• Tom Bechman

    Look For Kids To Bring Humor Into a Dismal Day

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 30, 2012

    Farmers at a meeting where the normal county average yield is nearly 150 bushels per acre were asked by the moderator what they thought the county average corn yield would be in 2012. It only took them about a minute to come up with 40 bushels per acre. And no one was itching to disagree or shove it any higher. Ouch! That hurts! Whether it really is that poor or not remains to be seen. The fact that it is sinking in now is that this is a bad year and that crop insurance is all that may pull…

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  • Tim White

    Kasich Adds Personal Cool To The Fair

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 30, 2012

    It seems that Gov. John Kasich has truly bought into the ‘Ag Is Cool” concept being promoted at the Ohio State Fair. He actually was pretty cool himself in presenting awards to the winners of the Ag is Cool Art Contest on the fair’s opening day. One by one the governor carried the students’ paintings and drawings to the front of the FFA center for the audience and media to see. “This is better than “Starry Starry Night,” he told Isabelle Yandura…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Looking Beyond the Drought

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 28, 2012

    There's no sense being Pollyanna about this weather. With 63% of the country now locked up in a drought, combined with record-breaking heat, this season's weather is truly the gift that keeps on giving. It's so bad that we should stop comparing this to 1988, but reach farther back. But with the average farmer aged 56-plus, 1988 is all we can remember. As we watch corn yields wither and pray for a spot of rain to save the soybeans, it's time to look to 2013 and plan ahead. Sounds a little…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    No Relief From Heat, Drought in Sight

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 28, 2012

    I think we may have missed the Rapture and all of us still here in Kansas have been left behind in Hell. It’s 104 degrees right now with 108 in the forecast for tomorrow. We had what was supposed to be “break” yesterday with the high topping out at “only” 98 after a streak of 10 straight days above 100 degrees. In July so far, Wichita has had only one day, the 9th, where the high was below 95 degrees. Add in the fact that we ended June with 7 straight days above…

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  • Curt Arens

    Carrying Out a Drought Plan Can Be Painful

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 25, 2012

    This past Friday was a tough day. I had been dreading the day for some time, although I knew it was coming up on the horizon. With each passing day of extreme heat and no rain, I watched my paddocks of grass dry and turn into nothing more than kindling for a fire. Warm season pastures that normally carried my small herd through the hottest of summer months never materialized. Cool season grasses that greened up early this season, provided some April grazing, but fizzled out in the summer sun…

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  • Josh Flint

    Livestock vs. Ethanol: The Scene Is Set for a Showdown

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 25, 2012

    Don’t kid yourself; this corn crop is going to be small. Just how small is up for debate. A lot of folks are clinging to an average yield estimate in the 140 bushel range. Others, including many Illinois farmers, say this is wishful thinking. During the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Commodities Conference, University of Illinois economist Darrel Good examined various rationing scenarios for the coming year. With an average yield of 135 bushels, Good notes price will have to ration…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Rain On The Plains

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 25, 2012

    I went to a drought meeting in Watertown, S.D., the other day and it rained. Which is a good thing to know -- it is going to rain again. A couple others things that I learned by making the trip to the meeting, which was conducted statewide by South Dakota State University Extension Service, were: 1) Being able to estimate yields accurately will be key to making good decisions about how to manage crops the rest of the season. Harvesting low-yielding corn for grain may be more…

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  • Holly Spangler

    HSUS, CEOs and Squeaky Wheels

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 24, 2012

    Last week, I attended the Illinois Pork Producers visioning session. Among lots of discussion on feed supply (i.e., will there be any?) and gestation stalls and HSUS, they shared this video. It was released last week, only then it featured Costco. This week, the link is updated and takes you to the same video, but with Wal-Mart's name instead of Costco's. According to the Associated Press, Mercy for Animals had been preparing to release the video, which was shot in a sow barn at Minnesota-based…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Bushel and a Peck and Something to Smile About

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 23, 2012

    Our county fair starts today, kicking off a week of showing, sweating and overall good times. (I'm trying to be optimistic, given forecasted temps of 102 for days on end. It will be fun. Right?) At any rate, the annual Fulton County Fair Talent Show is tonight and in honor of that, I share this little video. Maybe you saw it last year or back in 2010 when they first performed. It's my two oldest kids, singing and dancing to "I Love You a Bushel and  Peck" when they were just 5 and 7. I…

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  • Tom Bechman

    How Does Your Garden Grow?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 23, 2012

    The range of 4-H exhibitors bringing garden exhibits into the Hendricks County Fair in Danville recently ranged from one puny vegetable because that's all they had to collections of five plates of good looking vegetables that would be competitive in any year. But the lengths some people went to get decent vegetables were beyond my scope. When they talk about putting a tent over the plant to keep it from getting so hot, that's beyond my time constraints! The project manager was lenient. So was…

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  • John Vogel

    Amercan Agriculture: Drought Edges Toward A Food Panic

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 20, 2012

    Two thoughts struck me early Wednesday morning: America is steaming toward a food train wreck. And, American agriculture isn’t as invincible as we’d all like to believe. Our government doesn’t want to talk about it, and our well-fed consumers don’t want to think about it. But as much as I hate being a bad news bearer, being informed is the first step to being prepared. On Tuesday evening, a dairying friend from New York emailed me that their farm couldn’t find…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Buy Organic, But Not Because of This

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 19, 2012

    The other night, my friend, Katie, noticed an interesting chart shared on Facebook, so she sent it to me. As seen below, the chart was headlined "ORGANIC VS CONVENTIONAL." So I went to check it out. It was difficult to understand exactly what it was meant to show, as you'll see below. It was shared on a business page called "Raw Promise," alongside promotions for lots of so-called health foods and health plans. From what I gather, Raw Promise is little more than a guy trying to get people to…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Pop-up Thunderstorms Offer Relief Here, There, Nowhere

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 19, 2012

    P.J. GRIEKSPOOR We had what the weather service likes to call “pop-up thunderstorms” across a portion of south central Kansas this afternoon and tonight. That means where they popped, it rained. And where they didn’t, it didn’t. My daughter called me from her job at Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita. It was pouring. I live about 7 miles northeast of there. Not a drop. A little thunder. Some clouds. No rain. Too many of us know how that feels. I am delighted for any of…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Tractor Makers Roll Out the SCR

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 18, 2012

    This industry is chock full o' abbreviations and acronyms and for the future you'll have to add two more - SCR and DEF. With Agco's recent announcement it would rely on selective catalytic reduction in its final Tier 4 engine designs, the company joins the rest of the majors in confirming this strategy for the future. Of course, Agco was there first rolling out SCR in its interim Tier 4 e3 engines in 2009. So it came as little surprise that the extra tank of diesel exhaust fluid would be part…

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  • Curt Arens

    Accepting Drought and Making Plans

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 17, 2012

    They say that acceptance of the problem is the first step in dealing with it. I suppose that could be said of an addiction or of drought. I think over the past few weeks, many farmers have been in denial. We’ve kept our eyes upward, hoping and praying for a crop-saving rain. But, as I spoke with my neighbors and farming friends over the past week, I’ve noticed a marked change in attitude. Most of the farmers have given up the anxiety of waiting for rain. They have come to the…

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  • Josh Flint

    Quinn's Downstate Drought Trip Was Less Than Admirable

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 17, 2012

    Yesterday, I drove down to Waltonville to see Illinois Governor Pat Quinn discuss the severe drought that’s devastating much of the state. An hour later, I felt like Linus standing in the middle of a pumpkin patch, albeit more like a sweet-corn patch in 100-degree-F heat. Here’s how it went down. The Illinois Farm Bureau announced it would be hosting Quinn to tour some sad-looking corn fields in Jefferson County. That’s right, he was leaving the confines of Chicago to move…

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  • Tim White

    Locust Tree Life Lesson

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 17, 2012

    The Derecho storm system blew through our farm at 80 mph a few weeks ago and we are still cleaning up the after effects. Two trunks from a cheery tree 85 feet tall, each about 3 feet in diameter, lie like a pair of down telephone poles in the upper pasture. They took out the fence at a brace post. The fence is less than a year old and this is the second time a tree has fallen on it. Thankfully, it missed the new gate by a foot or so. There is a red oak across the north trail in our woods…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Ohio County 4-H Has a Good Idea

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 16, 2012

    It's my pleasure to judge a few county fairs each year. I steer clear of livestock rings, but I judge crops, hay, garden, photography various animal posters, soil conservation and weather, and shooting sports whenever someone asks and I can work it in. It's a great way to get ides for stories too- the cover for August that you will see soon and a story about a young man who had a close call on a bike are both from trips I made to judge 4-H fairs. I judged shooting sports at the Ohio County…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Farmer-Owned Fertilizer Plant Idea Moves Ahead

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 16, 2012

    A proposal to build a $1 billion plant to make fertilizer from natural gas produced in the Bakken oil field in North Dakota is moving ahead. A feasibility study has been done and the fertilizer plant project is moving on to the business planning stage, according to a press release from the North Dakota Corn Growers Association. The project could solve a problem for North Dakota’s two major industries -- agriculture and energy. On the ag side, farmers have had problems getting…

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  • John Vogel

    Is Farming Just A Business?

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 13, 2012

    With intent to try to stay “with it” on Internet technologies, I’ve muddled my way into FaceBook and LinkIn, plus some chat rooms. And already, I’m suffering digital sensory overload! Two months ago, I joined a sustainable agriculture web group to broaden my understanding of this ag facet. The first question I saw was: “A student of mine contends agriculture is just another business. What say you?” Every day since then there’s been a flood of posts of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Clydesdales Big Draw at 3i Show

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 12, 2012

    When you are a true horse lover, you just have to appreciate the splendor of the Budweiser Clydesdales, who are one of the attractions at today’s openingC of the 3i Show in Dodge City. Their royal accommodations in the dirt-floor portion of the new Western Bank Expo Center were big enough to make the trailer that transports the giant Percherons look like toy truck. As for the horses, they seemed a heck of lot more interested in the big feed bunker of hay than the landscaped…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Meet Burrus and Wyffel

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 10, 2012

    I hardly know where to begin so I'll take you back to the moment that caused me to laugh out loud – like, bust a gut laughing – earlier this summer. Meet Burrus and Wyffel. They are show lambs and they belong to my nephew, Kyle. He named them for seed companies. I really very much love it. Kyle's family has a long history of creatively naming their show animals. One year, they all started with A's. One year they were named for herbs. This year? Seed companies. As his mom…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Drought Impacts All Aspects of an Industry

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 10, 2012

    Images of shriveled corn, dry-cracked ground, and even reminisces of past droughts are common now. We've even created a drought-focused site to help you keep up on key issues impacting crops - DatelineDrought.com. But how can drought impact the equipment side of the business? Turns out it could be hitting the business in a number of ways. I chatted with Jerrod Westfahl, founder and president, Purple Wave Auction Co., about how this kind of weather can impact equipment auctions and even…

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  • Curt Arens

    Silver Lining: Top 10 Good Things About Drought

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 10, 2012

    Yes, it is one of the driest years on record for many of us. Yes, it has thus far been one of the hottest summers any of us can recall. There is no grass. Hay is high priced and almost completely unavailable. But hey, I still have my health. And besides, even in the drought of the Dirty Thirties, my grandparents held barn dances, farm couples got married, had children and life went on. They had fun and found humor in their disaster. Years ago, I interviewed John Leader, an upbeat, lively…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Welcome To The Indiana Dessert

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 9, 2012

    I've just returned from a meeting featuring the vast majority of Purdue University's campus specialists and well over half the Extension ag educators in the state. Jim Mintert, assistant Extension Director, called meeting to make sure everyone was on the same page as far as how bad the drought was in various parts of the state, and what messages Purdue could be telling people that might help them make more informed decisions in bad situations. So while I wouldn't say the day was uplifting, it…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Drought Hits Keep Coming

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 5, 2012

    It's been a week of high temperatures, no rain and sad corn. This being the digital age, photos are coming in from all corners of the state. The drought paints a sad picture. Allen and Chad Broster have graced our cover before in happier times on their Wabash County farm. They farm between West Salem and Allendale, not far from where I grew up, and to top off a sorry corn crop riddled by drought, a July 2 wind storm laid flat 62 acres of what Allen says would've been the best corn on their…

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  • Tim White

    Farm Bill Focus Of Vilsack Visit

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 5, 2012

    It was billed as a visit to recognize USDA-sponsored research at OSU’s Center for Advanced Foods Research and Entrepreneurship in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science. Tom Vilsack, secretary of USDA, toured labs at the Department of Food Science and Technology June 28. He spoke with OSU scientists and saluted their work with:  * A tomato-soy juice that's rich in lycopene and soy isoflavones that could reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer. The research…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Worsening Drought Big Cause for Concern

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 5, 2012

    It doesn't take much driving across Kansas to notice there is a serious drought in progress. I took a trip across the southern part of the state from Wichita to the Colorado border and back across the central part of the state on Kansas Hwy. 96 earlier this week. It’s incredibly dry everywhere. But the western third of the state is decimated. I love the “chance of showers” you see in four or five days out in the long-range forecast. The problem is, but the time that…

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  • John Vogel

    Rural America, Truly Beautiful!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 4, 2012

    As the song goes, “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain . . ..” Even if you’re like me (can’t carry a tune in a bucket), we need to stop our labors once in a while to revel in where we are in God’s creation. Thanks to you, our readers, my farm business trips allow me to do just that. On Sunday morning, our class was singing “America, the beautiful.” And I was thinking back about my farm business trips during the last two…

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  • John Vogel

    Rural America, Truly Beautiful!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 4, 2012

    As the song goes, “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain . . ..” Even if you’re like me (can’t carry a tune in a bucket), we need to stop our labors once in a while to revel in where we are in God’s creation. Thanks to you, our readers, my farm business trips allow me to do just that. On Sunday morning, our class was singing “America, the beautiful.” And I was thinking back about my farm business trips during the last two weeks…

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  • Holly Spangler

    On Drought and Volatility

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 3, 2012

    Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of sitting around the Martin Family Farm office with Doug and Erin Martin. Doug and Erin are excellent young farmers from the greater Mt. Pulaski area, and they farm with Doug's parents. Always thoughtful, Doug shared that they've spent more time this past winter thinking about what's ahead in agriculture and how it will affect their farm. And as he spoke about market volatility, he verbalized very well what a lot of us in agriculture have come to…

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  • Josh Flint

    Five Days Without Basic Freedoms

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 3, 2012

    Having returned from a five-day trip with the Illinois Farm Bureau to Cuba, I’m feeling quite thankful to be an American. Yeah, that’s right, it’s a patriotic blog the day before Independence Day. Upon arrival in Havana, the group went to a nice restaurant near the waterfront. As we settled in, I happened to draw a seat next to the interpreter/tour leader, Jesús. He began asking me questions about why I chose journalism as my career. Metaphorically speaking, he may…

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  • Curt Arens

    Drought, Short Pastures, Less Hay Combine to Make Perfect Storm

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 3, 2012

    Who are we kidding anyway? We should have predicted this situation. High grain prices drive some farmers to tear up every acre to get the most out of high priced land. In some areas, thousands of acres of pasture and grazing land were planted to row crops this spring. Farmers in many parts of the state opted to tear up alfalfa or plant fewer acres of new seeding alfalfa, to make room for corn and soybeans. In USDA’s June 1 acreage report, planted acres of corn reached an 80-year high at…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Fight Wildfires, House Fires With Corn

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 2, 2012

    Folks in Colorado could have used some corn to fight those fires around the Air Force Academy. Yes, corn. The EarthClean Corporation, South St. Paul, Minn., has made a powdered concentrate out of cornstarch and a thickening agent that smothers fire. Called TetraKO, the concentrate is mixed directly into fire truck water tanks. When the mixture shoots from the fire hose, it turns into a thick gel that smothers flames and sticks and stays on the target – walls, ceiling, roofs, even…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Let The Kids Run The Place

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 2, 2012

    Last week came two Supreme Court decisions, neither of which was easy to understand. Even legal experts were baffled by the twists and turns used to reach decisions, especially in the healthcare ruling. At the same time, more regulations flow from EPA regulators in Washington, D.C. The ones that make any sense just make life out here more difficult. The ones that don't make any sense are a dead giveaway that the people writing them either have no common sense, have never been on a real farm, or…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Is There a Prairie Farmer in Your Mailbox?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 1, 2012

    If you didn’t get your Prairie Farmer over the weekend, keep watching your mailbox. It's gonna sound like I'm bragging, but I'm willing to do it anyway: I’m more excited about this month's cover story than I've been about any other story in a long time. We called it "Change on the Horizon," with good reason. The story started out simply enough, with a singular thought to profile a handful of the top young farmers in the state. Then I started thinking. Average age of the…

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