• Curt Arens

    Going to the Birds a Sign of Farm Landscape Diversity

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 15, 2014

    On our farm, we raised and marketed black oil sunflowers as wild bird seed for almost 10 years. So, in an effort to understand our customers, the folks who regularly feed songbirds around their homes and gardens, our family set up our own feeding stations, and we learned plenty about the songbirds that inhabit our region. In other words, we were happy to have our farm “go to the birds.” Researchers say that having healthy populations of songbirds living and singing around your…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farmers Say that Conservation is Cool

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 8, 2014

    Unless you take in upcoming showings of movies like Farmland or the Great American Wheat Harvest, you have to look for mainstream media sources that actually share positive modern stories of farmers and ranchers. Evidently, most of those sources don’t see modern agriculture as dramatic, emotional or trendy. It’s easier to find the bad actors in the industry and make blanket, generalized statements to include all farmers and ranchers as greedy folks who only care about a making a…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: A Few of My Favorite Trees

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 28, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I want to talk about a few of my favorite trees. These are not recommendations for your farmstead. With spring around the corner, hopefully, we start looking over garden catalogs and visiting our favorite tree nurseries to search for trees and shrubs to plant around our farms and ranches. The greatest challenge for me is narrowing down my planting choices and finding the right location for the trees I really want to plant every year. Over the years…

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  • Curt Arens

    Cover Crop Reflections

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 4, 2014

    I attended one of the broadcast locations at the NRD office in Norfolk of the opening forum of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health that took place in Omaha in February. As I sat there, taking in testimonials from farmers and policy makers about the benefits of cover crops to soil health, I couldn’t help but remind myself that this is not something we’ve discovered recently. It is an ancient idea. In ancient China and India and in early Roman times, bell beans…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: Tips for Proper Tree Pruning

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 28, 2014

    In this special Out on a Limb blog entry, I will address a few tips on proper pruning techniques. At one of the UNL tree care workshops I’ve attended over the years, I have heard foresters say many times that the best time to prune a tree is when you have time to do it. In other words, prune whenever it is convenient, and your saw is sharp. However, the actual best time for most broadleaf trees is in winter or early spring, before the trees display buds. So, that time is drawing near…

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  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Planting Trees on a Treeless Plain

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 10, 2014

    Over the past year, I’ve written numerous bonus blogs each month featuring the “Families That Grow Our Food,” hoping to tell the ag story to our urban friends by relating the back stories of many of the interviews we’ve written in recent years about hardworking farm and ranch families. Now, it’s a new year and I’ll take on a new topic in bonus monthly blogs. One of my interests as a farmer over the years has been trees, woodlands, shelterbelts and orchards…

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  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Rebuilding the Land After Floods

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on August 2, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:   Farmers are hardworking folks. They deal with challenges and potential tragedies every day. It is a part of depending on the land for a living. In 2011, farmers along the Missouri River were dealt a heightened blow they hadn’t counted on. The flooding along the river that summer was much worse than anyone could have predicted, and there was very little notice beforehand to allow folks to prepare. Yet, farmers like Scott Olson of Tekamah have been…

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  • Curt Arens

    I Guess I'm a Nebraska Tree Hugger

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 18, 2013

    Two weeks ago I was riding with University of Nebraska Extension educator, Scott Cotton, headed up Deadhorse Road southwest of Chadron. Scott took me into the heart of what was the West Ash Fire late last summer, and he described the tumultuous days of the wildfires in that region and how ranchers, emergency personnel and firefighters coped with extreme challenges. It wasn’t a pretty picture, and the most disheartening for many long time Pine Ridge ranchers is that their beautiful…

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  • Curt Arens

    It All Depends on the Soil

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 4, 2012

    When I attended one of Pat Reece’s grazing strategies sessions last week in Bloomfield as part of Reece’s four-day tour of Nebraska, I asked the well-respected grazing consultant a question that I guessed might be on the minds of many producers. “If I pulled my cows off pasture in July, having grazed every conceivable blade of grass out there, and if I have received basically no measurable precipitation this fall and if there is zero grass regrowth visible in that…

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  • Curt Arens

    Missouri River Farmers Look to a New Planting Season

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 20, 2012

    Driving over Gavins Point Dam north of Crofton today, a little water was being released through one flood gate into the spillway below and down the Missouri River. That is a far cry from the raging waters that burst through the flood gates in all of the six major Missouri River flood control dams last summer, sending flood waters downstream, into homes and cities, and across farm fields on the path to the Mississippi River. In January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported that their…

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