• Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: High Tech Makes Ag Tick

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 28, 2013

    Curt’s Comments: Some urban folks seem to think that farmers are still living and working as they are portrayed on old TV shows like “Green Acres.” Well, we don’t have to climb a telephone pole to answer the phone and our tractors have changed just a tiny bit since the 1960s. And, it is important to communicate with consumers how technology has changed agriculture and food production, and how it has made us more efficient, so we can produce more food and use less…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Senate Passed Immigration Reform Bill May Only Be A Tease

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on June 28, 2013

    In recently talking with apple grower Jim Koan, the topic of harvest and the labor that it requires was a hot topic. America's failed immigration system has left a lot of uncertainty about the availability of skilled migrate labor. Michigan, in particular, relies heavily on migrant labor to pick our vast array of specialty fruits and vegetables from asparagus to apples. However, relief from this uncertainty is on the horizon as the U.S. Senate, June 27, passed an Immigration Bill…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Decadent Indulgence With New State Fair Foods

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 28, 2013

    The annual list of new foods at the Minnesota State Fair was released the other day and like usual, I am already anticipating various stops and noshing my way across the fairgrounds. From Aug. 22 - Labor Day, Sept. 2, fair visitors will have the opportunity to sample 47 new foods at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Cheese curds, dairy shakes and Sweet Martha's Cookies are family favorites. So I will have to pace myself during the two or three visits I'll be making. Overall…

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  • Willie Vogt

    New Credit Program Coming from AGCO

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 28, 2013

    The days of running a tab at the local farm equipment dealer have been slowly slipping away for a number of reasons - including the cost of "carrying" customers. However, a rising trend will maintain the flexibility farmers need while enhancing the service a dealer can offer. The trend is the short-term credit program and the newest player is AGCO with the launch of AGCO Plus+ - yes that's actually AGCO Plus plus. "That was an unintended consequence of the way we named…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Different Soils, Different Winter Wheat

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on June 28, 2013

    It's well-known that the dominant wheat in Kansas is hard red winter wheat, the primary ingredient in most of the nation's bread, which also accounts for 40% of U.S. wheat exports, according to kswheat.com. However, what is often overlooked is soft red winter wheat, which is found in the eastern-most part of the state, especially the southeast corner. I recently discovered about half of the 72,000 wheat acres in Cherokee County – the southeastern-most county in Kansas &ndash…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Getting Down And Dirty At Dakota Lakes

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 27, 2013

    I got a kick out of seeing Dwayne Beck on his hands and knees looking for earthworm holes in a cornfield at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm’s Field Day near Pierre, S.D. That’s exactly where you'd expect to find him. Beck, a South Dakota State University agronomist and manager of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, has led a revolution of no-till on the Great Plains, and now he’s teaching us about soil health. Other interesting things I saw at the field day…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Kansas Wheat Harvest Moving Fast And It's A Good Thing

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 27, 2013

    One of the really cool things about sharing your life with a pilot is you get to do things like I did Wednesday afternoon – take to the skies for a look at Kansas wheat harvest from high above it all. We took off from the Newton Metro North airport with ground temperatures above 100 degrees and it didn’t take long to be grateful that the plane was air conditioned. Even at 6,500 feet, it was a hot day. But the fields of ripe wheat mingled with pastureland, fields of…

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  • Don McCabe

    Perspectives On Feeding The World's Growing Population

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on June 26, 2013

    Feeding 9 billion people on this planet by 2050. How often have you read about that challenge? Assuming the prognosticators are correct, how in the world do we do that? How do we double food and feed production by that time? Those are questions that greatly intrigue me. I don't have the answers. And I don't believe most experts do, either. But give them credit for putting this challenge on the front burner. They are doing just that at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, home…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Eastern Colorado Drought Heavily Impacting Livestock

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 26, 2013

    Sad rangeland plant conditions are having a hard impact on eastern Colorado cattle grazing,  with vegetation all but gone in any areas. In a recent visit to the area near Wray, I talked with cattlemen who believe it may be time to pull their cattle and take them to far-away greener pastures, or to the feedlot early. This second year of drought is also having a ripple impact, since overgrazing of pastures can lead to loss of some of the most important vegetation next season…

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  • Josh Flint

    Not All Food Miles Are Created Equal

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 26, 2013

    The farmers’ market season is upon us. If you buy local because it’s fresher and you enjoy the idea of supporting local farmers – good for you. If you do it because it’s better for the environment, keep reading. Numerous studies have been conducted on food miles. However, as Tyler Cowen pointed out in his book An Economist Gets Lunch, not all food miles are created equal. If we’re talking asparagus, local sources will probably win out in the food…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Storm Rolls Over the Prairie

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 26, 2013

    It was shortly after dinner last night when I looked out and observed a rare light falling on the corn field. A summer storm, no doubt. So I grabbed my camera and ran outside. The rain gently fell, and within minutes, a front rolled in. And within a few more minutes, it was black, save for lightning. Here, the shots I grabbed as it all went down here on the…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Climate Change Weight Loss

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on June 25, 2013

    Today, I am eager to try the new climate change weight loss program that is so widely successful in bison. Apparently, as the temperature rises, bison lose weight. In this sweltering Missouri heat, I should be good for losing a few pounds—I think. Researchers at Kansas State University examined how climate change during the next 50 years will affect grazing animals such as bison and cattle. Joseph Craine, K-State research assistant professor led the study which included 22 bison…

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  • Fran O

    The Challenges of Gardening are A Lot Like Farming

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on June 25, 2013

    Flower gardening or vegetable gardening is as much of a challenge this year as trying to plant corn or soybeans and harvest first-crop alfalfa! The cool, wet spring has now given way to a hot, wet summer. With all the rain we have gotten and continue to get, it's hard to keep up with the weeds in both my flowerbeds and my family's vegetable garden. Last year, the problem was a lack of moisture and too much heat. I watered and watered and watered and still I don't think my…

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  • Curt Arens

    Our Grains are Riding the Rail

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 25, 2013

    As I was listening to Greg Guthrie, director of agriculture products for Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway speak at the Agrex, Inc. groundbreaking ceremony in Laurel last week, I couldn’t help but think about how crucial railroads have become again to agriculture in recent years. Guthrie told the group that he would be excited to see the first “Laurel train” coming from the Agrex, Inc. facility there, once the facility is completed. With Agrex, Inc. breaking ground…

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  • Frank Holdmeyer

    Hay Expo attracts hay growers from South America

    The Bigger Picture

     by Frank Holdmeyer
     on June 25, 2013

      Part of the fun of my job is meeting people from all over country and even the world. And last week's Hay Expo was no exception. The Hay Expo was held June 19 and 20 on the Regancrest Dairy farm north of Waukon. A record number of exhibitors put their latest technology and equipment on display. Field demonstrations included mowing, tedding, merging, raking, baling, hay handling and forage harvesting. I'm sure the farmers who had to stay home and finish planting or make…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Are We Listening? Are We Farming Soviet-style?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 24, 2013

    It was a disappointing day for agriculture Thursday when the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the farm bill. All afternoon, I read emails from various farm organizations and lawmakers, bemoaning the fact that this happened and how horrible it was for U.S. agriculture. I also received a few statements from organizations on the other side of the issue. They were glad that the bill was defeated. Here are some snippets from those emails: -"The saying goes: you reap…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    A Good Time to Recall New Year Resolutions

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 24, 2013

    Last Dec. 31, I was getting excited about my promises to become a smaller person. I had to lose some weight. Now that the middle of the year is approaching, I wonder what happened. Did somebody take all of my diet drinks and hide them? No, there they sit, still and undisturbed in the corner of the kitchen. Containers of powder waiting for dilution into what they call "shakes" are covered with dust and   cobwebs, like my dreams of returning to my…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Culver's Gets Farms and Food Right

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 24, 2013

    It was a busy weekend at the Spangler household and one that culminated in a trip to Champaign after church for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to a Nabor House board meeting, Monsters University and a family photo shoot with my new favorite photographer. The trip also included a swing through Culver's for lunch, which, given their burgers and frozen custard, is already one of our favorite places. And then we looked at the kid's meal bag. It was awesome…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Showtime is Here Again for 4-H Exhibitors

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 24, 2013

    If it seems like just yesterday you were worrying about getting your corn and soybeans were planted, then you may feel like Rip Van Winkle. Maybe you think you just woke up from a long nap, because all of a sudden it's county fair time, or nearly county fair time, across Indiana. And with the Indiana State Fair starting on August 2, the summer is on a fast track toward fall already! Before we get too far ahead, some important things have to happen, like corn pollination and good…

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  • Tyler Harris

    An Underrated Natural Resource

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on June 21, 2013

    Last week I received a package in the mail I had been waiting for since December – a book that University of Missouri professor of plant science, Dr. Peter Scharf recommended at last year's Crop Management Conference. The book, "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations," by David. R. Montgomery outlines the importance what many consider one of the world's most underrated natural resources. Many have made the case of the need for reducing soil erosion, perhaps most…

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  • Willie Vogt

    No Farm Bill? Really?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 21, 2013

    I was driving back from the 2013 Farm Progress Hay Expo when I heard the news that the House dumped the farm bill. Heard over National Public Radio that Collin Peterson, D-Minn., thought some votes went against the bill because members felt it would fail anyway due to a couple of add-ons during floor deliberations. No matter what's happening, it's a sign of a big change in the structure of support for agriculture. Farmers already gave up direct payments - in both the Senate and…

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  • John Vogel

    Corn Belt Crop Update: Northeast Corn Development Leads Midwest

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 21, 2013

    Last week, I reported on Corn Belt crop progress as seen during my travels across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. In brief, I've never seen so much erosion damage or so widespread ponding in soils typically tiled and well-drained in the Corn Belt. On this week's return trip, a lot more corn was just beginning to poke up through the dirt, and most planter were finishing up soybeans. Even so, I've never seen a Corn Belt corn crop so delayed in development. That's…

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  • Tim White

    Sign Me Up For The Union Of Concerned Agriculturists

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on June 20, 2013

    For the past few months I have found myself on the email list of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  The press releases from Tara Mosby, the group's public relations officer, mostly describe the latest blog postings of Douglas Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist in the UCS Food & Environment program. I appreciate the PR business -- especially knowing that getting the attention of editors like me is not always that easy. With hundreds of emails rolling through the inbox every…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farm Bill Publicity on Christmas Trees Rings False

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 20, 2013

    did a double-take a couple of days ago as I plowed through the blizzard of Farm Bill propaganda that clogged my e-mail inbox as the U.S. House of Representatives prepared for their imbecilic performance on Thursday. “War on Christmas” and “Christmas Tree Tax” were the phrases that jumped out at me. What on earth are they talking about? I wondered. I got even more befuddled when the language was repeated by Kansas Congressmen, including Tim Huelskamp and Mike…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Who Are the Farmers, Anyway?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 20, 2013

    You know what makes a great evening? Good food, good company and good conversation. And I found all three, in spades, Wednesday evening. I was invited to a dinner with a group of food and farm bloggers, following the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Food Dialogues in Chicago. We dined at the Little Market American Brasserie in Chicago and, gathered around a big hearty table, the food was delightful. And complex, if you spend much time thinking about how it got there. Which is exactly…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Farm Bill Detractors Tell a Few Whoppers

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 20, 2013

    There’s a great deal of publicity surrounding the ongoing debate in the U.S. House on its version of the Farm Bill, most of it lambasting the “waste” and “giveaways” and “subsidies” that the senders of said publicity find appalling. But when you start going down the list of just exactly what it is that is so appalling, my vote goes to the misleading verbage and outright lies in the press releases about what the Farm Bill would do. Example…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Fantastic Feedlot Tour

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 19, 2013

    I just got back from the 11th annual North Dakota Feedlot Tour, hosted by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and the North Dakota Feeder Council. We saw four new beef feedlots in central North Dakota: Kline Simmental Ranch, Hurdsfield, N.D. Dockter Land and Cattle, Denhoff, N.D. Raugust Whitetail Ranch, Harvey, N.D. Heitman Feedlot, Harvey. N.D. Young producers are involved in all of the operations. Building new feedlots or expanding…

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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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  • Willie Vogt

    Good Thing I Work for a Company with Farm Shows

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 18, 2013

    There are times when an affliction comes upon you quick - like a bad dinner. There are other things that bloom slowly in a person but when fully realized create fantastic possibilities in your mind. Really. For me the slow-growing but thoroughly captivating addition is the farm show. Perhaps it's because I kind of like crowds - even on a hot day in May Disney World can be fun as long as you realize where you are and that all of the people you're with are really there to have a…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Bring The Kids And Head Out To Ag Expo

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on June 17, 2013

    To promote Ag Expo each year, I draw from my archived photos from year's past. In doing so, I came across several photos I'd taken of kids… including several of my own children. I've gone to Ag Expo, every year for probably the last 15 years, and each year my girls would ask to go as the official assistant photographer. I would go at least two of the three days, so I would spend one day with Emily and then one with Elizabeth. Bringing them both on the same day was not…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Hitting The Road

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on June 17, 2013

    As my family drives down Interstate 70 heading west toward Sedalia, my mind races. Did I remember to pack the blower, clippers, spray adhesive, wool cards, sheep coats, buckets, feeders, health papers, and registration papers? And that is just for the sheep bedded down in the stock trailer. The show season is in full swing. Whether your child shows cattle, swine or sheep, as a livestock show mom (or dad) this is the time of year you long for. The countless hours you spent in the barn…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Can't Plant? Put Your Empty Fields To Good Use

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on June 17, 2013

    It's mid-June and Iowa farmers are still trying to get their intended soybean acres planted, but time is running out. For corn, many have already thrown in the towel. Mother Nature hasn't been helping out as thunderstorms roll through again every time the remaining fields get almost dry enough to plant. As of June 9 statewide Iowa still had 40% of its intended 2013 soybean acreage yet to be planted. The deadline to plant soybeans was June 15 to receive full crop insurance…

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  • Tom Bechman

    You Can Tell A Lot From What's In the Back of A Man's Pickup

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 17, 2013

    I ran errands the other day, partly for the magazine and partly for the farm. I used my newer truck because I had to drop off the van to get an oil change, so my daughter, who usually drives the truck (she thinks it's hers but she needs to look at the title very closely!) picked me up on her way to watch nursery at Bible School. I dropped her off and took off on my errands from there. While waiting to pick her up and go back for the van, I happened to notice the variety of items I…

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  • Fran O

    Enthusiasm For FFA At All-Time High

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on June 14, 2013

    If you thought FFA membership was declining due to fewer farms and a lack of support for ag programs at high schools around the state, you would be wrong on both counts. According to Jeff Hicken, state FFA adviser with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, membership hit a 29-year high this year in Wisconsin with 19,000 FFA members. And if you were anywhere near the Alliant Energy Center in Madison June 10-13, you may have noticed a sea of blue and gold jackets. That's…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Swine Shows On The Rise

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on June 14, 2013

    As many know, last week was the 25th Anniversary of the World Pork Expo, which I made the trip up from Kansas City to attend. While the Expo is known for its PORK Academy and business seminars, numerous pork products, and over 400 exhibitors from across the globe, what has also risen in popularity is the Expo's Junior National Show. This is following a national trend. I'll admit my background is fairly limited. It wasn't until l lived in eastern Iowa, near Washington County…

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  • Willie Vogt

    When Was the Last Time you Tuned that Sprayer?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 14, 2013

    With this planting season that never ends we move into postemergence spraying season and it appears that's going to drag on too as you sneak out between rainstorms to control weeds. Talked with a weed scientist yesterday who says his phone has been ringing off the hook with weed questions, herbicide choice questions and spray drift questions. When the weather is dry, no matter the conditions, it appears we're loading up an going, and what choice do you have? As noted at…

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  • Josh Flint

    5 Apps To Help You Make It Through the Summer

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 14, 2013

    It's summer. Between planting, scouting and spraying, you probably have oodles of little league games, a week or two of summer vacation and perhaps a few dance recital weekends. Are you effectively using your smartphone to manage your busy schedule? If you're anything like my family, I'd say no. Here's a list of apps I can't do without. Also, I've included some tips on how to get the most out of them. CalenMob: Back when I used an Android phone, I started…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Strawberry Pie. Amen.

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 14, 2013

    It's a good week in Illinois: the strawberries are ready for picking! We've been out once already and brought home five gallons, which have already been stemmed and made into approximately four batches of freezer jam, two pies, one fruit salad and two loaves of strawberry bread. I feel some homemade strawberry ice cream coming on, too, I'm just saying. Illinois specialty growers are a good folks and patches like the one we go to, Gillam's in Canton, are run by…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Making Time to Celebrate

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 14, 2013

    We are at the beginning of a busy summer and the cool, wet weather has not been cooperating. We have one high school graduation and one wedding on our calendars. That's all. And I like to garden and have things done on time. That's the "farmer" in me. However, my planting window came and went about a month ago and I still have bare ground in the garden. It's going to stay that way unless I get some steeply discounted vegetable plants at a local nursery. And…

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  • Frank Holdmeyer

    Grilling Steaks, Chops Used To Be Fun

    The Bigger Picture

     by Frank Holdmeyer
     on June 14, 2013

      Grilling season is about to hit its peak. And what’s more fun than pulling that sizzling steak or pork chop off the grill? Perfect grill marks and the aroma make ones’ mouth water. But, as my father-in-law used to opine “nothing good ever lasts”. A Purdue University professor of Food Science says the chemicals contained in charred, seared and fried foods may over a period of time kick-start the body’s ability to add new fat cells and increase the…

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  • Don McCabe

    Dollars Still Needed To Defend Beef

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on June 13, 2013

    A Nebraska Cattlemen task force this spring made the right decision, at least for now, to back off from pursuing for a state-based beef checkoff in Nebraska. After more than a year's worth of background work, public meetings and a survey, task force members decided against seeking legislative action in 2014 on a $1 per-head state checkoff, one that would have been in addition to the $1 national checkoff. The drought's harsh impacts on cattlemen and poor market conditions were…

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  • John Vogel

    Imagine If Only 60% Of Your Corn Crop Was Emerged

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 13, 2013

    You've no doubt heard about all the rains and crop planting delays that Midwest farmers have been struggling with. And I've seen a lot of the damage during the last couple days of driving I-70 across Ohio and Indiana, I-74 across Illinois and across Iowa. USDA was right in cutting back projected corn and soybean yields. Wet spots and standing water damage increased gradually as we drove westward from western Ohio. I've never seen so much erosion damage or so widespread…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Fifteen Years on the Farm

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 13, 2013

    Fifteen years ago today, the corn was planted. And so were the beans, but only barely. Fifteen years ago today, my husband and I married in a country church in southern Illinois. It was glorious, except for the planting season. John had finished beans on the Tuesday before, then drove to my parents' farm in Albion for our wedding a couple days later. Today, fifteen years later, we've finished planting everything - the first time - and are patching in some replant. But we…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Life Is Made Up Of Little Victories

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on June 12, 2013

    This past weekend I headed home back to Nebraska for a few celebrations and events. I headed out early Friday to get to Ft. Calhoun, just north of Omaha, staying with friends. That Saturday morning, I agreed to run in the Gateway to the West 5k race over in Blair, just a few miles away. I've been consistently running the past few months, but nothing to be excited about. The race started, and so did the rain. Luckily it didn't last long. My trick to running is to start off slow…

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  • Holly Spangler

    What to Get a Farmer on Father's Day

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 12, 2013

    So you may have noticed, Father's Day is this Sunday. And if you're like me, you may have seen those random internet gift guides offering up ideas for Dad: ties! Golf stuff! Man jewelry! Tech gadgets! And then, if you're like me, you realize that none of that is appropriate for your farmer husband. Or farmer father. My dad doesn't golf, he doesn't do technology, he doesn't grill, and he really doesn't "need" anything. My husband doesn't golf…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Just Keep Swimming

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on June 11, 2013

    As I leaned down to take a photo of a soybean plant submerged in water, all I could think of was the animated Disney movie Finding Nemo. Then I began to sing the angelfish Dora's famous line---"just keep swimming, just keep swimming." While soybeans are resilient, the reality is that there are feet upon feet of water burying some of these plants and the likelihood of recovery is getting slimmer with each passing rain shower. And the corn, well, there will be…

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  • Curt Arens

    The Farm View from the Old Porch Swing

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 11, 2013

    There are places of comfort, with special significance, on everyone’s farms and ranches. We all have our favorite places. For me, the places I like most on our farm have nostalgic connections to the family history of our place and my memories growing up here. There is a vista, on a high hill north of our farmstead that rises about 100 feet above the home place that I really like. When I’m checking cows or fixing fence, I like to pause up there, and take a look at the old…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    D-Day An Event That Should Be Remembered

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 11, 2013

    I know I'm late commemorating D-Day, which actually occurred 69 years ago last Thursday, but for weeks our troops were pinned down on the Normandy beach and dying trying to drive inland. I was only just three when D-Day took place, so my personal memories of the actual event do not exist. What I do remember is the story of my sister-in-law's first husband who was killed on Normandy beach that day. One day, she showed me the telegram stating that her husband, an Army captain, was…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Smithfield Purchase Stirs Discussion At World Pork Expo

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on June 10, 2013

    Is the recently announced sale of Smithfield Foods, the largest hog producer and processor in the United States, to China's largest meat producer and processor, Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., a good deal or a bad deal for U.S. pork producers and consumers -- in the long run? At the World Pork Expo in Des Moines last week, pork producers from Iowa and other states were pondering that question. The $4.7 billion sale was a surprise when it was announced May 29. If the sale goes…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Big Cattle Show Wins for the Little Cattle Girl

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 10, 2013

    Well. We had our first cattle show of the season last week. It was not terrible. In fact, it went pretty well, despite the craziness of trying to plant beans in the hours before and after. Jenna showed her heifer and won her class, which gave her a major boost of confidence. Her steer was up next, and apparently while the rest of us were at the show ring watching my niece, Kaity, show her heifer, the steer got a little, ahem, excited in the chute and my brother-in-law may or may not…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Small Town America Still Alive and Well

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 10, 2013

    Recently my wife and I traveled by car through the fly-over country, from central Indiana through Illinois and Iowa and up the side of South Dakota to Sioux Falls. It may take longer by car, but you get a feel for not only what the country is like, but what people are alike. Our conclusion is that while the small towns may have changed some, the people are still hard-working, down-to-earth Midwesterners, wherever you go. In South Dakota we needed to stop for lunch. We could go on toward…

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  • Fran O

    Health Care Costs Are Out Of Control

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on June 7, 2013

    I just finished signing up for health insurance through my employer. It's a task that I dread every year for a variety of reasons. One, I hate the paperwork involved. This year was worse than most because we had to sign up on the computer and it took much longer to complete than previous years. And two, I have to decide what level of coverage I want for my family and which level of risk I'm willing to assume – do I want to pay more and have better coverage or am I willing…

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  • Paula Mohr

    A Call To Action For All U.S. Food Consumers

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on June 7, 2013

    As I returned home from a farm interview the other day, I happened to hear the National Press Club's lunch hour session on the radio with USDA secretary Tom Vilsack. The ag secretary talked about the "complex environmental challenges" that U.S. farmers face and how climate change is at the heart of them all. Whether you believe that premise or not, Vilsack made some solid points about the impacts seen thus far—winters not cold enough to kill pests, such as the pine…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Another Trip Down Memory Lane

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on June 7, 2013

    It's not every day that a company calls and offers you an exclusive first look at a new machine - really. I'm hoping more do, but I'll take 'em as they come. Anyway, this week I traveled to New Holland, Penn., and visited New Holland, where I got to chat with Abe Hughes, vice president, North America, about the company and about the newest tractor the Genesis T8. The company wants the world to know that its newest tractor has an innovative heritage, and the best way to do…

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  • Tyler Harris

    25th World Pork Expo Comes To A Close

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on June 7, 2013

    This week I had the opportunity to visit the World Pork Expo for the second year in a row. This year I had a much longer trip. Rather than driving from Adel, Iowa just west of Des Moines to the Iowa State Fair Grounds, I made the trip up from Kansas City. However, other visitors came from much further. This year, as many know, marks the 25th anniversary of the Expo, which drew about 20,000 pork producers and industry professionals from 38 different countries in 2012. This year also drew…

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  • John Vogel

    Some Dairy Farmers Self-impose Raw Milk Dilemma

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on June 7, 2013

    June is dairy month – one of agriculture's most celebrated public celebrations. It's right up there with Mom, baseball and apple pie. It's when politicians have no fear of being seen with milk "moostaches". It's when baseball players sport them while pitching "Milk. It's good for you!" None the less, there's a dark side to milk's public exposure, one I've been wrestling with for years – and one certain to draw harsh criticism for…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Show Day

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on June 7, 2013

    It's a big day at the Spangler house: our first cattle show of the season. Also, it's a little nuts around here. Yesterday, Jenna and I washed, brushed, blew out, bedded, packed, cleaned and loaded all afternoon. And bless her heart, she loved it. Then we flew in the house at 5:10 p.m. - utterly covered in sweat, dirt, hair and manure - and all four of us were showered and out the door to Vacation Bible School by 5:35. I feel like there should be some kind of award for that. And…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Does Monsanto Own Oregon's Glyphosate-Resistant Wheat?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on June 6, 2013

    Who owns the glyphosate-resistant wheat that was discovered in Oregon? Monsanto? The farmer? I’d like to know, because after the market settles down, I might like to buy some seed. Weed control would be pretty cheap and convenient with glyphosate-resistant wheat. Some reports say USDA identified the wheat as the same variety that Monsanto tested in Oregon 10 years ago. Monsanto says it isn’t the same strain. Nevertheless, the case got me thinking that maybe I…

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  • Tim White

    USDA Deputy Promotes Farm Bill

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on June 5, 2013

      Michael Scuse, USDA’s acting deputy secretary, came to Ohio last week to stimulate discussion on the Farm Bill and take Ohio viewpoints back to Washington.  Scuse served as secretary of agriculture in Delaware before coming to USDA in 2009. His family still operates 1700-acre farm in Delaware. Scuse met first with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for a Town Hall radio interview. Then he toured the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park with Bruce…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Oregon's Transgenic Wheat Finds Just A Fluke

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on June 4, 2013

    Here we go again. The transgen thrashers have leaped on the incidental find of some escaped experimental seeds of Roundup resistant wheat in Oregon with a frenzy press feeding. That is to be expected in this unfortunate event, and our guards should be up already to such attacks. We need to continue to respond to these charges with the facts on the importance and safety of trans genetics, and let the critics rant and rave until the day when world population grows to such proportions that…

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  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, What Tech Tool is the Next Big Thing?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on June 4, 2013

    I’ve been working on an article in recent days, following University of Nebraska research and Nebraska Department of Agriculture marketing efforts to get dry bean powder made from Nebraska Great Northern dry edible beans, into instant noodle cups in China. According to Lynn Reuter with the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission, Chinese consumers eat approximately 1300 instant noodle cups per minute. So, adding a teaspoon of dry bean powder boosts the nutritional value of those noodle cups for…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Wheat Fields Have White Heads Among Green in Central Region

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on June 4, 2013

    I was driving across Kansas last week and took note of what I at first thought was the changing color of wheat of in Stafford  and Barton County. A closer look, however, revealed that the wheat isn’t really ripening in that area. It is freeze-damaged. The first clue was that the color is not so much gold as white. And there’s an awful lot of green heads in those fields. In south central Kansas, around Wichita and points south, there is a distinct, uniform gold…

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  • Josh Flint

    Let's Get Real About GMO Labeling

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on June 4, 2013

    A Rebuttal to the Monsanto Protestors garnered a lot of attention. The GMO haters turned out en masse to tell me why I was an idiot (and a few other things I can't print here) on this topic. One thing came through crystal clear – nearly all of them want GMO labels for our food supply. Another thing was clear – very few of them understand how food makes its way from the farm to the fork. I’ll start by addressing the farm to fork information gap that…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    New Leader For Iowa's Whiterock Conservancy

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on June 3, 2013

    Whiterock Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust recently formed to steward seven square miles of Iowa conservation lands, on May 24 announced the hiring of Conrad Kramer as executive director. Kramer moves to Iowa after heading major land trusts in California and Idaho. Whiterock Conservancy is located about 70 miles northwest of Des Moines. Whiterock Conservancy is made up of what was formerly known as the Garst Farm at Coon Rapids in western Iowa, the famous place of Soviet leader Nikita…

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  • Frank Holdmeyer

    Don't Fry this Summer

    The Bigger Picture

     by Frank Holdmeyer
     on June 3, 2013

      I can say it. I've had cancer – skin cancer. Fortunately, mine was basal-cell carcinoma – the most common kind and fairly easy to treat. It did require outpatient surgery (with stitches), however. That was about 20 years ago. I have never forgotten the surgeon showing me slides of examples of people he treated for skin cancer. Some were pretty gruesome – huge patches of tissue removed from people's faces, heads, backs, etc. I see my dermatologist every…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Maybe Everybody Should Raise Goats!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 3, 2013

    More than one farmer in Indiana converted from hogs to goats over the past 10 years. It's no laughing matter. And the Indiana 4-H and FFA livestock judging contests has even added goats as part of the animals to be judged during the competition. None of that makes them popular with everyone. Goats seem to be a hate them or love them animal. It's cute to watch young goats jump and play. It's not so cool to get chased by a billy goat of mature size. My father, now deceased…

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