• Willie Vogt

    What a Difference 30 Years Can Make

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 31, 2009

    When you go to a lot of information-packed media conferences about new equipment there's plenty of excitement, hoopla and energy surrounding the launch of a new piece of equipment. But sometimes the skeptical journalist part of me listens to engineers talking about product claims and how they work and wonders if that'll really happen in the field. Earlier this week I got the chance to join some friends at a major agency based in Fargo, N.D. - AdFarm - for a unique tour they take where they…

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  • John Vogel

    Wolff Is Needed In Washington

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 30, 2009

    The Organic Consumers Association, Oregon’s Physicians for Social Responsibility and other activists groups are strenuously opposing Pennsylvania Ag Secretary Dennis Wolff as the nominee for USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety. I’d expect no less from groups that froth at the mouth about a lot of issues they have only a cosmetic understanding of.   Yes, I know Wolff. He’s a good, practical-minded man and a past Master Farmer who has admirably led the state Ag Department and the Northeast…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Hay day fun

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 30, 2009

    “I just love growing hay.”   I heard that from not one, but two Dakota farmers this week.   Mike Lentsch, Lentsch Hay Farms, Veblen, S.D. told me how much he enjoys haying while we bounced across one of the highest points in the Sisseton Hills with his baler. Lentsch grows grass hay mixes mostly for the horse market in the Midwest.   About the only thing he likes better that growing hay is meeting the people who buy his hay.   “They’re the best,” he says.   Dave Berndt, White, S.D…

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  • Josh Flint

    Summer Meeting Circuit Is Full of Expert Advice

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 27, 2009

    Each year, summer brings a fantastic slate of conferences and meetings, most of which bring in some nice speaking talent.   A couple weeks ago, I attended Wyffels Hybrids' Corn Strategies conference in Decatur. Once again, the speaker panel was great. Lots of tips, tricks and good old advice worth pondering.   During this particular meeting, I enjoyed hearing Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo's chief ag economist. After reviewing my notes, I found three tidbits of wisdom worth pondering…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Exciting Times Continue at County Fairs

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 26, 2009

    My opinion of county fairs expressed last week hasn't changed. I just endured mine. It was a long week, but the kids had fun. There were highs, like a grand champion with foods, and plenty of lows, like lots of green ribbons with sheep. All in all, it was what county fairs are - a training ground for kids.   Reports from various county fairs produced three stories I've just got to share. The imagination in these three instances is incredible, and can show what happens when rural people get…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Development Beat Marches On

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 23, 2009

    We've been in "these economic times" so long that for some it may appear as if this is the new normal. But that hasn't stopped the research and development activities at equipment makers. You're already going to get a good look at some new equipment at the upcoming fall farm shows, and today the veil came off of the latest products from Polaris. You can check out the new Ranger, including an electric version (yep, everyone's getting into that business) in a report by Dan Crummett, who also…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    New technologies for ag

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 22, 2009

      I caught two different glimpses of ag technology the other day.   One had names like Wolverine, Rimfire and Ignite.   The other had names like Ashley, Reid and Josiah.   Wolverine, Rimfire and Ignite are herbicides that Bayer Crop Science showed off at itsresearch farm near Sabin, Minn. The site is one of several in the U.S. that Bayer uses to test new product straight off the lab bench. Bayer has nine new products that will be on coming on the market in the next 3 to 5 years. “The…

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  • Tom Bechman

    County Fairs Still Hold Special Magic

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 19, 2009

    No two are exactly the same. If they were, it would spoil the uniqueness that is a county fair. Whether your county fair last four days or fourteen, brings in 10,000 people a night or just a couple hundred, it's an annual happening that many people, especially country people, frame their summers around.   Some folks who read this piece might think I've been in the sun too long. My family considers me just one step short of the "Grinch that Stole Christmas," only I would be the "Grinch that…

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  • Josh Flint

    What's in a Domain Name?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 17, 2009

    For me, e-mail is an indispensable tool. In fact, my wife says I'm addicted. She bases this on the fact that I continue to check e-mail right up to the point my head hits the pillow.   I have two e-mail accounts: work and personal. My work e-mail server is provided by Farm Progress. My address is jflint@farmprogress.com. This means the username is jflint, while farmprogress.com is the domain name.   Over the past year, I've been compiling a Master Farmer e-mail list. I've noticed folks put…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Aussie Travel Tour Continues

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 16, 2009

    The orange tractors pulling campers must be quite a site as they roll through a town. These foreign-looking Chamberlain machines offer a glimpse at ag machines of the past - an Australian past - but they remain trusty travel companions. And the volunteers of for TransWorldTractorTreks.com, are enjoying their trip to the states. The intrepid group recently rolled through Penfield, IL during Historic Farm Days and Prairie Farmer Associate Editor Josh Flint caught up with them. Josh tells me he…

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  • Holly Spangler

    This Has Nothing to Do with Farming

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 14, 2009

    The Marietta Testicle Festival was held this past weekend. And on the giant roadside sign, they misspelled testicle. I could not make this up. Registered users can comment on this…

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  • Tim White

    The Caddy Speaks Part II

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 14, 2009

    I know I left you hanging a month ago. I promised I would update my description of caddying in a U.S. Open qualifying round, but I didn’t. (See Buckeye Farm Beat blog for June 9.) Well it was great – extra great. My daughter Allie shot a 68 on her second 18 that day, which indeed was good enough to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. So last week I took another vacation break and carried the bag for 7 straight days of golf (3 practice rounds and 4 regulation rounds) at the Old Course at…

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  • John Vogel

    Economic Aftershocks To Shake Agriculture

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 14, 2009

    At last week’s 25 x 25 forum, I asked a long-time Ag Department employee, “Still got a job?” Smiling, he gave me his crossed fingers “luck” sign. He’s one of the luckier ones.   That same day, workers at a county Soil and Water Conservation District office got the word that they were being layed off – at least temporarily. In Pennsylvania, each round of the state’s budgetary battle brought a new round of lay-offs and budget slashing at many levels.   All across America, I’m hearing of…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Set Seven Extra Plates for Dinner

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 13, 2009

    If you're the parent of an Indiana FFA state officer and you want to see him or her, the best way to do it is invite them to dinner. These fine young people are suckers for food, almost any kind, but especially home-cooked food.   It's a pleasure to have my son, Daniel, serving as Indiana FFA state treasurer this year. In Indiana that means a year away from college, living at the FFA Center near Trafalgar, and devoting his entire time to doing projects and being a goodwill ambassador for…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Missouri River fishing story

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 13, 2009

    The best story I heard this week on a trip to Carrington and Harvey, N.D., was a story about fishing on the Missouri River.   Shannon Berndt, Northern Pulse Growers Association executive director and a Pollock, S.D., native tells this story:   A friend of theirs spotted a boat out on the Missouri River that looked like it was in trouble. Three young kinds were crowded up in the bow of the boat. And a man stood in the stern, flailing his arms at something.   Their friend swung over to find…

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  • Josh Flint

    Remembering the Harvest Practices of Yesterday

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 12, 2009

     When the rain started falling during Historic Farm Days in Penfield, I made my way to the antique implement display, which was located inside a museum.   1950 Haas, owned by Alan Haas of Roanoke, IL.                  1941 McCormick-Deering, owned by Steward Brothers' of                                                                                                  Springport, Mich. Inside, I met the Cleaver family, from Paris, Ky. Silas and Judy had brought their grandson, Jacob, to…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Organic Dairy Farmers Set for Symbolic Dumping of Milk

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 10, 2009

    The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based non-profit fighting for small-scale agriculture, is calling on organic milk producers to stage a symbolic milk dump during a "Save the Organic Family Dairy Farm Rally" at the LaCrosse Interstate Fair in West Salem, Wisc., on July 16. The institute says that giant factory farms are producing a "tidal wave" of milk that threatens to wash family farmers right out of the business. According to their press release, more than 40 percent of the nation's…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Plan To Cancel Wind Farm No Big Surprise

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 10, 2009

    It sure didn't come as a surprise to me to hear that Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has decided that maybe building the world's largest wind farm in the wilds of west Texas isn't such a great idea after all. This week, the billionaire tycoon, who made front page headlines across the country and spent millions in TV air time to promote wind power as a alternative to imported oil, announced that he is backing out of the wind farm and has 687 giant wind turbines for sale. It will be…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Applying Tech Everywhere

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 10, 2009

    A long time ago, I was traveling in Tennessee and I ran across a sage of a man who worked with us on a mission trip in the Cumberland Mountains. He was a poet, and a designer of beautiful homes made with rustic local wood that would be perfect as cabins or homes anywhere in the country. He was a real craftsman. In one conversation with him, he started talking about the use of "appropriate" technology. A long-time resident, and this was before cell phones became standard stuff for us all, this…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Battle Against 'Artificial' Hormones Misguided on Many Levels

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 7, 2009

    I had an interesting conversation today with a young woman who seemed convinced that the current problems in the dairy industry are self-induced. The July Kansas Farmer looked into low prices in the dairy industry and what should be done to combat them and she seemed to think the answer would be to just stop using what she called "artificial hormones." It appears that most of her information came from the particularly inaccurate and politically motivated  web site of the "Center for…

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  • Holly Spangler

    YouTube Therapy

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 7, 2009

    There’s a whole lot of variety on YouTube, and wacky farming stuff is just the start. Used to, we all got emails of photos showing some poor guy’s bad day. More frequently, however, those emails now direct us to YouTube, where someone’s posted a video of something like, say, their buried JD 4930 being pulled out of the mud by a nice big four-wheel drive 9300. In case you missed that one, check it out below:   Or even better, check out a…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Harvest Winding Down

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 6, 2009

    Rain during wheat harvest is never exactly welcome, but last weekend's showers across northern Kansas had a side benefit: they provided a Fourth of July holiday from wheat harvest for most of the producers who still have wheat to cut. Across much of the state, harvest is winding down and the numbers are looking surprisingly good in most areas. Northwest Kansas, always the last to start harvest because the higher elevations make the crop mature later, is just getting a good start and…

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  • John Vogel

    THIS is Our America!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 4, 2009

    Sometimes, we all need to slow down and just take in our awesome land. One of the greatest benefits of traveling the rural byways is catching glimpses of the real America – not the glitzy Hollywood stuff or political power broker shenanigans nor the babbling mouths that dominate television. This is the America I see on this fourth day of July 2009:   Red, white and blue wave from front porches, flag poles, street signs, memorial gardens . . ..   The sun brushes the landscape in hues of…

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  • Tim White

    Aussie Trekers Travel Ohio

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 3, 2009

    Make no mistake about it. Tractor club people are a crazy and adventurous bunch. No matter what continent they come from. But then there is Australian crazy -- as in how about we drive our tractors across the continent? I mean adventurous as in now that we’ve already encircled Australia a couple of times -- how about we trek across the United States?   As in we will put our Chamberlain G9 tractors in shipping containers and send them to Baltimore. We’ll get on eBay and buy five or six motor…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Rumor Mill Fires Up

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 3, 2009

    Last week Agco's CEO Martin Richenhagen was quoted by the news service Reuters saying that he is "very interested" in the possibility of doing a major merger or acquisition deal in North America, and tongues started wagging. The exclusive interview with Reuters was also optimistic that this would be a good year for farm income and equipment sales. Mr. Richenhagen is a tough competitor and he has a strong understanding of the forces at work in the market. But an acquisition in North America? Of…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Saving 'Private Sow?'

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 2, 2009

    Many of you have no doubt seen the movie 'Saving Private Ryan,' where a small band of soldiers are detailed to find and bring back Private Ryan, the last remaining family member after his brothers, unbeknownst to him, have already been killed in battle fighting in World War II. The mission was to send Ryan home to safety so that his parents wouldn't lose all their sons to war. Along the way, the search party encountered incredible obstacles, and suffered casualties of their own.   So what's…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    My Carbon Footprint Grew To Sasquatch Size

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 1, 2009

    My carbon footprint expanded big time last night.   I finally got around to mowing a three acre patch on my farmstead. I used to grow pumpkins there, but with the kids grown up and the grandkids too far away I was thinking of replanting it to trees. Only this year, the ground was too wet to do anything but watch the weeds grow.   The pennycress had gotten waist high and was as pretty and even as a carefully tended wheat field. But the waterhemp, lambsquarter and Canada thistle were…

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  • Josh Flint

    Finding the Humor in Honesty

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 1, 2009

    It seems true life is always funnier than fiction. Case in point: I'm still laughing about something that happened last week. I was at the Master of Beef Advocacy graduation session in Collinsville, Ill. Daren Williams, the program coordinator with National Cattlemen's Beef Association, was explaining how to be advocates for beef in everyday life. Early on, Williams asked the class if we knew someone who was a practicing vegetarian. Theo Graff was one of the only students who didn't know a…

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  • Willie Vogt

    The March to Cleaner Engines Continues

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 1, 2009

    During a Deere media event last week - for machines you can learn more about after Aug. 20 - the company offered up a quick rundown on the options ahead for meeting more stringent emissions rules set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We've covered some of these in past Farmer Iron columns but some bears repeating. Companies are dealing with essentially two standards that go into effect pretty closely. First is interim Tier 4, then there's full Tier 4. Interim Tier 4 - or IT4 as…

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