• Tom Bechman

    Celebrate National Ag Day your way!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 16, 2015

    The list of activities that will occur across Indiana this week to celebrate National Ag Day is long indeed. Many counties have committees, often linked to the Extension Service or Purdue CARET arm, to help plan and promote ag days. I've participated in them myself. A few years ago I even spoke at the Ag Day breakfast in my home county. I probably gained more from breakfast than they did from me – I talked about the origins of Prairie Farmer and how it survived to modern day. There…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Adjusting Cash Rent Not As Easy as Some 'Experts' Make It Sound

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 24, 2014

    In answering a question related to cash rent for the December issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, the Young Farmer Forum panel suggested trying to take emotion out of the decisions. That is easier said than done. One good point the panel made, however, was that both husband and wife should at least communicate what's going on as these negotiations begin, even if the wife works in town. While some ag economists are projecting cash rents will likely go down for 2015, they're noting they…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Memories of Wet Falls Dance in the Back of My Head

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 20, 2014

    I'm not a poet, so that rhyming end to the lead-in is as close as I will get. Fall was sailing along until last week. Heavy rains pounded some areas. Many soybeans are still in the field. Wheat and cover crops need to be sown yet. Some have some corn out, others don't. Falls that were wet came to mind. The first one was in the early 1970s. I can't remember the year. Maybe 1973. I remember dad running one 12-acre field of soybeans in late September and then rains set in. And it…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Not Paying Attention to Details is an Epidemic Amongst Young People!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 6, 2014

    I can tell you exactly what happened on many occasions 40 years ago or more. I may not remember your name if I met you yesterday. It's called getting old with gray hair. What's troubling to me after working with teenagers all fall as a soils coach and helping operate FFA and 4-H judging contests is that many of today's teens won't even remember what they did 40 years ago when they are our age. That's because they were never aware of it in the first place! There seems to be…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Harvest Time is Almost as Good as Christmas Morning!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 15, 2014

    Ken Simpson says it best. The Morristown, Ind., farmer puts out whole fields of replicated test plots. He works with Shelby County Extension ag educator Scott Gabbard, and with Purdue University Extension specialist Bob Nielsen and Jim Camberato. He can't say enough good things about how they have helped him gather good data to make decisions on his farm. OK, Bob, Jim and Scott, that's your early (and likely only) Christmas present from me! It's really from Ken – he truly…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Asparagus and Peony Bushes Say Season Is Still Two Weeks Behind Schedule

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 19, 2014

    Weathermen don't always get the weather right. Mother Nature does most of the time. Sometimes she fools herself, but you can usually track spring weather patterns by how spring plants develop. Take my asparagus patch for example. Normally it starts producing around April 10-14. It's an old but productive patch. Two years ago, in 2012, it started around April 1. But then we all know how that story turned out: not so good! This year after a cold winter and cool spring I took my first…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Calendar Moves Quickly Once March 1 Arrives

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 24, 2014

    Three months of cold, snow and ice are enough to make anybody think spring will never get here. But it will. Just look on the calendar. The 28 days of February are nearly gone. This coming Saturday is March 1. And once March arrives, it seems like the calendar slips into overdrive. The days fall off quickly. If your target planting date is April 15, that means you could be planting in just over six weeks, assuming the snow is gone and conditions are right. The snow will be gone. Whether…

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  • Tom Bechman

    A Farmer's Wish List for 2014

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 30, 2013

    What would you like to happen around your farm and in your community during the New Year? Here are a few ideas. Even though I mainly raise sheep, I've thrown in a few ideas of my own too. The caution word for this list probably should be to be careful what you wish for. If some of these things really happened, things might not turn out as rosy as you might think. And it's quite possible that maybe one or two of these things will happen. One. The fertilizer dealer calls you up and…

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  • Tom Bechman

    A Mad Dash To The End of the Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 2, 2013

    Black Friday is over but the mad dash shopping continues since Christmas is roughly three weeks away. There's no time to lose, or at least that's what retailers want you to believe. Farming has its own version of the mad dash – decisions to make before Dec. 31 expires and a new tax year begins. Should you buy new equipment? Should you sell grain this year? Should you pay ahead on inputs to get discounts? Here are a few insights about decisions a typical farm operation might face…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why You Should Chat With Your Extension Educator

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 18, 2013

    Perhaps the famous picture of the old-time county extension agent visiting a farm with a 4-H member and seeing him work with his Guernsey heifer is a bit out of date. It's a nice reminder of times gone by. But it's far from indicative of how modern Extension educators have changed with the times to provide information and services their community needs. Somewhere between when that picture was painted and today, many no longer contact their Extension agent, now called an educator, for…

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