• Rod Swoboda

    Serving "Food For Thought" And More At Wallace House

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on April 14, 2014

    Every so often I'm asked, "What is the Wallace Centers of Iowa?" It's a non-profit organization inspired by the Wallace family legacy. The Wallace Centers of Iowa provide a variety of programs and services to build awareness of local food, sustainable agriculture and civility. It serves both urban and rural communities. There are two locations—one is the Wallace House at 756 16th Street in the Sherman Hill neighborhood on the west edge of downtown Des Moines. The other…

    Continue Reading


  • Tyler Harris

    Showing Consumers the Face of the American Farmer

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on April 4, 2014

    This week I had the privilege of participating in a private screening of the documentary "Farmland," highly anticipated among farm families across the U.S. and set for release at the beginning of May. Most farmers are aware consumers have questions about how their food is produced. The goal of the film, produced and directed by Academy Award winner James Moll, is to address these questions. So, it made perfect sense the screening, hosted by Kansas Farm Food Connection, took place in…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Consumers' Ag and Food Education Starts With You

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 17, 2014

    You are surrounded. It's a big battle, and opposing forces have you cornered on all sides. Is there any possible way to squirm free and salvage your day? Yes. You must disarm your opponent. What does this have to do with agriculture? The person who's surrounded is a farmer. There are 1,000 non-farmers for every one of you – a farmer on a commercial scale. A few of them will oppose you no matter what you do. These are the activists which seem almost militant at times. However, the…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Who Will Protect Agriculture From All The Land Mines?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 10, 2014

    Imagine farming was a game. There are farming games and a farming version of Monopoly, but I'm envisioning my own version. You leave the starting gate this time every year, ready to plant, grow a crop, harvest, pay bills and move to the next year. Along the way there are obstacles in your path – potholes, if you will. Things like wet weather, pesky weeds, a hail storm, a blown tractor engine, you know the drill. Yet somehow you make it to the end and live to farm another…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    Hey, Remember Home Ec?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 25, 2014

    Last Friday, I sat through a USFRA Food Dialogues panel, where they were asking and answering the question, "Who is shaping America's nutrition choices?" They talked about media and commercials. They talked about food production, specifically land, water and energy. They talked about our crazy-busy lifestyle and processed foods. They talked about a knowledge gap in food production, and about dieticians. And I had a crazy thought: what about the fact that (a lot of) Americans…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    The Friday Five: Worth the Read

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 14, 2014

    It's been one of those weeks where I've seen a lot of good stuff float across the Internet. Granted, a lot was in response to bad stuff on the Internet, but alas, that is the way of agriculture these days. So if you have a few minutes to spare, these are worth the read. 1. Dr. Oz's GMO Global Conspiracy…Debunked:  Point-by-point, Katie Pratt offers up the facts that Dr. Oz (surprisingly missed during his show this week on "Stealth GMOs," designed to leave…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    How Dairy Carrie Wrote a Viral Blog Post

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on December 27, 2013

    If you were anywhere near social media earlier this month, there's a good chance you saw a blog post by "Dairy Carrie" floating around. It was titled, "Sometimes we are mean to our cows," and it detailed all the reasons a bovine might go down, and what a farmer might have to do (and why) in order to help her back to her feet. Complete with photos. Along with about 300,000 other people who visited her blog to read about downed cows, I read it and thought it was so well…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    Five Things Farmers Need to Know about Consumers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 25, 2013

    1. Consumers are concerned about the long-term health effects of biotechnology and pesticides. They're looking at down-the-road diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity, the "unknown." I sat and talked about some of those questions with a group of Chicago field moms during the Larson Farms tour earlier this fall. This is not based on any research and is completely anecdotal, but I shared with them that I really believe if pesticides and biotech were causing cancer we would see…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    Five Misleading Food Labels

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on November 13, 2013

    1. "No high fructose corn syrup!" The question to ask here is whether the product had any high fructose corn syrup to start with. Because like any good marketing ploy, companies have been known to jump on the band wagon and declare their product free of something it never had to start with. Also, if you've been told HFCS is bad because of all the processing, consider this: sugar cubes do not grow on trees. It's all been processed, people. Incidentally, we may see less of this…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Earth. Beer. Fire

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 30, 2013

    Earth. Beer. Fire. Those words in an email got my attention. Turned out the email was a press release from Rogue Farm, an Oregon operation where a craft brewer grows malting barley. Theirs was not a fancy pants, touchy feeling story about how they carefully nurture the tiny barley plants and eventually make malt. They didn’t try to make the point that they were good farmers by shooting a video cartoon of a cute-looking scarecrow picking hops out of a garden like Chipotle…

    Continue Reading