difference," said Dr. Janet Silverstein, a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida. Silverstein and her team…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Farmers Challenged To Invest An Acre To Help Fight Hunger

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on October 23, 2012

    Speaking in Des Moines recently, farmer/philanthropist Howard Buffett challenged all farmers in America to donate the profits from at least 1 acre of their 2012 harvest to their local food banks in an effort to help eradicate hunger nationwide. Buffett was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Iowa Hunger Summit held October 16. Buffett, the son of Omaha billionaire investor Warren Buffett, pushed for the donations during his speech. Buffett's private foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation…

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  • Josh Flint

    Lock Down A Permanent Email Address

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 23, 2012

    Email is not going away as a means of contact in the business world. If anything, it will continue to pick up steam. Yet, I continue to see instances where rural folks go through several email addresses over the course of five years. You have the power to stop this! What used to be the most irritating thing about switching cellular service providers? The number would switch. That’s in the past now, but I still remember the headache that would go along with disseminating your new phone…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Planning for 2013

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 22, 2012

    Combines are still rolling in a lot of areas, but not for much longer. That's when farmers' minds turn to next year's crop. I know, you're probably going to want to rest a bit after you park the combine, but the markets and suppliers may not let you. Already diesel prices have slid enough that you might want to book some supply for next season. Booking fertilizer may be top of mind too - and I've heard that the best way to book that product is to write a check. Given worries about…

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  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 22, 2012

    I don’t know what it’s like around your place, but on my farm, things don’t always go the way I had planned. In fact, it might be said that things usually go poorly. My biochemistry professor in college perhaps said it best when he observed, “In nature, things naturally go to heck,” or something like that. Point well taken. Jay Jenkins, who is the UNL Extension educator in Cherry County, placed a unique, but quite useful spin on that message in his Monday…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Use Lessons From 2012 As You Shoot For Top Yields in 2013

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 22, 2012

    It's unlikely anyone will go into 2013 basing what they do on exactly what happened in 2012. That would be defying the odds. There's a chance that 2013 could be like 2012, but it's about one in 25 or maybe one in 50 or even one in 75. It could happen next year, and it may not happen for another 75 years. What seems like the better strategy to us is to take lessons learned form 2012, add them to lessons learned from every other year that you have raised crops, and proceed down the same path you…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought Continues to Take Toll on Plains

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 21, 2012

    The drought continues in the High Plains, with Nebraska hardest hit and Kansas improving somewhat. Three-fourths of Nebraska remains in exceptional drought, the worst category on the U.S. Drought Monitor. About 40% of Kansas is in that category. Kansas, Nebraksa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado are in drought from moderate to exceptional, mostly in the severe to exceptional categories. The multi-state, severe dust storm of last Thursday was a reminder of how vulnerable our…

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  • Holly Spangler

    GMOs, Dr. Oz and Real Scientists

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 19, 2012

    Here's what I like to see: straightforward conversations about food and technology. No backroom deals. No agendas. No one side negotiating for more airtime, or re-recording a statement so no one can contradict them. A look at real science by real scientists. And certainly, I haven't watched daytime TV since, well, I can't remember when. But I have read enough of Dr. Oz to know neither I, nor anyone else, can logically expect to get sound diet or medical advice from him. And as an aside, who…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Ag Politics: Election Day Is November 6

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on October 18, 2012

    Election Day is November 6 and Iowa is a swing state in the presidential race. Iowa could go either way. Polls show the race remains quite tight nationally. Why should Iowa farmers vote for Republican Mitt Romney for president of the United States? Why should they vote for Democrat Barak Obama? Wallaces Farmer in an interview earlier this week asked that question of Mike Johanns, the Republican U.S. Senator from Nebraska, who served as Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Two Weeks Till 30 Days!

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 17, 2012

    Two weeks from today is November 1. That means two weeks from today is the start of 30 Days here at My Generation! Oh yes, it's that crazy time of year where I blog every single day of November, all in a series. Just like in 2010 and 2011. And I have just one question: are you in with me? Maybe you're a long-time agriculture or farm blogger. Maybe you're just getting started. Maybe you've been skeptically thinking about this blogging thing for awhile now. Either and any way, joining in…

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  • John Vogel

    The Good And Ugly Of Farm Biomass And Green Energy

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on October 17, 2012

    We must be ramping up to an election. Almost daily, I receive USDA emails touting how the Obama administration is increasing jobs and building our energy independence – as it should! However, the timing of this week’s announcement of a $10 million grant to fuel biofuel development in the Northeast may be a little suspect – actually a little more than little. The grant to fund a Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium comes more than a year after similar regional…

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  • Curt Arens

    Harvest is a Time to Reflect and Plan for Next Year

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 16, 2012

    The combines have slowed down in our part of the state, almost finished with harvest. More acres were planted this year to row crops across the country, but almost all farmers have been extremely disappointed with the outcome. Yet, in the face of adversity, autumn still came around, and Mother Nature showed her fall colors in grand display, although most of the summer has been drab brown, black and gray. One Sunday recently, I grabbed my camera and walked around the farmstead, taking photos…

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  • Josh Flint

    Will 2013 Be the Breakthrough Year for Cellulosic Ethanol?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 16, 2012

    As we reported in the October issue of Prairie Farmer, cellulosic ethanol has a lot to prove next year. It’s been a running joke in ag for some time – “Cellulosic ethanol has been three to four years away for the past 10 years.” Most know the best jokes have a bit of truth to them. This one certainly does. Prior to joining Farm Progress, I worked for Country Journal Publishing in Decatur. Biofuels Journal is one of several magazines they publish. When I joined in…

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  • Fran O

    2012 World Dairy Expo Set Attendance Record And A Whole Lot More

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on October 15, 2012

    Every year, I’m amazed at how World Dairy Expo manages to grow in both size and quality of the show. Each year, there seems to be more of everything – cows, people and exhibitors – and yet Expo seems to not only get bigger each year, but better, too. This year was no exception. According to World Dairy Expo Communications Manager Janet Keller, attendance at World Dairy Expo set another record this year. There were 71,788 people at the five-day show including…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    New Dog Stirs Thoughts Of A Calendar Of Pickup Canines

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 15, 2012

    My new mutt, an 8-month-old kinda lab/kinda Siberian named Arya (don't ask) sits next to me barking for yet another baby carrot. Nice to have a "bud" again since the trauma of losing my old Doxie friend, Spencer, who stood by me for the last 8 years. The horror of putting down one of the family still haunts me. We don't euthanize a child or a parent when they get really sick. Nature runs its course. Yet, when it comes to our animals, the "don't let them suffer" syndrome  gives new meaning…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Cover Crops Are Catching Fire In Indiana

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 15, 2012

    Right now you have to look for it. The cover crops are still coming up, and may be hard to distinguish from young corn sprouting from grain left in the field. It was a tough year to harvest corn, and it only takes a small amount of grain sprouting to make a field look green this time of year. Soon that will be gone courtesy of Jack Frost, if it isn't already. What will be left if it's green will be cover crops. You're not going to find them on every farm. But from all indications you're going…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Post-Harvest Downtime?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 14, 2012

    The corn and soybean harvest are moving very fast for the Upper Midwest, which means that a lot of readers may be finished as soon as mid-October. What will you do with that time? No I mean it. This time can be a gift to you. Sure, many of you will say to fall tillage and fertilizer work, but with temperatures where they are it may be awhile before the soil drops below that magic 50-degree mark. I realize many of you read this but don't comment, so I won't ask for any (though comments are very…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The 40-Year-Old Farmer

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 12, 2012

    My, how time flies. He was 22 when we met. He was 25 when we married. Today? Today, he is 40. This is cause to celebrate. So with that, 40 things I love about him. 1.  This is guaranteed to embarrass him. But he'll also kind of like it. He's complex that way. 2.  His favorite foods are chocolate and steak. He is not complex in that way. 3.  He has some gray hair. I really like it. 4.  On that note, I think he's even more handsome than the day we met.  5. …

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  • Rod Swoboda

    2012 Farm Bill? Don't Bet On It

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on October 12, 2012

    More and more observers are placing odds there won't be much, if any, work done on the new five-year farm bill in Congress this year. The heavy lifting will likely take place when Congress comes back into session in January. Even then, the farm bill might not get the attention of Congress right away. Farm bills usually last for five years and the 2008 Farm Bill officially expired on September 30, 2012. Congress left Washington September 21 to go home to campaign without getting the new farm…

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  • Tim White

    Talking Farming At The College Reunion

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on October 12, 2012

    Last weekend I succumbed to curiosity and attended my 40th college reunion at Stanford University. I could joke that I didn’t know who all those elderly folks were, but the fact is most of my old friends looked great. We talked about our children and grandchildren and our work and our vacations and our dreams to make the world a better place and our recollections of the college years. You math geniuses will figure that we graduated in 1972. It was the year that President Richard Nixon…

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  • Holly Spangler

    One House, 36 Men, 144 Days

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 10, 2012

    The emails have rolled into and out of our inbox for months. A silent tribute to thought, effort, details and the conscientious and consistent push forward. It's been, in a word, impressive. A graduate of the University of Illinois and an alumni of Nabor House, a cooperative agricultural fraternity on campus, my husband John has served on their alum board for the past several years. Years that have seen an old house continue to deteriorate. A house that, even during my days on campus nearly…

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  • Curt Arens

    If a Farmer Were the President

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 9, 2012

    George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were well known gentlemen farmers. John Adams lived on a farm. Abe Lincoln and a host of our U.S. Presidents who came before and after him, grew up on farms. Then Vice-President, Calvin Coolidge, was working on his father’s farm when he heard the news of President Warren Harding’s death. Coolidge took the oath of office in the front room of his father’s farm home. Our last real farmer to occupy the White House was Jimmy Carter, but he…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    What's Up With the 'Evil Wheat' Gluten-Free Craze?

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 9, 2012

    I have been remiss in my duty to follow every emerging, whack-o diet craze. Somehow, gluten-free mushroomed when I wasn’t looking. Oh, I admit, I heard it mentioned a few times and I even spared a moment or two of pity for those poor souls whose bodies can’t tolerate one of one the world’s commonest food ingredients, the gluten in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. But it has been only in the last couple of weeks that I realized how many “gluten-free&rdquo…

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  • Fran O

    Take Time To View Nature's Fireworks

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on October 8, 2012

    I know it's a busy time of year. We're in the middle of the fall harvest and everyone has lots of fall projects to get done – calves to move, machinery to grease, and yard work to complete – before the snow starts flying. But if you can spare a day or two, or even an hour, now would be a great time to get out and see the leaves. The colors are just spectacular. When I was driving back and forth to World Dairy Expo in Madison last week, it seemed like a Kodak moment awaited around…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Mission to Wenatchee A Tech Eye-Opener

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 8, 2012

    Just back from a most fascinating assignment to cover the Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems tech expo near Wenatchee in Washington State U's Sunrise Research Orchard. What I saw was impressive and revealing. Tomorrow's gizmos and machines on revue opened my eyes to what wonders the next generation of farmers will have in their toolboxes. Consider: a mechanical harvester for sweet cherries; a robot knot tying unit for hops; orchard platforms that move on their own so…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Environment Held All the Aces in Indiana This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 8, 2012

    The more I talk to Hoosiers in different parts of the state, the more it's obvious that whether you had good corn, poor corn or no corn at all basically came down to when it rained, how much it rained and what soil types you had in the field. When you planted and which maturity you planted, both corn and soybeans, made some difference, but the overshadowing factors were rainfall or lack of it, coupled with the soil type supporting the crop. Here are the observations of one farmer. I've heard…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Farming In The Middle Of North Dakota's Oil Boom

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 8, 2012

    I recently made a trip to western North Dakota to see what it’s like farming in the middle of the oil boom. When I hit the heart of the Bakken, I was shocked. What were they doing to land? There were payloaders, backhoes, bulldozers and graders everywhere. It seems farmers can’t clean a ditch, touch slough or covert grassland to cropland without getting into trouble with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ducks Unlimited, the Sierra Club and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Weighing in on School Lunches

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 5, 2012

    I was sitting down for a fine luncheon with the Swedish Minister of Agriculture one day during my August trip to Sweden, when my Facebook feed began filling - first with a trickle, then an explosion - of comments, rants and general outrage regarding new USDA regulations regarding school lunches. Suffice to say, people were not happy. Enacted last spring and launched into effect for this school year, the new guidelines require just 8-10 ounces of protein per child per week, for…

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  • Josh Flint

    There's a Lot of Nitrate Still in the Soil

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 5, 2012

    After speaking with several nutrient experts, one thing is clear – there’s a lot of nitrogen left in the field after this drought year. Here’s the catch, most of it’s in the nitrate form. As most know, that means it’s extremely susceptible to loss via leaching (moving out with the water) and denitrification (evaporating from water-logged soils). Dan Schaefer, director of nutrient stewardship with the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices, has been pulling…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    A Food & Ag Message At Harvest Time

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on October 4, 2012

    A few weeks ago my daughter and I drove to Spencer in northwest Iowa to the 2012 Clay County Fair. I hadn't attended the fair in 10 years. Billed as the World's Greatest County Fair, it's still one of the biggest and best truly agricultural fairs. A regional event, it attracts a lot of people (farm as well as nonfarm folks) from northwest Iowa and neighboring states. This year's fair ran September 8 through 16. We attended a customer appreciation event put on by the Case-IH dealers of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Agco Press Event Makes a Statement

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 4, 2012

    I'm pretty sure when I got into ag journalism all those years ago, I wasn't thinking some international travel would be part of the mix. Sure, ag is a global business, but would I be making those long trips? Since 1985 I've made quite a few and for anyone contemplating a trip overseas I recommend it - if for nothing more to get a glimpse of how others live and view the world. We offer that opportunity with our Farm Progress Farm Tour program -and there's still time to sign up for the Brazil…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Time: Hurry Up and Slow Down

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 2, 2012

    Earlier this week, I posted on my Facebook status: "October 1? It feels like it should be at least November by now." And I wholeheartedly meant this because honestly, could we just get this crop year over with already? On to 2013. Check 2012 off and move on. And yet - and yet - the days fly by and I find myself wishing time might slow down. At least for my little people. How is it October already? And just like every other parent of young children must think, at least occasionally, I sat in…

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  • Curt Arens

    Five Farm Women Determined to Save St. James

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 2, 2012

    Time sure flies when you are having fun. When the new century turned back in 2000, the tiny northern Cedar County village of St. James took a blow. Saints Philip and James Catholic Parish, a mainstay of the community, was closed because there weren’t enough parish priests to go around. The closing of the parish and church devastated the families of St. James in a profound way. Drought and poor farm prices were also hounding the family farmers around the area in those years. Folks were…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Ponderings In A Blue Banana

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on October 1, 2012

    Sitting her in the Blue Banana, a café petite in a small eastern Oregon village, I eavesdrop on the conversations around me to, per chance, pick up a good ag story lead. After all, this is farm country, and even growers like a latte now and then. In the next booth is a rather elderly looking gent who is listening to a young chap talk about his aerial application close calls. "I had to fly under the power lines," he said. "Sometimes, when the edge of a field is so close to the lines…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Enjoy the Sights and Sounds of Indiana This Fall

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 1, 2012

    My youngest daughter, Kayla, is a senior in high school. I accompanied her on a campus visit to Purdue recently. Yes, she's been there dozens of times and knows she wants to go to college there, she just doesn't know in what. Oh, the challenges and yet fantastic opportunities youth have today. At one point during the day as we walked between buildings, she caught me off guard. "Look, dad, they're changing," she said, pointing toward a tree. I don't hear so well right now due to an ear…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Drive To Build More Dairies in South Dakota

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 1, 2012

    Two South Dakota milk processors are floating an interesting idea to encourage dairy and other livestock development in the state. Valley Queen Cheese and Lake Norden Cheese are proposing that the sales and excise taxes collected during the construction of a dairy go to county and township where the project is being built being sent to the state. The money could be used by local officials to maintain rural roads. It would amount to about $207 per cow. A 3,500-cow dairy, like the one recently…

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