• Holly Spangler

    Loose: Not Taking Questions

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 31, 2012

    It's been a couple weeks since the agriculture community did a full-bodied freak-out regarding writer Terence Loose's Yahoo Education story. Like a lot of you, the story has hung in my brain, if for no other reason than as a journalist, it struck me as such a ridiculous piece of non-factual work that I thought surely there would be some response from Yahoo or the writer regarding, you know, actual facts – which have been bountifully supplied throughout the Internet, over the airwaves and…

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  • Curt Arens

    There's No Crying in Farming

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 31, 2012

    A good friend once told me that if we spent the time we usually waist complaining on more productive pursuits, we would have less to complain about in the first place. For some folks, whining is a way of life. But in my opinion, like baseball, there’s no crying in farming. There’s no time to cry or whine. There is only time to move forward. In our rural communities and on our farms, there are days that don’t go well. Things often seem like they are falling apart. Perhaps…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Holy Hamburger!

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 30, 2012

    Some consumers are already scared of their food. Despite a lack of evidence, they fear that the raw material isn’t safe because it has been genetically modified, that giant meat packers will cut any corner to make a profit and that USDA inspectors are looking the other way all the time. New York Times best-selling author Alex Kava taps into all three fears in her new book, Hotwire. In her ripped-from-the-headlines style, Kava spins a tale where hamburger in school lunches is contaminated…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Truth is Stranger Than Fiction- Especially in Animal World

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 30, 2012

    In the last issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer we promised an update on 4-H pig and lamb farrowings in the Web Exclusive once the February issue reaches mailboxes around Feb 1. You will still see that exclusive. Some have found lambs slow to arrive- the heat last summer didn’t make for efficient cycling and breeding. Several pigs have been pulled in 4-H herds- that’s nothing new with the heavier muscling most judges seek in gilts today. Yet one judge placed a gilt last in a show last…

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  • Tim White

    How’s that Ag Major Working Out for You?

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on January 27, 2012

    Years ago I switched my personal email address from America On Line to Yahoo - ya that was a lot of years ago! So my home page opens to Yahoo, which of course has their idea of the day’s eye-catching news story at the top of the page.  Apparently lists are a widely-read choice. Post a list of the ten least healthy breakfast juices and people flock. Frankly I am kind of a sucker for some of their list stories - like the Ten Best Towns to Retire In. I kind of lean to…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Equipment Spotlight Shining on Ag

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 27, 2012

    You hear a lot of news these days about the volatile global market. I know it's wreaking havoc on your risk management plan, but in farm equipment the news is pretty good. According to a release from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, a meeting of key key global associations offered up some pretty good news this week. AEM was involved in the annual meeting of the Agrievolution Economic Working Group held at the EIMA Agrimach exhibition New Delhi, India (it's not a show on my coverage…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Late-January List of Semi-Related Thoughts

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 26, 2012

    When in doubt, make a list. Right? 1.    I got to spend an evening last week with the Knox County Pork Producers, who were kind enough to invite me to speak at their annual meeting. If, like me, you wonder how many pork producers there could be in Knox County, it turns out there are a lot. I had no idea. Many, but not all, contract with The Maschoffs. Our table had some great conversations about the recent "useless ag degrees" story. We were also fortunate to have the…

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  • Josh Flint

    Let's All Calm Down About the Yahoo Ag Degree Article

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 26, 2012

    I’ve never seen so much outrage over something that doesn't deserve a second thought. I’m speaking of Terence Loose’s “College Majors That Are Useless” article. Everyone in the ag industry is up in arms over this piece of terrible journalism. Calm down folks, it’s Yahoo, which in my mind is a step or two above the National Enquirer in terms of news quality. At this very moment, three of the top five news items aren’t even news (a ball boy made an…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Cover Crops Prove Value in Drought

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 25, 2012

    Gail Fuller farms near Emporia and like most of Kansas, was hit hard by severe heat and dry weather conditions last summer. At the end of the summer, he was more convinced that ever that continuous cover crops pay, even with no rain and temperatures over 100 degrees for weeks. Fuller told attendees at the annual No-Till on the Plains Conference in Salina that soil temperatures on acres with cover crops were as much as 30 degrees cooler than without them. His latest experiment: companion…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Warm Weather Is Double Edged Sword For Wheat Farmers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 24, 2012

    TV weathermen are on a nightly rant about how "nice" the January weather is as temperatures in the 50s and 60s continue to dominate the scene, with more of the same in the forecast for the end of the month. As we move toward February, we're nearing the end of traditional winter and farmers are watching wheat fields with trepidation. Moisture loss at this time of year is critical to wheat farmers and it is occurring in a serious way. South Central Kansas has received no rain or snow for…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Dress For Success Should Be More Than a Motto

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 23, 2012

    Two adult FFA alumni volunteers, Crystal Cheek and Richard Huffine, came to a meeting of the Franklin FFA Chapter recently to provide a practical demonstration on why dressing properly and using good manners, maintaining good posture and in short, acting professional, is still important today. The FFA members have many contests in the spring of the year, and they're often judged on first impression. Is their jacket zipped? Are they standing straight and engaged with the audience? Is their hair…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Shooting Muskrats and Raising Tax Caps

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 23, 2012

    Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union president and a Conde, S.D. farmer, says he’s an optimistic pessimist . He hopes for the best but plans for the worst. He described himself that way in his latest Union Farmer column, in which he described what he expects to see happen at the state legislature this year. It’s worth passing on. “First I predict there will be no dramatic change in South Dakota laws addressed by the state legislature this year,” he wrote…

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  • Curt Arens

    For Farm Employees, Mental Wages are Important

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 23, 2012

    At the University of Nebraska Extension crop production clinics held around the state recently, one of the sessions was particularly telling, and should have made farm employers evaluate their operations, and how they treat family members and employees working the farm. UNL Extension educator, Tim Lemmons, told a group of farmers at the Norfolk clinic that employers “should never hold back praise.” He told the group that salary is important to Nebraska employees, but perhaps not…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Birthday Farm Bike Goes on Sale

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 20, 2012

    Today is a milestone day for DEKALB. The company got its start 100 years ago when a group of 11 northern Illinois farmers, bankers and county officials started what became the DEKALB brand. To celebrate the milestone for the tech-driven farm-focused company, DEKALB commissioned the creation of its own "chopper" motorcycle, which got its debut at the 2011 Farm Progress Show and 2011 Husker Harvest Days events. The bike is on its whirlwind tour, but starting today, you can bid on the bike to…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    In Farm Country, Support for Light-Squared: What?!

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 19, 2012

    Most folks in farm country have weighed in against the licensing of Light-Squared, the new player in the cell phone market that promises to deliver broadband to the remotest areas of rural America where there is currently no signal. Problem is, the delivery comes on the frequency next door to GPS. It is the equivalent, said one presenter at Thursday's Kansas Agricultural Technologies Conference, of trying to speak in a hotel conference room while Led Zepplin cranks up at full bore in the…

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  • John Vogel

    Lessons From The Great Recession: Will We Learn Them?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on January 18, 2012

    Will we learn enough from the Great Recession to avoid repeating them for at least one generation? I’m hoping this blog rates as a “foot-in-mouth” award winner. But we humans have never been very good learners of history – even recent history! Each generation somehow grows into believing that the old fogies of the previous generation made stupid mistakes that today’s enlightened generation wouldn’t dream of making. And so goes the tripping over…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Our Friend, Greg

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 17, 2012

    I’d like to tell you about our friend, Greg. Greg was a father, a husband, a friend and a farmer, and he was killed in a devastating car accident last week as a snowstorm blew into Fulton County. And so it is that a tiny farm community in a corner of western Illinois mourns the loss of a man who loved so well and was respected by so many that 1,500 people passed through our little white church in the country to tell his family what he meant to them. 1,500 people. Just think about…

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  • Josh Flint

    Tips for Marketing Your Farm to Potential Landlords

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 17, 2012

    Most folks define marketing as how well you sell your crop. In the February Prairie Farmer, we’re looking at a different type of marketing. How well do you market your farm to potential landlords? This series of stories started with some fairly simple farm resume questions. Pretty soon, I was collecting advice for young farmers on how to gain acreage. It’s a huge topic with a lot of “fine lines.” For example, experts agree it’s o.k. to send out introductory…

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  • Tim White

    Gebhardt Named Chief of Soil and Water Resources

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on January 17, 2012

    Karl Gebhardt, 59, has been named the new chief of the Division of Soil and Water Resources of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He was appointed by Jim Zehringer, director of ODNR a week ago. Gebhardt was raised on a small farm in Mahoning County and brings a wide range of experience to the job including numerous positions at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation where he started as an organizational director and ended as director of local affairs. He left the group in 1996 to go to work on…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Where Are All My Friends Going?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 16, 2012

    If you like to read what I write, don't panic. I have no intentions of retiring in the foreseeable future- even in the non-foreseeable future for that matter. My wife, Carla, and I, still have two kids in college and a junior in high school. They don't just hand out those degrees these days without expecting payment up front. I will be working for a long time, Lord and employers willing. That's good. I like to meet people, and I like to write. I've been doing this going on 31 years this…

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  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm There is Value to Walking

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 16, 2012

    I’m sure there are many readers who would heartily disagree with me. But, I think sometimes doing things the hard way is better than taking the easy route. In these days on the farm when vehicles and machines allow us to ride much of the time, there are also times when a farmer can learn much by simply walking. I'm not talking about farmers who are disabled, injured or suffering physically and need these valuable vehicles and tools to do their job. I'm talking about farmers like…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Wow! Look At These Corn Yields

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 13, 2012

    There should have been a big drum roll at the South Dakota Corn Growers Association's annual meeting when they presented plaques to the yield contest winners. There were some impressive yields in 2011. The top yield was 294 bushels per acre entered by David Ogle, Harrold, S.D., in a the no-till/strip till category. But this isn’t the highest yield ever in the contest. Steve Breding, Chamberlain, had a 297 bu/a yield in 2009 in the same category. SDCGA published a yield contest results…

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  • John Vogel

    In Case You Haven't Noticed . . .

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on January 13, 2012

    If you’re planning to market remaining grain inventories on your “usual” schedule, you’re likely to lose what I call “opportunity income”. There’s good reason why grain trucks have been speeding by my office on their way to markets at a much higher rate than normal. If you intend to forego crop insurance coverage because you’ve never liked laying out that extra cash, you’re probably going to lose out on guaranteed revenue from crops plus…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Crop Hopes Rise on Wet December

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 12, 2012

    The good news is the December rains -- an average of 1.69 inches across the state -- really helped the hard red  wheat crop recover from a dry summer and fall. Topsoil moisture is now adequate and the current cold spell should help restore winter hardiness to the crop. The extra warm weather of early January -- highs pushing 60 -- were enough to cause the wheat to green up and even start growing across southern Kansas. But agronomists say that night-time temperatures below freezing…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Wow! Look At These Corn Yields.

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 12, 2012

    There should have been a big drum roll at the South Dakota Corn Growers Association when they presented plaques to the yield contest winners. There were some impressive yields in 2011. The top yield was 294 bushels per acre entered by David Ogle, Harrold, S.D., in a the no-till/strip till category. But this isn't the highest yield ever in the contest. Steve Breding, Chamberlain, had a 297 bu/a yield in 2009 in the same category. SDCGA published a yield contest results booklet and included a…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Farmers Respond to Video Contest

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 11, 2012

    When you work with something day in and day out you grow to love it or hate it. Well the five finalists in Unverferth Manufacturing's Brent grain cart video contest are definitely having a love fest with these machines. The idea of a customer-generated video contest offers users the chance to tell why they like a piece of equipment or product - it's an idea that's growing in popularity for consumer products. But a grain cart? Yep, the five finalists have been selected. First announced in June…

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  • Holly Spangler

    So How Many Acres DO You Farm?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 11, 2012

    I received a most thoughtful response to last week's blog, where I re-told my cautionary feelings about sharing information with the New York Times. The reader, Bill Graff (farmer and former IL FSA head), offered up this bit of insight: "We farmers probably give out way too much information. My wife, Judi, did not grow up on a farm and she thinks farmers let too many of their business decisions go out of their mouths that should 'never leave their lips,' as she says. I think we…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Another Reminder Not to Judge a Book By Its Cover

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 9, 2012

    My wife, Carla, and I ventured into Amish country in southern Indiana near Montgomery recently. There are many stories worth telling from that trip. The one that stands out the most, however, was an incident and conversation I had standing in line at an auction barn waiting to pay for something I purchased. Dinky's Auction Barn will be the subject for another day. At least seven rings were up and going at one time, selling everything from toy tractors to old sofas to lumber to boxes of used…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Prayers for a Cattlewoman

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 9, 2012

    It's with a heavy heart that many of us received the news late Monday that our friend and colleague, Maralee Johnson, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Maralee is Executive Vice President of the Illinois Beef Association, and has served its members for some 20 years. Maralee was diagnosed just this past Friday, and the tumor is located in an inner area of the brain where it can't be removed. As I sit here thinking of Maralee and her family – I went to college with…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farm Families, Are You Listening?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 9, 2012

    A wise farm friend once told me that the number one rule to being a good listener is to simply – stop talking. The number two rule to being a good listener is to refer back to rule number one. I guess we were given two ears and only one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we speak. As a farm operator, I firmly believe that we need to shout out our positive message as the world’s food producers. We need to let folks know in any way possible about the good…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Rest of the Best From Lake Region Extension Round Up

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 7, 2012

    At the second day of the NDSU Extension Lake Region Round Up, I heard several tips on how to control dandelion and Canada thistle in cropland, push soybean yields to new yield heights and how to write a flexible cash rent that’s a winner for the landlord and the tenant. Best spring dandelion control –Express plus glyphosatefor fields to be planted to corn or soybeans. Greg Andres, NDSU Extension agronomist, Carrington Research and Extension Center., says field should be…

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  • Holly Spangler

    When the New York Times Calls

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on January 6, 2012

    This I know to be true: there's very little to humble the interviewer like being interviewed themselves. Take yesterday, for example. The phone rang and the man on the other end told me he was with the New York Times. He wondered how my husband and I felt about the CME in the wake of the MF Global collapse. (These sorts of things just don't happen around here. In fact, had a colleague in Kansas not told me last fall that he'd given our names to this guy, I might have accused him of being…

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  • Willie Vogt

    New Tillage, Farm Websites Offer Info

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on January 4, 2012

    It's both easier and harder to keep up with what's new these days. Sure there's a lot of information out there (provided by Yours Truly and my worthy competitors) to help you keep up, but companies are also stepping up with new information delivered in new ways as well. A couple dropped into the ol' email in-box this week that I thought you might find interesting. First up is word that HCC Inc., has launched a new mini-site focused exclusively on their vertical tillage tool, the Smart-Till…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Sometimes The Answer is Right In Front Of Your Nose!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 3, 2012

    I was slow to winterize things around the barn this year where we raise sheep and feeder pigs for my daughter, Kayla’s, meat sales business. Perhaps it was because there weren’t cold stretches early in November and December. It was on my ‘Things to Do’ list, but maybe the priority wasn’t high enough. At any rate, it did drop below 20 degrees F for at night a few weeks ago, and I hadn’t removed the hose from the outside water hydrant. No big deal, I figured…

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  • Curt Arens

    If Farming Were a Spectator Sport

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 3, 2012

    Watching my share of college football bowl games and NFL games over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed how crazy fans (i.e. fanatics) in the stands can get over their favorite teams. As a Husker fan myself, I can relate. We’ll shell out hard-earned cash for a seat at Memorial Stadium, to root for the guys in scarlet and cream. NFL fans can be even more rabid. Tickets are expensive. Official sports apparel can be even more expensive, never mind the cost of a brat and a…

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  • Josh Flint

    You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 3, 2012

    One of my favorite Christmas movies is “A Christmas Story.” Most are familiar with little Ralphie’s quest to own a Red Ryder BB gun. Watching that movie this year, I had to wonder, “Do parents still buy BB guns for their kids? Do kids still want BB guns?” It seems like technology rules the wish lists these days. BB guns are delightfully low tech. Many, my wife included, think BB guns are a terrible gift idea for a young boy. I happen to side with Ralphie’s…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Hot Farm Topics At Extension Roundup

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 3, 2012

    I heard a couple interesting things at the first day of the NDSU Extension Roundup in Devils Lake, N.D. Corn strategies -- if you are serious about growing corn, you probably should be prepared to sidedress nitrogen, says Joel Ransom, NDSU Extension agronomist. . Last year, nitrogen losses from leaching and denitrification were serious enough to reduce North Dakota’s average yield to from 134 to 110 bushels per acre. He says spring application of fertilizer plus sidedressing may reduce N…

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