• Willie Vogt

    New Harvest Tech at Work

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 31, 2013

    I know I'm pretty lucky because I get to see new equipment in action pretty early. Sometimes when you see a new tool demonstrated, however, you wonder how it will work in the "real world." I know equipment and tech makers are constantly testing what they build, but still the skeptic in me wonders just what will happen. Take John Deere's Machine Sync System which allows the combine operator to "link" to the tractor pulling the grain cart and enhance unloading…

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  • Paula Mohr

    School Science Fair Volunteers Always Needed

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on January 31, 2013

    I've been a volunteer science fair judge at the Anoka-Hennepin Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fair for nearly a decade now. It's always a fun day for me, interacting with students and finding out what they are learning via the age-old practice of inquiry. If I had not pursued a career as a journalist, I would be in a middle school science class right now, helping youth explore the science of food production. So having the opportunity to interact with students at…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Questions From Young Minds Can Be Amazing

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 31, 2013

    I never cease to be amazed by some of the questions and requests that come my way courtesy of my crowd of grandchildren, who are growing up so fast and expanding their sphere of knowledge at an amazing rate. An example comes from just one day this week. The phone rings and its fourth-grader Alyssa. “Grandma can you bring me some pipe cleaners and some colored cotton balls? At least three colors?” “Sure, Alyssa,” I say. “I can bring you those. What do…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Harkin's Decision To Retire Will Shake Up Other Races

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 30, 2013

    Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's surprise announcement last week that he won't be running for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat in 2014 has set off wide-ranging speculation as to who will be the candidates in that election. A number of names on both the Democrat side and Republican side are being mentioned. Harkin, a Democrat, has served five terms in the senate. He has decided to retire in two years and will not run for a sixth term in 2014. Harkin is 73 years old and by the end of his…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Agriculture's Wheel Of Fortune Turns With Thrills And Chills

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 29, 2013

    You got me. I'm a "Wheel" groupie. I guess the addiction was passed from the previous generation because my hard-working carpenter father-in-law loved Vanna and the lure of quick riches. Watching the wheel turn reminds me a lot of how farmers live, vacillating between the $10,000 prize and bankruptcy. Farming and life in general is a fateful constant turning of events that take us between success and failure quickly. Just look at the good prices of late on wheat, then think…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Cows Count, in More Ways than One

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 29, 2013

    I came across this quote the other day via Facebook. A disclaimer: I don't know Jacob Gorman, nor have I interviewed him. His quote was shared fourth-hand via a friend of a friend of a friend. And from what I understand, Jacob is from Alabama, has an agricultural degree, works outside the industry now, and makes ridiculously astute observations. Here goes: "It's funny how people cut down trees, bulldoze the land, pour concrete and asphalt over it, build a bunch of…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farm Estate Planning: Be Prepared

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 29, 2013

    I sat in on an estate planning session by  University of Nebraska Extension educator, Tim Lemmons, at the Crop Production Clinic in Norfolk recently, and learned a few things from Lemmons’ talk. I think many farmers would do well to heed Tim’s advice when it comes to planning the transfer of their assets, in the event that they pass away. How many families go to war with each other because of farm land and assets? These heartbreaking battles can fracture families, ruin…

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  • Fran O

    Extension Climatologist Optimistic Drought Will End Soon In Wisconsin

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on January 28, 2013

    Drought, high temperatures and other unusual weather conditions were the primary factors affecting agriculture in Wisconsin in 2012. The most visible effects were fields of stunted corn and sunburned alfalfa. This visible evidence of crop stress was manifested in sharp reductions in yields and production. According to the "Status of Wisconsin Agriculture 2013" report, Wisconsin corn production was down 17% from 2011, soybean output was off 11%. Hardest hit was alfalfa with…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Kids Say the Funniest Things at the Weirdest Times

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 28, 2013

    If you don't think a three-year old can outwit you once in a while, then you don't know many three-year olds. Even before they're out of diapers, they understand enough about what's going on to say things you only wish you had thought of. Or maybe you thought of it and didn't say it. You've got to be pretty smart to stay ahead of savvy youngsters. Graham is our three-year-old going-on-thirty grandson. He loves tractors, trucks, toy or real, big or small &ndash…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Putting A Face On 4-H At The State Capitol.

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on January 28, 2013

    January might be farm meeting month. It's also when the Minnesota legislature convenes and gets to work. Redistricting changed representation for many state residents so it's even more important for folks to make an appointment with their elected officials and make the drive to St. Paul. New this week bopping in and out of the Capitol and the State Office Building was a small team of 4-H State Ambassadors. Ten 4-Hers were chosen to participate in a pilot program that…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Secrets To 298.6 bu/a Corn In North Dakota.

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 28, 2013

    How did Jamie Gorder, Wahpeton, N.D., produce the 298.6 bushel per acre yield for the National Corn Growers Association Yield contest? Her entry was the highest in North Dakota and 2nd highest nationally in the non-irrigated division. Jamie farms with her husband, Mark, and their son, Vincent. Mark took second in the North Dakota non-irrigated division with a 288 bushel per acre entry. Jamie produced 298.6 bushels per acre with DuPont Pioneer P0062XR -- a Roundup Ready…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It's No Drought Breaker, But At Least It Rained

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 27, 2013

    It wasn’t much and it’s way too warm for the end of January, but the Wichita area finally got a shower of more than welcome rain on Saturday night and into Sunday – a total of about 0.6 inches in fact. It’s no drought breaker but it sure does help. On the positive front of the warm temperatures, we didn’t have to deal with the ice that my brother tells me is a real hassle on the family farm in northeast Missouri. The flip side of that is with temperatures in…

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  • Don McCabe

    Finding The Common Ground

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on January 25, 2013

    There's never enough time in the day on the farm or ranch. There are no fixed hours. You have to get the crops in and the cattle moved. Fix meals. Get the kids to school. Attend school events. Sometimes it's managed chaos. But farm families wouldn't have it any other way. Most impressive, to me, are the men and women who, in addition to their farm and family obligations, choose to stand up and defend their industry. It's not your grandfather's agriculture anymore…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Melanoma, Farmers And Farm Kids

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on January 25, 2013

    As my youngest daughter sat on the doctor's table, our family physician began to explain the procedure. "I am going to take something like an apple core and twist it into the mole," he said. "I'll pop out about 2 centimeters." At that point, this mom, who has held a ewe's uterus in her hands, was even wincing. My daughter's face turned white. Like many other farm kids, my girls spend much of their summer out of doors. Traveling to sheep shows…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Little Cowgirl Expands Her Herd

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 24, 2013

    You may remember Granite. She made a rather auspicious debut at the Cuba livestock show last year. By summer's end, she'd proven herself worthy of the title, "Showmanship Heifer." In show-cattle-speak, that means she went from a head-tossing, let-me-try-and-kick-you attitude to one of general obedience and tolerance of her show ring surroundings. Really, that's a pretty massive turnaround. In a little girl's world, it's enough to endear an animal…

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  • Tim White

    Panorama Is A Window Into Ohio History

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on January 24, 2013

    The Ohio Farmer traces its roots to 1848. I have told the story here before, but that number seems to be an average of the original publishing date of the Ohio Cultivator (1845) and The Ohio Farmer (1851). The two merged in 1861 as The Ohio Farmer. The first mention of an anniversary comes in 1948, when the publication celebrates its Centennial and declares it has been "Serving Ohio Agriculture since 1848." I mention the date because I was recently sent a link to amazing series…

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  • Josh Flint

    Ethanol and Chicken Square Off in Pre-Super Bowl Showdown

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 24, 2013

    Just in time for the Super Bowl, we’ve got folks in ag arguing over a chicken wing shortage. Fox News ran a story yesterday that featured a quote from Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst for the National Chicken Council. In essence, Roenigk said chicken supply is down because of high feed prices. Feed prices were up because of the drought and the RFS mandate. Growth Energy wasted no time in responding with a football-themed news release defending the RFS. Reading…

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  • Curt Arens

    "Dust Bowl" Viewers Deserve to Hear the Rest of the Story

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 24, 2013

    Dear Mr. Burns, I have thoroughly enjoyed your film making for years, especially your award-winning effort in “The Civil War.” As a long-time student of American history, I credit Sister Veronica, my wonderful history teacher at St. Rose School, and your film, “The Civil War,” with my passion for that particular historical period. Your recipe for films, including photos and film footage, experts of the period, eyewitness accounts and how you weave each piece…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Conversations on New Farm Technology

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 22, 2013

    I've been attending my fair share of farm meetings this winter - already - and the fun part of that is spending time with producers talking about key challenges and opportunities they're facing in their businesses. There's a sense of angst out there this winter as more of you deploy new farm technologies beyond auto steering. The challenge is that farmers who are already excellent agronomists in their own right are suddenly being called on to become farm technology experts as…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Quinoa Latest Wonder Crop In Research Labs

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 22, 2013

    It is a coincidence how a story falls together sometimes. Take my recent endeavor to write about quinoa, a grain like seed crop that is nutritious and adds lots of nice things to diets, according to researchers at Oregon State University which is looking at the rice-like commodity. I interviewed OSU researcher Steve Petrie, Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center director, over the phone at some length about this potentially new crop for the Pacific Northwest.  At the end of…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    How To Describe Your Farm To Consumers

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 22, 2013

    I picked up some good tips on how to talk to non-farmers about agriculture at the Precision Agriculture Summit in Jamestown, N.D. Sarah Bedgar Wilson, who was one of the featured speakers, said to use terms that consumers understand. She farms with her husband, Jeremy, near Jamestown, and is an active agricultural advocate. Her blog is called “Farmer On A Mission.” When trying to explain the impact their farm has on their local economy, she tells people how many places in…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Drive Into Soft Ground and You Will Get Stuck!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 21, 2013

    What's that country song say? If you're going through Hell, just keep on going, maybe you'll get out before the Devil even knows you're there? It doesn't work if 'Hell' is a soft barn lot and you've got a truck without four-wheel drive. Just keep on going and you'll just get really stuck! The foot of snow around central and southern Indiana melted. After the snow came heavy rain – about 3 inches in three major events over 24 hours. I had to clean…

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  • Don McCabe

    Living With The Unicameral, 75-Plus Later

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on January 18, 2013

    We complain loudly about Congress, and we should. Its entrenched partisanship, penchant for enacting laws stifling our economy and irresponsible spending have placed us in deep debt. We have every right to complain about its failure to agree on issues important to every American's livelihood. Here in Nebraska, our legislative body receives its share of complaints, too, and some are warranted. But before we get too carried away, let's step back and look at the unique system we…

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  • Mindy Ward

    No Snow Days

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on January 18, 2013

    I cannot recall the last year that our daughters went through winter without at least one day off school due to snow or ice. However, as I look out at the brown grass in my front yard, I fear this may be one of those years where there are no snow days. While living in Minnesota for 10 years, I recognized that it wasn't a matter of if there would be snow, it was a matter of when, how much and for how long. I recall one year hiding Easter eggs in snow banks! But after moving home…

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  • Fran O

    Extreme Weather Records Were Set In Wisconsin In 2012

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on January 18, 2013

    If you thought 2012 was hot, you were right. Last year, at least 178 record-breaking extreme weather records were set in Wisconsin. Nationwide, 3,527 monthly weather records for heat, rain and snow were broken by extreme weather events that hit communities throughout the U.S., according the Natural Resources Defense Council. 2012 tallies reveal even more monthly weather records set than the 3,251 records smashed in 2011, with record-breaking extreme events that occurred in every…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farming: Martyrs Need Not Apply

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 17, 2013

    Every once in awhile, I get fired up about something and write about it. It goes to print and before I know it, we start getting letters. Or technically, emails. Even the occasional in-person comment. And it turns out other people are fired up about it, too. Honestly, that's exciting. And that's what happened following our January issue, when I wrote about the recent inclination of some farmers who have begun cultivating an "online presence" to tell their story in a…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Ready For Weather In 2013?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on January 17, 2013

    'Never say never' the old adage goes and that so aptly applies to weather and climate extremes these days, especially after living through the record-setting weather roller coaster year we had in 2012. University of Minnesota climatologist Mark Seeley was the banquet guest speaker at the 110th annual meeting of the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association Tuesday night in Fergus Falls and he recapped the highs and lows of weather last year. Seeley said in his 35 years in…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Property Tax Is Key Issue For Iowa Legislature

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 17, 2013

    The Iowa Legislature began its 2013 session January 14. Budget issues and property taxes are top items on the agenda as legislators get the 85th Iowa General Assembly underway. Farmers and ag organization leaders will be watching carefully to make sure they don't get the short end of the stick as a result of commercial property tax reform. Gov. Branstad and many state lawmakers agree that commercial property taxes are too high in Iowa and they want to lower them. But there is…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Information Abounds At Ag Research, Technology Conference

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 17, 2013

    We’re learning the latest in  leading edge technology in two days of speakers and demonstrations at the Kansas Ag Research and Technology Association annual spring conference in Salina. I am always amazed at the strides that are made year to year in making better use of technology to make ag production more efficient and more profitable. The fascinating program of the afternoon was on telematics, the potential to use wireless communications and advanced sensors to close…

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  • Curt Arens

    For Farmers, Silence is Golden

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 15, 2013

    Last night, I patted our two-year-old son gently on his back for a few minutes, leaning over his bed. He had been awakened around midnight by a bad dream or the creaks and cracks of our old farm home. He was frightened, so I offered him a glass of milk and put him back to bed, hoping he would fall back asleep, so I could. But, this was not to be. After several minutes of crying, I calmed him down again, and now patting his back, I was hoping he would be down for the night. I patted lighter…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    New Ag Income Reports Mirror Good Times For Farmers

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 14, 2013

    This is good news: western state crop reports are coming in with encouraging news that the 2012 year was record for some, dang good for others. The latest to cross my e-mail path from Idaho projects a strong year financially there as well. Nice to have some money to pay bills, isn't it, even if the net is thinner with higher costs for everything from alfalfa feed to zucchini seed. Overall nationally, USDA says farm net will drop by…

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  • Josh Flint

    Changing Consumer Opinions, One Mom at a Time

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 14, 2013

    I’ve written numerous blogs and articles on the topic. I’ve sent Tweets and engaged friends in Facebook discussions. And, yet, my efforts to explain animal agriculture and condemn HSUS' secret agenda seem to go largely unnoticed. I’m sure many in ag feel the same way. Just when I’m sick of the whole topic, someone like Amy Hansmann says something that makes it all worth it. “Treating animals humanely is not the same as treating them like…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Be Ready for 'Mayhem' at Any Time

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 12, 2013

    Whoever dreamed up the little guy in the black suit that falls off roofs, through roofs, throws rocks into picture windows with a lawnmower and creates all other kinds of "mayhem," all in the name of a commercial for car insurance, ought to get a bonus. Obviously, it works. It's hard to forget Allstate Insurance and the phrase "avoid mayhem like me." Everybody has some mayhem in their life at one point or another. Sometimes we're prepared, sometimes we're…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Shopping Deadline Extended

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 11, 2013

    Digging through all of the last-minute/late-night deal-making Congress went through to avoid jumping off the fiscal cliff takes time. During last week's Farm Futures Business Summit, Management Coach Darrell Dunteman provided a great look at some key issues from the deal farmers should know about. And there's Section 179 news. A few weeks ago I issued a kind of warning, since Section 179 was about to expire. It didn't, so your shopping can continue. Interestingly every time I…

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  • Don McCabe

    For These High Schoolers, Field Trip Is 7,000 Miles

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on January 11, 2013

    During my high school years in northeast Nebraska—and, no, I won't say what years—a big class outing was to Sioux City, Iowa. Another bus trip took us even farther, to Pioneer Village in Minden. Times have changed. The opportunities to travel and explore the rest of the world, even for young folks, have greatly expanded. Amanda Clymer, a senior at David City Public Schools, had one of those great adventures in early December. She and two other Nebraska high school…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Rural America Can Drop Dead-A Message From The Farm Bill Extension

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on January 11, 2013

    Well, now that I have your attention. With the fury around the farm bill extension, emails poured into my inbox with reaction from across the agriculture sector. Oddly enough, it is the one time when both advocates for small farms and large farms agreed on one thing--they were "disappointed." But there were a few, more flavorful and less politically correct responses. I read through the myriad of the same song-- upset by Congress not passing a 5 year bill on time leaving…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Make Mine….. Milk?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on January 10, 2013

    Dairy farmers will be attending district meetings this month and through February that are hosted by the Midwest Dairy Association. Farmers will have the chance to hear from their board representatives and ask questions about the 15-cent per hundredweight dairy checkoff. There will be some good news to share, such as how and where dairy demand grew in 2012. Checkoff investments were used to partner with Domino's and McDonald's; new partnerships with Taco Bell and Quaker Oats also…

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  • Tim White

    Lincoln, Sausage, Malice And The Farm Bill

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on January 10, 2013

      Saw the movie Lincoln this week. I know it has been out for a while. It was high on my choice list, but family and friends seemed to prefer The Hobbit and les Miserables.  I was surprised Lincoln was still showing at the local Regal Cinema and thanks to a Christmas gift certificate from my son, Kathy and I went to see it. It is a great performance by Daniel Day Lewis. The makeup artist makes him look just like Lincoln – even aging him from the stress of the job. But…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Why No Ag In State-Of-The-State Speeches?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 10, 2013

    I was surprised that North Dakota’s and South Dakota’s governors didn’t say much about agriculture in their state-of-the-state addresses this week. Agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in South Dakota and is probably tied with oil and mining in North Dakota. But N.D. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a farmer himself, only mentioned agriculture twice in his speech. Once it was in reference to an agritourism venture. The second was about CHS’ plans to build a fertilizer…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Lingering Drought Sparks Uncertainty For 2013

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 9, 2013

    The calendar has flipped to 2013 and the drought of 2012 is continuing in Iowa and a large section of the United States. The eastern Corn Belt has seen some relief, but the western Corn Belt and the Great Plains continue to be quite dry. Wallaces Farmer this week listened to presentations by Iowa weather experts Harry Hillaker and Elwynn Taylor, who gave an update and outlook on the situation as it appears for the new year. Although rainfall earlier in December increased topsoil moisture…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Looking Blankly At A Blank White Screen

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 8, 2013

    It wasn't too much Chivas Regal that hangs me over this morning, but a clean sweep of the 89 tons of Christmas decorations back into the attic last evening under the cruel and intense incessant pace of a daughter and wife. Once that duo decides to clean, it is like twin white tornadoes sweep down into our living quarters and suck up every single reminder that there ever was a Christmas season. I think we packed the dog in a tote and lugged her upstairs into storage oblivion. I…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farmers As Hometown Volunteers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 8, 2013

    Farmers and ranchers are generous people. When a neighbor is injured or ill, folks just pitch in, without being asked. Rural folks are also generally focused on volunteering for their farm organizations, commodity groups, schools and churches. These are priorities to those of us who live and work on the farm. However, sometimes in rural communities there is a disconnected feeling between farmers and ranchers and folks who live in town. I’m not sure why this exists, but some farmers…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    New Biggest Worry as Drought Drags On Is Supply of Water

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 8, 2013

        OK, I have a new biggest worry of the day. I’m no longer saying passing a Farm Bill is the most important business ahead. I’m not worrying about the federal deficit. I’m not even worried about Kansas running out of money because nobody is paying taxes. My new worry – and it is a biggie – is about running out of water. I’ve been traveling around the state the last couple of weeks, checking out the state of reservoirs, rivers…

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  • Josh Flint

    When Borrowing Becomes Commandeering

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 8, 2013

    Commandeer: officially take possession of something, typically for military purposes. It's a word Hollywood loves to use. The hero lost his car in the heat of the chase? No problem, flash a badge and gun at the closest citizen and shout, "Police officer, I'm commandeering your vehicle." It's an exotic word, but I'd wager many of us are familiar with it in a little different sense. Specifically, I'm talking about "borrowing" tools. Even more…

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  • Fran O

    Farm Bill Extension Is Disappointing

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on January 7, 2013

    In the waning hours of 2012, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden negotiated a nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill. The measure, attached to the fiscal cliff legislation passed by the Senate on Jan. 1 and House of Representatives on Jan. 2, was a lost opportunity for true farm policy reform. Many smaller, targeted programs that invest in proven strategies to create rural jobs, revitalize rural communities and initiatives to foster a new…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Making Room On The Farm

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 7, 2013

    John Sumption, Frederick, S.D., has accomplished something that few other farmers can boast. He and his wife, Margaret, have brought all five of their sons back to farm. Sumption was recently named a Master Farmer by Dakota Farmer. “My greatest joy is seeing them all together and making it work,” he says of Chris, 41; Eric, 39; Mark, 38; Taylor, 37, and Warren, 33. A joy that is a close second is having grandchildren now helping out on the grain and cattle farm…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Biotechnology, Amish and a Big Ol' Mea Culpa

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 7, 2013

    There's been a shift in the universe. Maybe you felt it, too? Last week, Mark Lynas, former anti-GM activist, announced in a lecture at an Oxford farming conference that he was, well, wrong. "I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological…

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  • Tom Bechman

    No More Sappy Christmas Movies for a Whole Year!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 7, 2013

    I avoid 'chick flicks' at all costs. If I'm going to pay $8 or more for a movie ticket, I want the drama of a James Bond thriller like Skyfall, or a historical drama like Lincoln, two of the best movies I've seen in a while. Despite my aversion to sappy movies, something about Christmas drew me in to watching movies with my wife and daughters on the Hallmark Channel. For the entire month of December they run Christmas movies non-stop. Some are off the wall silly about…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    A Whole New Year Offers Hope, Renewal

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 4, 2013

    Maybe it is because I mess up so often, but I really like clean slates, new beginnings and a fresh chance to set records straight. Ergo, I am a fan of the school of thought that says Jan. 1 wipes slates clean and presents me with an unused canvas on which to paint my self-portrait. One wonders, this one does, what it's all about. Is my life meaning anything at all, or am I just a speck of cosmic dust drifting meaninglessly? Counting my blessings, I conclude that I am indeed…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Soil's Secrets

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on January 3, 2013

    Farmers know a lot about soil. They study it, test it, nurture it, plant in it, drain and tile it, protect it. Yet there is more to learn about this importance substance that we so often take for granted. We might know a lot about the soil under our feet today, yet chances are that most folks don't know the evolution of soils, the various soil types in the U.S. and around the world, and the importance of soils in everyday lives. Thanks to a traveling Smithsonian exhibit…

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  • Don McCabe

    Panhandle on My Mind

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on January 3, 2013

    One of my favorite extended trips with Nebraska Farmer is to the Nebraska Panhandle, especially during summer. I make Scottsbluff my home base and venture north and south of there to meet with farmers and ranchers. I keep up, or at least try to, with the region's crop and livestock research by visiting with experts at the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The Panhandle attracts me, I guess, because of its diversity of crops—sugar beets, dry beans and proso…

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  • Tim White

    Clean-Up Resolution Runs Deep

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on January 3, 2013

      Happy New Year. We’ve sailed over the cliff. Not sure if we have landed yet. Don’t know about you, but I am still bracing for a jolt. Politics never stops. Winter’s here in force. I had to give our Labrador pup The Dude an extra nudge to get him out into the frigid morning sun today. At six months this is his first winter and the snow’s pretty fun to eat and roll in and dig up. So is the extension cord that lights the Christmas spotlight. At least it…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Fiscal Cliff, Farm Bill 'Deal' Doesn't Offer Much

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 2, 2013

    As a general rule, I like to think of myself as an optimistic person, working along the lines of Abraham Lincoln’s observation that most people are exactly as happy as they make up their minds to be. I have to admit, that in spite of the shenanigans coming out of Washington to avert a plunge off the “fiscal cliff” and extend the Farm Bill leave me less than excited about the prospects for the coming year. I don’t like feeling pessimistic but I’m finding my…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Corps Begins Mississippi River Rock Removal

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on January 1, 2013

    As the calendar flips to 2013, the drought of 2012 continues to linger in Iowa and a wide area of the Midwest. Lack of rain is affecting water levels on the Mississippi River, which are expected to keep dropping over the next several weeks unless we get much needed rain or an awful lot of melting snow. Barge shipping of grain down the river to New Orleans and movement of fertilizer up the river to Iowa, Illinois and points north are being hindered by the shallow water levels on the…

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