• John Vogel

    Put A Drone, Uh UAV, On Your Christmas List?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 4, 2014

    Unmanned aerial vehicles may be the hottest and coolest farm toys out there this winter. Purists and marketers call them UAVs so they're not confused with the big boys – military surveillance and bomb-carrying drones. But chill out unless you've enough cash to buy a heifer with an unknown pedigree. You'll have to pony-up close to $300 to park just an entry-level quadcopter under your Christmas tree -- without needed accessories. Let's cut straight to the bottom line…

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  • John Vogel

    Farn Progress Show: Greatest Show Of American Agriculture

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on August 18, 2014

    If you've never been to a Farm Progress Show, you haven't seen one of the most awesome displays of American agriculture's future. Yes, I know. You've been to winter shows, Ag Progress Days and even Empire Farm Days. But to put it bluntly, you "ain't seen nothing yet". You've never seen agricultural technology on the scale and magnitude that you'll find planted in the corn fields of central Iowa next week. Farm Progress Show happens just off U.S. 30, east…

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    Help! Farmer Or Not, We Are Being Smartphone-ized!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on December 10, 2012

    I confess. I bought my own Christmas presents early this year – a 10-inch tablet plus a smartphone. So now I struggle to straddle the digital divide between computers and smartphones. And, that gap is far wider than I thought. Becoming smartphone-ized takes time and a lot of patience. Used to be, thumbs were calloused by hard physical work. Now, even eight-year-olds have them from thumb-typing itty-bitty keyboards made only for pint-sized "pokers". Everywhere you go…

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    Embrace Some Changes . . . Run From Others

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on November 6, 2009

    When it comes to adapting to change, some people leave heel skid-marks all the way to their graves. Others grab and run with it.   If you’re like me, you’re a tad intimidated by things you don’t understand. But if you’re willing to learn and don’t get too distraught when you make a mistake, you just might be a progressive spirit.   But be selective! Just because it’s “hot” and talked about, doesn’t mean it has value – monetary, educational or entertainment. The key is whether changing…

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  • John Vogel

    Greening of Ag is Just Beginning

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 6, 2009

    ‘Remember when Dad’s advice was simple: “Just drive a straight line, son. It’ll make the corn rows straight and cultivating easier.”   Now days, steering on the contour is the train of thought and motion. Unless you’ve got autosteer, it helps to keep one eye on the e-arrow of your tractor GPS monitor, and the other eye on the flashing 12 digital columns of your planter monitor.   That’s not all that changing. We are just beginning to enter an era when farmers will be paid for capturing…

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  • John Vogel

    Biofuel: What's now -- and not!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on September 19, 2008

    The longer you live, the more you realize that not everything lives up to its touted promise. I could be talking about politicians; but I’m not. (And to that, I’m sure you’ll respond “Thank, goodness! I’ve had my fill of politics!”   Thanks to Uncle Sam’s Renewable Fuel Standard passed in 2007, ethanol knocks 5 to 10 cents a gallon off gasoline prices. Then came the 2007 Energy Independence & Security Act which calls for 11.1 billion gallons of renewables to be used in 2009, and…

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