• Tyler Harris

    European Influence in the Midwest

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on December 19, 2013

    This fall, I had the privilege of visiting an Iowa farm family that has taken sustainability to a new level. Dean and Betty Van Kooten, who raise corn and soybeans near Kellogg, Iowa, added pigs to the operation when their youngest son Joey came back to the farm. Building two hog barns was a way for Joey and his wife, Michelle to come back to the farm and build equity. However, hog buildings use a lot of electricity. To improve the overall sustainability of the farm and offset 100% of the…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Loess Hills Stand Out

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on July 12, 2013

    Sometimes when driving across a state, you run into topography that seems a little out of place. For Iowa, it's the Loess Hills, which stand out even in comparison to the hilly ground of southwest Iowa's cow-calf country. These hills are made of deposits of loess that aren't found in this amount anywhere else, with the exception of China's Loess Plateau. Interestingly, these hills also support wildlife that would normally be found on the Great Plains further west. This…

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  • Tyler Harris

    An Underrated Natural Resource

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on June 21, 2013

    Last week I received a package in the mail I had been waiting for since December – a book that University of Missouri professor of plant science, Dr. Peter Scharf recommended at last year's Crop Management Conference. The book, "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations," by David. R. Montgomery outlines the importance what many consider one of the world's most underrated natural resources. Many have made the case of the need for reducing soil erosion, perhaps most…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Where Rural Ends and Urban Begins

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 22, 2013

    Despite living in Kansas City since October, I hadn't realized until recently the amount of green space in between pockets of development. This has been more apparent with warmer weather. In a phone conversation with Clay County Extension community development specialist Crystal Weber, she said Kansas City is actually one of the least developed cities in the country. In cases like this, the hinterland can be somewhat hard to determine – it's not quite clear where rural ends and…

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