• Tyler Harris

    Future of agriculture in good hands

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 13, 2015

    Lincoln's historic Haymarket and Pinnacle Bank Arena were flooded with blue and gold as FFA-ers from chapters across Nebraska gathered for the 87th annual Nebraska State FFA Convention last week. This may have been my first year judging State Proficiency finalists, but I think my fellow judges would agree that after interviewing FFA members for an entire day, it's safe to say the future of agriculture in Nebraska and the U.S. is in good hands. As has been pointed out over the last few…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Excited to explore Nebraska Ag

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 7, 2015

    These last three years have flown by quickly. While I'm excited to be settled in to my new role as editor of the Nebraska Farmer, it goes without saying at this point that I've got some mighty big shoes to fill taking over the role of Don McCabe, who, after writing for the Nebraska Farmer for 37 years, has become a well-known friend of agriculture throughout the state. In addition to those who have worked with Don at the Nebraska Farmer, it seems, even in the short time I've been…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Top Ten named for Iowa's Best Burger contest

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 18, 2015

    It's that time of year once again for the Iowa's Best Burger contest. For the last six years, Iowans have nominated their favorite burger joints to take the title of best burger in Iowa. For the last three years, those of us from the Creston area have had the honor of having our own local restaurant, the Elm's Club, make the Top Ten. This year, nominations came from towns of 1,000 to metropolitan areas of over half a million. From February 11 to March 10, Iowans made over…

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  • Tyler Harris

    "Border Battle" brings in 7,642 pounds of donated food

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 6, 2015

    The Western Farm Show is a Kansas City tradition that dates back to 1960 and has been held at the American Royal Complex in the historic West Bottoms every year since. Twenty five years ago, the Western Farm Show started another tradition in conjunction with National FFA Week – hosting FFA advisors and students. "We've thought for years we should have an FFA Day at the Farm Show. FFA members are the future of our industry and our work force. There's a great tie in to this…

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  • Tyler Harris

    UAS taking flight in Europe

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on February 24, 2015

    In the U.S., unmanned aerial systems, or UAS, are still considered fairly new technology. The producers who are putting them to use on their own farms are still early adopters. However, over 4,000 miles away in France, Germany, and other parts of Europe, those in the ag sector have had a head start in flying UAS commercially. "They're basically taking what we want to do and moving forward with it. Having the legal authority to go out and fly already puts them a couple years ahead of…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Bringing more dollars into Missouri

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on February 18, 2015

    Not long ago, I heard Jim Gerrish refer to Missouri as the "Garden of Eden" of grazing. It's not hard to see why. For a long time, Missouri has been a prime location for cow-calf producers. In fact, Missouri ranks third in beef cow numbers in the U.S. after Oklahoma and Texas, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service's 2015 cattle inventory report. After adding 103,000 beef cows in 2013, Missouri added another 61,000 in 2014, the total is now…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Sustainability – what does it mean?

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on January 24, 2015

    Merriam Webster's online dictionary defines "sustainable" as capable of being sustained, of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged, and of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods. However, ask different groups of consumers and producers and the definition probably won't be so clear-cut. Sustainability is a word heard often, whether it's in the grocery store…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Meat is Medicine

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on January 1, 2015

    I hope all the farm and ranch families out there have had a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year, and had the chance to slow down, take a break from hectic schedules, spend some time catching up with friends and family, and enjoying a holiday smorgasbord of beef, pork, and poultry. Diet and nutrition are common topics of conversation for everyone this time of year, and of considerable importance for those in the ag world, considering with 2014 over, the USDA and U.S…

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  • Tyler Harris

    What Does Autonomous Agriculture Look Like?

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on December 21, 2014

    Back in spring of 2013 I wrote about what "farming of the future" might look like – through the retro-futuristic lens of 1968. It was during the time of the Green Revolution, but some of the predictions seemed a little overambitious for the time. Over this last week, I came to the realization that some of these predictions might not be as far off as they seem – we might not have had 500-bushel corn or autonomous tractors by the year 2000, but, after some of the…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Thousands of Runners Refuel With Hot Beef Stew

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on November 28, 2014

    There are days I consider myself a die-hard runner. That is, until I witness the weather extremes that so often seem to fall in line with the Living History Farms Off-Road Race each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Last year was a perfect example, when temperatures were in the single digits. Fortunately, this year, temperatures were much more runner-friendly, with highs in the mid-50s. Even with these more favorable running conditions, the high-quality protein beef provides is an…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Setting a Good Example in Water Conservation

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on November 22, 2014

    "Daddy's cotton grows so high, it sucks the water table dry. His rolling sprinklers circle by, bleeding it to the bone…" It's a bit of a sardonic perspective, but James McMurtry's "Levelland," a High Plains hymn about growing up in a small town on the Llano Estacado in Texas, may foretell more truth about the distant future of the Ogallala Aquifer than he realized when he wrote it nearly 20 years ago. However, even then, folks were voicing concerns over…

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  • Tyler Harris

    AG Koster's Egg Lawsuit Comes Under Fire

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on October 29, 2014

    Over the last few years, Missouri agriculture seems to have had more than its share of attention from animal activist group HSUS. After a U.S. District Court Judge dismissed a lawsuit brought forth by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and attorney generals from four other states against California's AB1437 legislation, HSUS responded last week with a press release claiming AG Koster exceeded the amount of taxpayer dollars he promised to spend on the lawsuit. The lawsuit goes back to…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Leftovers Everybody Wants

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on October 10, 2014

    The last couple weeks have been busy for Kansas City. Following a win by the Royals, earning them a place in the playoffs for the first time since 1985, Kansas Citians had another Royal event this weekend. Visitors from across the world filled the West Bottoms district to be greeted by the enticing aroma of barbecue for a long-standing Kansas City tradition – the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. Barbecue has been a Kansas City mainstay for years – since Henry Perry…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Data Disclosure: Do The Risks Outweigh The Benefits?

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on September 24, 2014

    Whether it's a breach of customer data or a celebrity photo hack, issues of data security have made headlines numerous times in the last year. So, with harvest in full swing, it's easy to why some farmers are concerned over data disclosure. However, when it comes to yield data, Dr. Shannon Ferrell, agricultural law professor at Oklahoma State University, says some of this fear may not be well-founded. "A lot of farmers are saying I just don't want anyone knowing what I'm…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Recognizing Farm Families at the Missouri State Fair

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on August 19, 2014

    Growing up in Iowa, one of the last things I had left to look forward to before summer ended and school started up was the state fair – being from a state swamped in state fair tradition, this meant one of the largest in the nation. Since 1841, when the nation's first state fair was held in Syracuse, New York, state fairs across the U.S. have served as a venue for competition, recreation, and a celebration of agriculture. While agriculture can, at times, be overshadowed by the…

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  • Tyler Harris

    How A 1940s Tractor Went From A River Bottom To A Museum

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on August 3, 2014

    You see it often. A tractor breaks down after years of use, and is left where it stands. It's a common thread among antique tractor aficionados, and the places they find their next project ranges from the side of a field to a river bottom – In Jerry Kohl's case, the Republican River near Hardy, Nebraska, about 150 miles southwest of Lincoln. "This one had rolled off to the side, and the unique thing was it was right along the Republican River," says Kohl. "As it…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Missouri Farmers Care Working to Finish Strong Before Aug. 5

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on July 24, 2014

    When August 5 rolls around, people across the Show-Me-State will vote on an Amendment to the Missouri Constitution, one which Missouri Farmers Care says will "protect the hard-working Missouri farm families who dedicate their lives to feeding our families; saving thousands of Missouri jobs and ensuring our families continue to have access to quality food at the grocery store." Amendment 1, otherwise known as the Missouri Farming Rights Amendment or Right to Farm, seeks to guarantee…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Google Glass: Where Will It Fit In Agriculture?

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on July 19, 2014

    It hasn't been formally launched yet, but folks in the tech world already can't stop talking about it. Those who are using Google Glass pre-launch are referred to as Explorers – tech-savvy early adopters who were chosen to get an early look at this cutting edge technology through the Google Explorer program. As it turns out, farmers can make pretty good Explorers. For those not familiar with this wearable technology, smart glasses are essentially a pair of glasses with a…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Small Missouri Town Shows Big Support For Tractor Pull

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on June 20, 2014

    John Deere Green, Case IH Red, even some Minneapolis Moline Prairie Gold could be found at the Mexico Young Farmers Truck and Tractor Pull this weekend, as well as over 3,000 spectators, including myself. After living in Missouri for nearly two years, I thought it was about time I checked out my first Missouri tractor pull this weekend. Growing up in rural southern Iowa, I've been going to truck and tractor pulls my entire life, but I quickly found out Missourians take it to a different…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Pork Industry Pressing On In Fight Against PEDV

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on June 14, 2014

    The 2014 World Pork Expo wrapped up last week after three days of educational seminars, discussions on hot industry topics, swine shows, and ample amounts of tasty pork at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. At last year's Expo, one of the key topics, the emergence of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV in the U.S. swine herd, was just showing up on the radar for pork producers and ag journalists alike, myself included. A year later, industry officials, veterinarians, and…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Keep Your Shovel Handy

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on May 24, 2014

    "I could never figure out what the sky was thinking, but the soil, she don't keep too many secrets." Those are some of the few words of Doc Platter, an elderly Montana rancher in the television series, "King of the Hill." I apologize for the pop culture reference, but Doc's words may have had more wisdom than most of the show's viewers probably realized. There's a reason cover crop gurus like Steve Groff encourage farmers to keep a shovel handy. Dig around…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Tour Sees Impact of Drought on Winter Wheat Crop

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on May 3, 2014

    The 2014 Winter Wheat Tour wrapped up in Kansas City Thursday afternoon after 20 car groups traveled throughout Kansas, parts of southern Nebraska, and northern Oklahoma, to evaluate the 2014 hard red winter wheat crop. Out of the total 587 stops, the average calculated yield for the three days was 32.8 bushels per acre – 6.7 less than the 2013 average of 41.1 bushels per acre. As one of the tour participants this year and last year, a noticeable difference is how consistently low…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Cattle Handling Made Easier With Man's Best Friend

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 28, 2014

    In the past couple of months, I've visited with several cattlemen who understand man's best friend can also be cattleman's best friend. One of these cattlemen, National Cattledog Association director and 2013 National Finals Open Finals Champion Handler, Jeff Mundorf, informed me of the common belief that one well-trained cattledog can take the place of three horseback cattle handlers. It's hard enough to find help working cattle, but even tougher to find someone with…

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