• John Vogel

    Keep On Wading!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 30, 2011

      Some days, life is a real struggle. For some, it’s a real, physical struggle – to even breathe, for instance. For others, it’s trying to recover from a disaster. For still others, it’s a battle to ward off depression due to finances, family issues or even chemical dependency. Some get angry, which can only make matters worse. Others simply deny what’s happening. But the best attitude is: We’ll get through it. Since Easter, my wife has been…

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  • Curt Arens

    Best Cattle and Best People Make Winning Combination at Valentine

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 29, 2011

    I was honored recently to take a photo of shareholders and their living ancestors who saved Valentine Livestock Auction nearly 20 years ago.     This job affords me the luxury of meeting some of the best farm and ranch folks in Nebraska. I freely admit that every day is a new adventure, and the people I meet along the way are the real perks of my job. But for me, a Thursday in early July is a day to remember, one for the books. I was able to witness history. A group of…

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  • Tim White

    Weed Control and Caddying

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 29, 2011

    Once a year I get to write about golf and this is the time. Last week I caddied for my daughter Allie in the annual North South Amateur Golf Tournament in Pinehurst, N.C. The event is in its 109th year. It’s a little different than most golf tournaments in that only 64 players are invited. They compete in head-to-head matches until only two are left – the same as a tennis tournament or the NCAA basketball tournament. With the heat index hitting a record 114 degrees, the caddy…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Perspective: Weather

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 28, 2011

    I just returned this week from a trip to New Orleans for our annual Ag Media Summit, which may well be the world's largest gathering of agricultural and livestock journalists and communicators. In short, it's a darn good time, mostly because of the opportunity to catch up with far-flung friends and colleagues. When I left last Saturday, we'd had 10 straight days with temperatures over 95 degrees, and no more than a couple tenths since the last weekend in June. Our corn had done most of its…

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  • Josh Flint

    Biomass Production Has No Place in the Cornbelt

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 28, 2011

    At face value, using biomass to produce a liquid fuel or fire an electricity generation plant is an exciting prospect. However, there’s one big sticking point – you can’t feed miscanthus to livestock. It seems too often the folks who advocate planting thousands of acres of prime Illinois farmland are missing a key point when it comes to king corn. It’s highly marketable (not to mention profitable). Corn has several primary markets: ethanol/industrial use, feed and…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Back to the Broiler

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 27, 2011

    Yes, New Orleans (leaving today after attending Ag Media Summit) is hot and steamy. But in checking in for my flight, I got routed automatically to weather in Wichita and a reminder that I am returning to the broiler that South Central Kansas has become this season. I know how many of my readers are struggling with trying to figure out how to manage planning for the coming year with lost fall crops and the prospect of "at least" another week of 100-plus temps and breezy conditions that…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Garden Exhibits Reveal a Lot About This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 26, 2011

    I traveled to Danville to judge some garden crops a couple weeks ago, then to Lebanon the week after. One thing noticeable was that there wasn't as many vegetables as in some years, especially at Lebanon. It was the first clue if you just arrived from Mars that there is something a little bit different about the weather this year. Number one it was very wet early. So that meant cool-season crops didn't go out on time. They include cabbage and broccoli. Ironically, that may have helped a young…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Bureaucratic Expansion Could Tag Farm Machines

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 25, 2011

    From the file - which I tag as "I am not making this up" comes the move by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which is considering changing current regulations related to ag equipment. The agency requested public comments on rules for off-road machines ni the context of the FMCSA regulations. And they extended the comment period until Aug. 1. Essentially, the agency thinks that if farm equipment is driven on the road the operator should have a commercial driver's license and they…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Honey, I've Lost A Twin!

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 24, 2011

    I can imagine how the parents of a 2-year-old Plankinton, S.D., boy who recently got lost in a cornfield felt. The boy disappeared obne afternoon into a 340 acre cornfield and wasn’t found until the next morning. My son and his wife, and their four kids visited me and my wife over the weekend, and I lost one the twins. The two boys – Dylan and Jackson, age 3 -- were sitting in the living room playing with cars quietly one minute and the next minute one of them was gone. I…

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  • John Vogel

    Target: Sunday Hunting

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 22, 2011

     Sunday hunting will be legal in Pennsylvania if state lawmakers act favorably on a resolution recently adopted by the state Game Commission. After years of riding the fence on this controversy, the agency supports a measure that's overwhelmingly opposed by those owning 80% of huntable land. Why did PGC buckle? Probably because the sale of deer hunting permits has been on the downslide. And those permits are "10-pointers" for the commission's cash box. Plus, the agency was pressured by…

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  • Curt Arens

    Manure Happens

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 21, 2011

    Manure management experts say that what we do with manure once it happens is the important part.     Several manure brokers and management experts were on hand at the North American Manure Expo, held Wednesday, July 20 on the campus of Northeast Community College at Norfolk, Nebraska. During numerous presentations, programs and demonstrations, one theme came up again and again. Manure is a good thing. While the general public has been conditioned through the rants of mainstream…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Thinking Back: A Girl and Her Rooster

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 21, 2011

    Next week is our county fair, and I was just thinking how one year ago, I made this: And we practiced this: So they could do this: And it's made me happy in a laughing-out-loud-tears-running-down-my-cheeks kind of way ever since. Maybe it will bring a smile to you, too, or, at the very least, make your spouse wonder what in the world you're watching at the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Sights, Sounds and Smells (just kidding) at the North American Manure Expo

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 20, 2011

    All puns aside, we learned about what is hot in “Professionalism in Manure Management” at the one-of-a-kind manure expo held in Norfolk, Nebraska.    BUSINESS END: A Manure Expo visitor checks out the business end of this new spreader. Today was as hot as it can get in Nebraska. And the displays, exhibits and demonstrations at the North American Manure Expo, held on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska gave us a taste of what is hot in…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    110 Under Sunny Skies

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 20, 2011

    The governor is having a "water summit" on Thursday, so I drove out to Colby this afternoon -- a chance to drive across sunny Kansas and see the land as it looks along I-70, the more or less dividing line between somewhat green and burned up. As I drove east to west, the temperature climbed, topping out at about 110 degrees about 4:30 when I left Hays. There is green to be seen, even in dryland fields this far north, but it is rapidly disappearing as triple-digit heat, brisk winds and no…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    And Here We Are For Another Week

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 19, 2011

    We've been blistering under 100+ degrees for a couple of weeks now with more in the forecast. I don't know how people manage to take this day to day out in the fields, watching everything just dry up. My friend Mary Knapp, state climatologist at K-State told me about the problem with this heat and wind. It is about trans-location, she said, the process by which plants move water from their roots to their leaves and stalks. In this heat and wind, she said,  trans-evaporation is so great…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    This Farm's Worth Watching

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 19, 2011

    The other day I was out by Lisbon, N.D., on a farm that’s worth watching. Andy and Mitch Hoenhause are trying some no-till/cover crop production practices that are working so well for producers out by the Missouri River. But the Hoenhauses farm a couple hundred miles east of the Missouri in a part of the country that many consider too wet to no-till. The brothers are having good luck with no-till, though, especially since they started planting cover crops after wheat and field…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Will and a Way

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 18, 2011

    You know how every once in awhile, a story will really stick with you? We were in Champaign this weekend for a fundraising kickoff for Nabor House, the ag fraternity where John lived in college. In short, it was a fun weekend filled with a lot of laughter and a reminder that nearly every great story starts with "One time in college…" What stuck with me though – far beyond the mental picture of some seriously funny college stories – was the story of one of the founders of…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Some Things Just Aren’t That Important

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 18, 2011

    One of the neat parts of my job is to devleop relationships with people, often farmers and their families, over time. Sometimes it's through Master Farmers or interviews for tours, sometimes it's through some of the 4-H judging I do. This particular column was inspired by a trip to Franklin County a few days ago. I had to get up in the morning, feed the ewes, get my ailing mother who lives with us out of bed, get frustrated at a road closing - all the typical things I sometimes get frustrated…

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  • Josh Flint

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Is Officially "Born" on Thursday

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 18, 2011

    This Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau begins its official oversight duties. The CFPB is one of the big components of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that was passed by the Democratically-controlled Congress in the wake of the recession. Over the weekend, I read a terrific feature in Bloomberg Bussinessweek about the implications of CFPB. The new bureau essentially pools the powers of several regulatory agencies into one group, with the primary purpose being to…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Doing More with the Right Amount

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 18, 2011

    It's hard to pile up the weather like we've seen in farm country over the past four years - and this is on a national basis. From monsoon-like rains to desert heat and dryness - farmers have proven they can produce no matter what Nature throws at 'em. And that may also challenge your equipment ownership strategy. The current rule of thumb is enough planting power to get a crop in the ground in about four weeks in a 'normal' year (defined as standard rain timings, etc.). And for harvest, the…

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  • John Vogel

    How Zealots Play The 'Media Game'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 15, 2011

      Rule #1 in any communications effort is to "get the audience's attention". Rule #2 is to do whatever is necessary to keep it – even "spin" or enhance half-truths. Rule #3 in any campaign is to elicit an emotional response from that audience. The many facets of the environmental movement, food safety advocates and animal rights groups have well-trained, highly motivated people on the job. In American Agriculturist, we've shared examples of the Humane Society of the United States…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Of Pediatricians and Land Bubbles

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 13, 2011

    Our pediatrician is a lovely, laid-back man named Dr. Krock. He's low-key and amiable, and after asking him to doctor three children over the course of eight years, I'd dare say he's unflappable. Broken foot? Let's take a look. Chicken pox? Come up the back stairs and we'll take a look. Weird rash? Let's take a look. My friend, Jody, also doctors with Dr. Krock, and we have decided that he is so laid back and unflappable that if he ever looks us square in the eyes and says, "This is a problem…

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  • Tim White

    Among the Silos and Steeples

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 13, 2011

    I spent last night in Celina working on assignment for the August issue. The meeting I was attending finished late and I got a room at the America’s Best Hotel along the shores of Grand Lake St. Marys. Before going to bed I discussed the lake’s algae problems with the motel’s owner Muhammad Khokhar. He has owned the establishment as well as the Holiday Inn Express across the road since 2007. Business a year ago was not good because of the lake’s toxic algae problems…

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  • John Vogel

    Got The 'Right Stuff'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 13, 2011

      "Experts" contend that numbers are a barometer of success and that figures don't lie. Trouble is, they don't always tell the whole truth, either. That's because we human creatures have tremendous potential to improve. How else can you explain the following contradictory evidence: More than 50% of all Fortune 500 company chief executives had C or C- averages in colleges. 65% of all U.S. senators were in the bottom half of their classes. [That one's not hard to imagine…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It Happened Again: The Thunderstorm That Didn't

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 12, 2011

    It looked so welcome. After a day of sporadic clouds and a high of "only" 99 degrees, we appeared to be getting lucky. Heavy dark clouds rolled in. There were bolts of lightning and crashes of thunder. The clouds rolled on. The sky cleared. Nary a drop of rain fell. The forecast: A cooling trend continues for tomorrow, only 97 for a high, whoo-hoo! Then we're back to triple digits for the rest of the week. Rain…

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  • Tom Bechman

    FFA and 4-H Teach Lessons, Win or Lose

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 11, 2011

    Is it an honor and a tremendous opportunity to be selected as one of the seven Indiana FFA state officers and serve Indiana's nearly 10,000 members for a year? You bet. It's a life-changing experience for many. But it can also be a life-changing experience if you don't make the office, but yet in a good way. The other night at a county fair I judged one table down from a young lady who ran for state office just a few years ago. She worked hard, and wanted the office very badly. She was…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Clearing Up a Web Myth

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 11, 2011

    This week one of my editors - who shall remain nameless - got caught up in one of those continuing Web myths that for some reason refuses to go away. While what he sent was pretty cool, in fact the story he was given was false. Somewhere in the body of a much-forwarded email you may see the following: Read this first, then watch. This is almost unbelievable. See how all of the balls wind up in catcher cones. This incredible machine was built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M…

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  • Curt Arens

    Stabilizing the Sand in the Sandhills

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 11, 2011

    Dave Wedin’s Sandhills dune restoration project tries to establish the best methods for stabilizing moving sand dunes.     Last week, when I attended a field day at the University of Nebraska research facility at Barta Brothers Ranch near Rose, Dave Wedin, professor in plant and ecosystem ecology, presented information about his ongoing research on restoring vegetation on sand dunes in the Sandhills. Wedin pointed out during his program that “grass is what makes the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Now, This is HOT!

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 11, 2011

    I am always amazed at the fortitude of children. As the sizzling heat hit a record 111 degrees yesterday, our crowd gathered at Old Cowtown Museum to celebrate Jackson's fourth birthday. The theme was dinosaurs. In  my opinion, even T-Rex would have found a cool cave to crawl into. But not the dozen Griekspoor grandkids and friends in this group. Who can stay inside where it's air conditioned when there are rope swings to tackle and boardwalks to run on? We wisely didn't attempt…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Flashback: 1997 Seed Industry

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 7, 2011

    I'm guest blogging over at the Illinois Corn Growers today! Click here to join me at their site for a look at an old file, an old story and an industry model that's entirely…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Sitting In On the Summit

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 6, 2011

    I’ve been mulling over what I heard at the Governor’s Ag Development Summit I attended in Sioux Falls before the 4th of July. Frankly, I was a little disappointed. I was disappointed because I didn’t hear about many new ag development ideas. Lucas Lentsch, director of ag development, mentioned the work the state is doing with the South Dakota Certified Beef program and the progress being made on the construction of the new beef packing plant in Aberdeen. The plant…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Now The Bashing Begins

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 5, 2011

    I received an invitation of sorts in my inbox today. The American Enterprise Institute is offering to teach me "What You Need to Know" about the 2012 Farm Bill. Predictably, the message is payments geared to helping farmers are bad, bad, bad, and worse. They are exceeded in evil only by the idea of subsidizing anything about ethanol, which does not make the cut for the organization's list of environmentally friendly products or renewable fuels. Coming up July 12-15, the AEI will hold a…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Value off the Farm

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 5, 2011

    It's pretty common knowledge that a lot of kids grow up on the farm, leave the farm, and find a job that's not on the farm. And it's often been pretty easy to bemoan that fact and to wonder what will happen if our kids are all leaving the farm? Who will farm the land? First off, there doesn't appear to be any surplus of land, lying around waiting to be farmed. And second, it occurred to me as I read this column by Jerry Crownover in our July issue, maybe all these farm kids out working in…

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  • Josh Flint

    Can Baseball Teach Us Something About Farming?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 5, 2011

    A lifelong fan of Major League Baseball (St. Louis Cardinals), when a friend told me about a book called Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis it quickly leapfrogged to the top of my reading list. The book looks at Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s novel approach to building a baseball team. Faced with a scant budget in the early 2000s, Beane seeks to build a team based heavily on statistics, rather than scouts’ projections. For example…

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  • Curt Arens

    Barta Brothers Ranch is a Real Gem

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 5, 2011

    Field day shows off high quality Sandhills research at Barta Brothers Ranch near Rose. POINTING THE WAY: The Barta Brothers Ranch research facility is located 20 miles south of Long Pine or about five miles west of Rose in Brown and Rock counties. I had the pleasure of attending a research field day at Barta Brothers Ranch near Rose in late June. Located 20 miles south of Long Pine and about five miles west of Rose, the ranch consists of 6000 acres, with over 5500 acres of prime upland…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Contest Looks Ahead to Harvest

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 5, 2011

    Sure, with corn growing (or not growing) like it is, you may not be thinking about harvest just yet, but the folks at Unverferth are already looking ahead. They make the Brent line of grain carts and they're looking for video - or in their words "the best video footage possible" of this year's harvest. Unverferth isn't the first to have a contest or this type, Agco is having a Veteran's Photo Contest But the Unverferth contest is video only, which is a big step up for farmers who like to…

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  • Tom Bechman

    I'm Proud of my Generic Garden Tractor

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 4, 2011

    I once started pricing out a rotary cutter piece by piece at a dealership for a story to show how much more it would cost you to buy an item part by part. Obviously, most companies hope the parts business is a profit center. When I got past the cost of a new cutter and wasn't even halfway through the parts list yet, I gave up and considered it a lost cause- I'd made my point. I have a garden tractor, an inexpensive one about a dozen years old, I use more as a mini-farm tractor, pulling a…

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