• Willie Vogt

    A 'First' at a Farm Show

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 28, 2013

    During my whirlwind trip to Louisville for the National Farm Machinery Show, my friends at Woods Equipment gave me a call to stop by and when I entered the exhibit they promptly took me to a machine that had never been on display at the show - I was looking for new stuff. But in this case the product was a little more vintage. It was an early model Batwing mower the company had gussied up to show off in celebration of their 50th anniversary. The Batwing mower is a Woods trade name…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Corn, Soybean Growers Hear Good News

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 28, 2013

    I attended the North Dakota corn and soybean conventions the past week. The North Dakota Soybean Growers Assocaition and North Dakota Corn Growers Association are very optimistic about the future for their members. North Dakota is well positioned to ship more soybeans to China and southeast Asia. The state, I learned, can produce soybeans for less than anywhere else in the U.S. and has the lowest transportation costs to China and southeast Asia. …

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  • Josh Flint

    The Day I Wowed My Wife With Crock-Pot Pulled Pork

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 28, 2013

    Like many American families, we have a love affair with the Crock-Pot. Our love for the Crock-Pot grew even larger this year when we discovered Reynolds’ Slow Cooker Liners. Toss a liner in there and cleanup is an absolute cinch. Anyone who’s scrubbed on a stoneware pot knows that’s a pretty big deal. Anyhow, a couple weeks ago, I was perusing the aisles of the Illinois Pork Producer Associations’ Pork Expo when I stumbled on a cooking pamphlet, made possible by the…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Spinning Tires And A Shovel

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on February 27, 2013

    Once again, Mother Nature has been generous by blanketing snow across the Midwest and rural areas. Last week the meteorologist predicted a ginormous amount of 20+ inches to fall, low and behold nothing happened. As I was making my rounds through all the buildings at the Syracuse, N.Y. Farm Show I kept checking in back home to Des Moines, Iowa to see how the weather was and just how bad I would be stranded when I headed out. But to my surprise, we had received nothing. Sitting in the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Perfect Sledding Snow A Rare Opportunity in Wichta

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 27, 2013

    Ah, snow days. It’s been a long time we had snow days in Wichita, let alone two at the end of the week and two more at the beginning of the next week. I hadn’t realized how long until the gorgeous snowfall we woke up to on Tuesday morning hit me as perfect for children on sleds – wet enough to pack down nice and slick, deep enough to last with weather warm enough to making playing outside fun without frostbite risk. When I made calls to the grandkids, however, I…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Longer Days And Lingering Memories

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 26, 2013

    It never seems to come with an understanding of why, but as the days lengthen into March, my mind always kicks in with warm season memories. I know it is rushing the season, but I'm wintered out with short, dark days filled with rain, cold temperatures and bad tempers by cabin-mates cloistered too long not to be crabby cakes (living with a  five-year-old grandson has put long unused words into my vocabulary of late). Nobody in my home ever listens to me, so when I decided to…

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  • Curt Arens

    Field Editor's Journal: The Families Growing Our Food

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 26, 2013

    At Nebraska Farmer, and in our sister publications with Farm Progress around the country, we write every day about farmers and ranchers who truly care about the earth, about the soil and water, about their home communities and their children. Contrary to what some activists might believe, we know that farmers are using high tech tools and every method possible to produce more food, more efficiently, using fewer resources than ever before. We know this because we know you. We are on your…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    World Food Prize, USDA Partnering To Expand Youth Program

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 25, 2013

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, signed an agreement February 19 in Des Moines to expand the Wallace-Carver Internship Program for students interested in cutting-edge agriculture, science and research. The ceremony took place at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines with a crowd of 200 youth and business leaders attending. The partnership, as represented in the formal Memorandum…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Ample Opportunity For Farm Voices At Water Discussions

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on February 25, 2013

    Water quality continues to be a huge topic for discussion around the state. Everywhere you turn—or as you read emails, tweets and other online posts—some group or entity is having a meeting or public discussion on water quality. Right now, you have the opportunity to weigh in on the new ag water quality certification program at two more listening sessions sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Those are: 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26, Mankato, South…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    I Bought The Whole Bird

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on February 25, 2013

    Just about any conference I've been to in the last year or so has had at least one speaker make reference to the looming population expansion. Global population is expected to rise by 50% by the year 2050 with an additional 3 billion new mouths to feed. Most of this growth in global population will take place in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia. Food demands are not only growing, they are also changing as the growth of disposable income in countries such as China and India, will…

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  • John Vogel

    Overwhelmed By Legal Pro-gun Forces!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 25, 2013

    Going into last week's New York Farm Show, I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of rural vehemence to the state's new Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act. The law does nothing to secure citizen safety, and, in fact, threatens it. The silent scratching of Governor Andrew "Quick Draw" Cuomo's approval pen on the NY SAFE Act awoke an angry giant – a pro-gun force that would kill his presidential aspirations with high-caliber common sense…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Simplify Complex Agriculture Until It Works

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 25, 2013

    Life is more complex today than when your father farmed. Heck, it's more complex than when you farmed five years ago. Truth is it's more complex right now than when you parked your combine last fall. Technology is added every day, and nothing stays as it is very long. However, this doesn't mean you need a PhD to continue farming. Past education isn't important. It's what you're willing to learn now as new technology comes along that matters. The biggest mistake…

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  • Fran O

    Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on February 22, 2013

    Democrats have been calling for immigration reform in the U.S. for years. Until recently, Republicans opposed immigration reform. Mitt Romney ran for president in November calling for the 11 million Hispanic immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to "self deport." Since the election, which saw 71% of Hispanics vote for President Obama, a number of Republican politicians have begun calling for immigration reform. I suspect the Republicans are seeing the writing on the wall that…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Familiar Small Town Names in the City

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on February 22, 2013

    Looking back on my years in college, I realize it was the first time I was exposed to the consumer side of the farm to table discussion, at least to this extent. Like many Midwest towns, Iowa City was once a farming community, although it may not seem like it today. Just take a look at Plum Grove, the home of Iowa's first (territorial) governor, Robert Lucas. Built in 1844, the farmstead is now surrounded by a residential area not far from Highway 6. Today, Iowa City could be called…

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  • Tim White

    Farm Boots Are Made For Walking and Way More

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on February 22, 2013

      Let’s start this off by acknowledging I wear my shoes and boots until they die – as in hole in the toe, heel fallen off, sole paper thin gone. Tennis shoes especially get extended duty. After they provide a full range of usefulness in the athletic arena, they make their way to the work shoe box and usually end up as wade-around-in-the pond shoes until the smell is too foul to bring them into the house. Then they sit in the barn just in case I need something…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Heavy Snow Welcome Moisture in Drought-Parched Kansas

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 21, 2013

    You’ve heard of the million dollar rain. South Central Kansas may have just gotten the million dollar snowstorm. Maybe even the multi-million dollar snowstorm. The storm, which dumped anywhere from 9 to 18 inches of snow across a wide swath of the state, is welcome moisture to a region parched by more than two years of drought and made drier still by warm, windy winter weather. At least for now, that picture has changed. Highs are forecast to be in the 20s and 30s for the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Field Moms to the Hog Farm

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 21, 2013

    I have written much in the past about what the Illinois Farm Families program is doing to share agricultural truth with the consumers of Chicago, and in my mind, one of the greater programs they've come up with is the Field Moms program. In its first year, they selected 10 Chicago moms to be "Field Moms." They chose women with an interest in the food supply and with a sphere of influence. They took them inside hog confinements, to cattle feedlots, inside tractors and…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Farmers Raise Money For Food Banks

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 21, 2013

    It is pretty cool that farmers in the Dakotas have raised a lot of money recently for food banks. The South Dakota Corn Growers Association raised $25,000 for Feeding South Dakota, an organization that supplies food banks in South Dakota North Dakota and South Dakota Farmers Union members raised more than $26,600 for food banks as part of a national challenge. At the SDCGA’s recent annual meeting, Mark Gross, SDCGA president, challenged each member to give $100. Each…

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  • Don McCabe

    Nebraska Tax Reform Should Start With Property Taxes

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on February 20, 2013

    Tax reform can is generally a good thing. But it wasn't such a good thing when Gov. Dave Heineman proposed at the start of the 2013 Legislature a plan to repeal individual and corporate income taxes and make up the difference by eliminating a myriad of sales tax exemptions. Bills to accomplish the governor's plan were introduced by State Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha. They were met with resounding opposition during a hearing of the Unicameral's Revenue Committee. And that…

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  • Josh Flint

    Why Laws Against Undercover Animal Videos Are Worthless

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 20, 2013

    More and more states are enacting laws that prohibit employees from taking undercover videos of livestock operations. Sounds like a win for ag, right? Well, sort of, says Joe Miller, general counsel for Rose Acre Farms, the second largest producer of eggs in the U.S. Unfortunately, the laws only allow aggrieved farms to push back against the actual employee who took the video. So getting to the animal rights group who uses the video for their benefit is extremely difficult. (Miller spoke…

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  • Mindy Ward

    What's the Word? Offers Agriculture Flavor

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on February 19, 2013

    I found myself passing the time at the airport with a new smartphone app "What's the Word?" by Redspell. As a journalist, I am a lover of words. As a photographer, I am a lover of pictures. Put the two together and it is an ideal game for individuals like me. As with most of my apps, my daughter turned me onto the game. Its premise: show four pictures that all have one word in common between them. Users fill in empty boxes using letters displayed on the screen. The…

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  • Curt Arens

    Lincoln's Agriculture Legacy

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 19, 2013

    I heard IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor, Ronnie Green, speak at the Nebraska Agriculture Technology Association conference in Grand Island last week. I agree with Green’s optimism and enthusiasm about the future of agriculture in our state, and the role UNL is sure to play in that success. In his presentation, Green referenced a series of monumental laws, passed in 1862 and signed by President Lincoln, that really changed the landscape for agriculture in our nation and shaped the future…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    $2 Million For Colorado State Ag Education Center 2/3rds Home

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 19, 2013

    In a remarkable show of benevolence, CoBank of Denver has led other Colorado Farm Credit affiliates into a $1 million donation toward Colorado State University's Center for Agricultural Education. That a great job for the banks – including AgCredit of Greeley, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado in Colorado Springs, and Premier Farm Credit in Sterling – to add to the $1 million already collected, but there remains another $1 million needed. I know. Everyone has their…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farm Show Mood Upbeat

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 18, 2013

    Last week I talked about my whirlwind trip to Louisville for the National Farm Machinery Show and I can't believe how crowded by first-day visit to the show was. For some areas it felt more like a Thursday than a Wednesday for a veteran farm show visitor. Farmer-packed aisles made moving from one area to another more difficult and for many exhibitors I talked with - not all - the mood was upbeat. Coming off the worst Corn Belt drought in 50 years that was good news, but not…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Scattered Rain Helps; Drought Still Concern for Lake Levels

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 18, 2013

    Scattered rain across Kansas has brought some recharge to the reservoirs in the eastern part of the state – good news for the communities that depend on those reservoirs for drinking and industrial water. There is continued concern, however, that the prolonged drought now entering a third year could cause water supply shortages during the hot summer months. In a public meeting in Burlington on Feb. 5, Kansas Water Office policy and planning director Susan Metzger told a crowd…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Tell Consumers the Truth About Food Production

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 18, 2013

    If what I'm about to say sounds somewhat like what I said last week, you're very perceptive. One week ago I presented the argument to get behind the Dodge Superbowl commercial featuring Paul Harvey and ask city cousins to watch it. Maybe it wasn't perfect, but it's the most positive message shown to a huge public audience about agriculture in a long time, maybe in my lifetime. It's not every day you can speak in positive tones to 100 million people. Set aside the…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Unlocking History's Mysteries One Story At A Time

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on February 15, 2013

    [Back-story: We get many visitors into the Wallaces Farmer to say hello. Some just want to stop and say hello, others will talk about a potential story and some will be on a quest for a story written by a friend or family member. Since we have archives that date back to the very first publication of Wallaces Farmer in 1898, many people come in to look through them. My office is adjacent from where our archives are kept. I usually keep to myself as I am always on a deadline working online…

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  • John Vogel

    Gun Controls: Time To Reload!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 15, 2013

    I’ve been swamped by letters, emails and blog responses to my earlier blog, raise-gun-controls-spirit-within and magazine editorial. I loved every single response, even from those who think nobody but law enforcement and military should have guns. It’s easy to understand the anger and fear of those who’ve had their lives blown to bits figuratively or literally by wrongful use of powerful weapons by criminals or persons short of a full load. And the anti-gun lobby uses…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Town and Country

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on February 15, 2013

    I remember my first day of Ag Science my freshman year of high school in Creston, Iowa. Ag advisor, Galen Zumbach introduced the course with British scholar Thomas Malthus. It made sense to introduce an introductory ag course by discussing the expanding world population and the importance of agriculture in sustaining that population. However, it wasn't until I left home for the "big scary metropolis" of Iowa City that I understood why this had to be stressed. A big topic…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Farmers You Should Meet: Travis and Renae Gebhart

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 15, 2013

    Being open to change has paid off for Travis and Renae Gebhart since they returned to the family ranch. The South Dakota State University graduates returned to the Gebhart family ranch near Meadow, S.D., in 2002. They ranch with Travis’ parents, Mike and Jane Gebhart, and Travis’ younger brother, Dalton, and his wife, Sara. The three families each own their own land and cattle, but all work together. The ranch used to be primarily a commercial cow-calf operation with some…

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  • Paula Mohr

    The Fluffy White Stuff Can Lift You, If You Let It

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on February 14, 2013

    We woke this morning to one of those picture-postcard days with snow delicately blanketing everything. Rooftops, trees, fences, yard clutter, weeds—everything glistens in this white covering in the early sun. It truly is beautiful. Except if have to plow, commute and work in it. Then more snow is more likely an inconvenience. You have to factor in extra time to deal with it, and then you can actually get to your destination or get your job done. Yet, if you can take just five…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Avoca-"do's" To Know About

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on February 13, 2013

    This morning I cringed when I had to throw away yet another avocado – I hate throwing away food. Do you know the average American family of four ends up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food? Uneaten food accounts for 23 percent of all U.S. methane emissions – a potent climate change pollutant. Now I really feel sick. 40 percent of the food in the U.S. is being thrown away each year. No wonder the price of food is climbing. Lately I have been on…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    2012: Feast Or Famine, Farmers Plan Little Changes

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on February 13, 2013

    The 2012 growing season was the best of times, and the worst of times, depending on where you are located in the state. An assembly of three growers on a panel underlined that dynamic during Michigan State University Extension's Growing Michigan Agriculture Conference in Lansing, Jan. 24. Yields were bouncing around more than a dozen five-year-old boys in an inflated cage. Devastation and celebration were in some cases defined by only a few miles. And in some cases, it was defined by…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Letter to a Young Farmwife

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 13, 2013

    I have, occasionally and lately, seen those Internet memes floating around with quotes and such and my favorite lately says, "Don't compare someone else's highlights reel with your behind-the-scenes footage." And to that I say, amen. {The farm version of that quote would be, "Everybody has a junk pile. Somewhere." Believe it; I've been on a lot of farms in my career. It may be discreet and it may be tucked away…but there's always a junk…

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  • Curt Arens

    What Does Mainstream Media Think About Farmers?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 12, 2013

    Forget about “red state” and “blue state” issues and complexities. Forget about politics in general. Forget about the fact that our rural culture is considered almost foreign to many urbanites. Because the farm policy battles of the future will be fought in a surprising arena. The fight for national food security and agriculture policy in the coming decades will not be fought on the farm, or anywhere near our own turf. Those fights will take place in the media, and…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Good Natured Folks Just Don't Get That Ag Is Green

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 12, 2013

    I love listening to many of the greenies because their arguments miss the target, truth and good science by the widest margins possible. There are still folks out there who are convinced conventional ag products are laced with toxics and that the farmers who grew them are kicking back on some island smoking big cigars and enjoying expensive booze at the expense of taxpayer support payments. Mostly this same mentality is the one which believes organic is saving the world from…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Another Farm Show Trip Ahead...and I'm Excited

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 11, 2013

    This week it's time to load up the clothes, the camera and the computer and head for Kentucky, my annual sojourn to this Mecca of farm equipment and technology all under one roof (or should I say under several roofs interlinked) - the National Farm Machinery Show. This year - for the first time - I'm limited to one day at the show. One long, intense day where I hope to see all I can and capture as much information for readers as possible. This event, which brings together pretty…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Never Leave Home Without It

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 11, 2013

    Last week was a little nuts around the Spangler ranch. We had returned home from a family vacation on Saturday, then launched into a week of catching up on all we'd missed. Which was sort of like cramming three weeks of work into one, even though we'd only been gone a week. Never mind the math, just trust me. By Thursday, I'd driven 260 miles, done one Master Farmer photoshoot, written a blog, written a column, written a story, edited another column and written two Master…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Festival Swoons With Pork-Loving Pride

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on February 11, 2013

    This past weekend, the buzz around Iowa or I should say that smell around town was bacon. The 6th Annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival kicked off this weekend in Des Moines, which has now become the largest bacon showcase in the world. Other events scheduled included lectures about bacon and an eating competition. The festival was preceded earlier in the week with a bacon queen pageant and a pig pardon by Gov. Terry Branstad. The annual event, which sold out 8,000 tickets in less than four…

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  • John Vogel

    Don't Blame Agriculture For A Food System Flawed By Fat

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 11, 2013

    Listening to all the anti-everything-ag grumblers, you might think American agriculture is in terrible shape, that we haven't progressed beyond the pitch fork era. They seem intent on making sure Uncle Sam enacts more regulations to drive the food industry crazy – and out of this country. Being a former farm kid and now long-toothed ag journalist, I've got a fork in this food fight. So I'll stab at the meat of this issue. Since these "antis" have far too…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Take an Acorn When You Find One!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 11, 2013

    There's a local radio personality who plays a 30-seocnd routine every night of two guys critiquing his show. They start out, "It's great," and the other responds "It was wonderful." Then they start picking it apart. By the end of the bit, they conclude "It was awful," and "Yeah, it was horrible." I saw that scenario play out for real after Dodge's Super Bowl commercial featuring the late Paul Harvey's poem, "So God Made a…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Changing On Climate Change

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 11, 2013

    I haven’t been a big believer in man-made global warming or climate change. But I recently gained a new appreciation of what some global warming beleivers are worried about. I was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently, attending a BASF Innovations Symposium (tough duty, I know), and I stayed in the Westin Hotel right on the beach. The hotel was, literally, right on the beach. If it had been any closer to the Atlantic Ocean, we would have had needed boat to get the lobby. It…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Super Bowl Ads Celebrate U.S. Farmers

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on February 8, 2013

    I knew that Budweiser was going to air a top-notch ad during the Super Bowl that captured the essence of someone who cares deeply for animals. Days before the big game, I saw the newest Bud video online as friends shared it via social media. Compressed within 30 seconds, the film showed highlights of a breeder raising a colt until it matured into a beautiful Clydesdale. The breeder then had to say good-bye when the horse relocated to another barn for additional training. This horse…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Iowa Needs To Brace For Second Year Of Drought

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on February 8, 2013

    About 90% of Iowa's topsoil and subsoil is still in the "short of moisture" category, despite some January precipitation. The weather summary for the first month of 2013, released February 5 by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, shows slightly less than 1 inch of precipitation fell in January in terms of a statewide average. It came as 3.6 inches of snow and some rain. January's 0.96 inches of rain was .04 inch above normal, says…

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  • Fran O

    Both U.S. Meat Production And Consumption Are Declining

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on February 8, 2013

    High feed prices in 2012 and 2013 have caused many Wisconsin beef producers to cut back or liquidate their herds and get out of the beef business. Ditto for farmers who raise Holstein steers. Many are finding the price of feed is just too expensive for those who have to buy it, and an increasing number of those who grow their own corn are thinking it may be more profitable to sell the corn rather than feed it to steers. This trend didn't just start because of the drought. It goes…

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  • Don McCabe

    Food Demand In China Adds Up To Stunning Numbers

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on February 8, 2013

    As the Chinese economy continues to expand, major opportunities exist for American businesses. Over the past few years, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and Greg Ibach, Nebraska Department of Agriculture director, have led several successful trade missions to China, in the process signing marketing deals for Nebraska commodities, including beef and dry edible beans. Nebraska has even opened a trade office in Shanghai, China. I bring this up, not just for the numbers, but because former…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Watching Child Compete Twice as Hard for Grandma

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 8, 2013

    I just learned something. You know those jitters you get when your kid is competing at something and you just so badly want her to do well, but it is out of your control and you just have to watch and hope she remembers everything she’s been taught. Here’s the news: When it’s your grandchild, it’s twice as bad. My granddaughter, Alyssa, who is 9 and in 4th grade, was a contestant in the Lawrence K-12 Virtual School all-school spelling bee this afternoon…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    This Summer Will Lead To Thinning Out The Herd

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on February 7, 2013

    I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. For some, rainy days are miserable and gloomy. But for me, days like today make me ever more thankful. The rain was refreshing – spring is in the air. And a sure sign that I need to stock up on umbrellas – the two that I own of course are nowhere to be found when I need them. The rain that we have received today isn't nearly enough to get us through this drought. We aren't even close to being done with the drought. Back…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought Presentations Downright Depressing

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 6, 2013

    Whoo-hoo!! There’s rain in the forecast! Well, a 70% chance of rain. Of  course, with the drought moving into a third year I’ve come to understand that means a 70% chance that two drops will fall from the sky and maybe land somewhere I see it happen.  But it is deeply cloudy and gray outside. So there is room to hope. Much less uplifting are the predictions that I’ve heard from three different sources in the last couple of weeks. Those predictions all…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Letters To The Editor 101 Class Greatly Needed

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 5, 2013

    I love it when readers write in. I don't care they want to call me dirty names or say I know nothing about agriculture. That's because when I get letters to the editor I realize two things: people are reading us, and they think enough of us to comment on what we do. Now, lots of letters come in saying nice things about us, and that makes me proud. We publish every one of these, positive and negative, and sometimes respond in a little paragraph of our own when they take on an…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    An Asteroid Is Coming, And It Will Be Fun

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on February 5, 2013

    Look out for Asteroid 2012 DA14, according to NASA. The asteroid, about the size of half of a football field, will be flying past Earth on Feb. 15 – with the tug of our planet's gravitational field causing it to accelerate the closer it gets to Earth. With the Near-Earth Object Program Office accurately predicting the asteroid's path, there is no chance that it will collide with Earth. This will be a record close approach for a known object of this size to pass by…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Forests, Trees and Paul Harvey

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 5, 2013

    Unless you've been under a rock, you've likely seen - or at the very least, heard about - the Dodge Ram advertisement heralding farmers during Sunday night's Super Bowl. It featured a powerful and nostalgic reading of the poem, "So God Made a Farmer," as delivered by Paul Harvey to the 1978 FFA Convention. Set to the backdrop of Harvey's familiar voice were a series of beautiful photographs, many by National Geographic Photographers, many of which were so…

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  • Curt Arens

    Even Weeds Serve a Purpose

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 5, 2013

    Farmers and ranchers spend millions of dollars each year trying to get rid of those pesky weeds. In the old days, farmers plowed, burned, chopped and dug out every weed they could from their fields and pastures. I personally have spent thousands of hours in the seat of a tractor pulling a cultivator, or walking miles upon miles of soybean rows, carrying a corn knife to chop velvet leaf by hand. Farmers have been known to chop a cocklebur plant from a corn field, take it to the field edge and…

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  • Tim White

    Bacon Farmers Big Hit At Deli Next Door

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on February 5, 2013

    The January/February copy of Ohio Pork Line, the publication of the Ohio Pork Producers Council, just arrived. It has the most beautiful photo of a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich you have ever seen.  OK it’s lunchtime for me and I need to get this written before I can get something to eat. And right now I am leaning towards a BLT. I don’t see a caption telling who took the photo, probably came from the National Pork Producers Council as part of the overall effort to…

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  • Josh Flint

    Why God Made a Farmer Transcends Agriculture

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 5, 2013

    God indeed made a farmer. Except, in my case, he didn't. It didn't make the advertisement any less special. Dodge Ram's ad was exemplary because it transcends farming, while reminding the world why it's such a noble profession. Some folks didn't care for the mix of old and new machinery throughout the commercial. I'd argue it reminds viewers that farming has always been an honest, hard life, and it still is. I get to spend a good deal of time on many Illinois…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Stop black balling baby carrots

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on February 5, 2013

    I see it more and more these days, people seem to enjoy hitching a ride on the wave of negativity. When something sounds a foul or even the least bit suspicious, whether it be true or not, people are more than willing to join in the parade of crusaders to spread the news of some kind of wrong. The latest Facebook fallacy I recently came across was a smear tactic to undermine one of my ranch-dipping partners – baby carrots. How dare they bash bata carotene goodness. It’s one…

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  • Fran O

    A Life Well Lived

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on February 4, 2013

    On Jan. 31, I attended the funeral for a longtime friend Roger O'Leary Rebout, who also happens to be my husband's first cousin. I met Roger in 1979 before I knew my husband. Roger was already a successful farmer by then. During my 34-year career in journalism, Roger became one of my top news sources. If I needed his reaction to a new farm bill or I wanted to find out how crops were faring in his part of the state during a drought, or I wanted to know his thoughts on historically…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What Are Other People Around You Thinking at a Meeting?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 4, 2013

    Part of my job is going to meetings, especially this time of year. It's one way I keep current with what farmers are thinking and what industry and Extension believes are hot topics. I've been to my share of meetings this winter, and my waistline, already big enough, is even bigger now. The best way to get people NOT to come back to your meeting is to have bad food! Even so, food isn't why I go to meetings, but it's an added perk. At about every meeting there's been…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Organic Conference Draws Big Crowd

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 4, 2013

    Every couple years, I attend the Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society’s winter meeting to see what’s going on in organic business. North Dakota and South Dakota are among the leading organic grain producing states in the U.S. This year’s meeting in Aberdeen, S.D., was well attended -- a record 500 people registered. NPSAS offers something for everybody in the organic business. There were sessions for grain growers, livestock producers, gardeners and even…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    So God made a farmer, or in this case, a farmer's daughter

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on February 4, 2013

    After the all the guests had left, and what was left of the food was put away, I was able to finally sit down and enjoy the Super Bowl Sunday evening. Sitting on the couch struggling to stay awake, a commercial came on. An open snow-covered cornfield left to the cows to graze then faded into aerial shots of farms, and rural towns and farmers with their dogs, livestock, crops, etc. Then I heard his voice. Paul Harvey started in on his famous speech 'So God Made a Farmer…

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  • Don McCabe

    NRDs Stand Test Of Time After 40 Years

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on February 1, 2013

    When the board members and staff of Nebraska's natural resources districts get together, as they did in Lincoln in late January, the debates over water and irrigation issues are far from boring. They arrive in Lincoln in late January each year to review bills introduced in the Unicameral. Delegates representing the state's 23 NRDs spend several hours in serious, sometimes heated debate, before their association takes positions on the measures. Another wave of water-related…

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