• P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought in California, blizzard in Boston - blame 'the blob'

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 13, 2015

    I confess. I'm a weather geek. Tell me something weird about weather and I'm all over it. That's why I'm so fascinated by a new, unexplained event in the Pacific Ocean that is not El Nino, but may be a weather-driving phenomenon every bit as significant. Most oceanic patterns that affect weather patterns in North America have been given very scholarly names. The El Nino Southern Oscillation, which we typically shorten to El Nino or ENSO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out on a Limb: Statewide arboretums provide forestry outreach

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 27, 2015

    Nebraska has a long and storied tree history. For a prairie state, we love our trees. Another interesting, but not well-known chapter of that tree planting history still lives on through Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. NSA is completely unique, with over 100 certified arboretum sites, scattered throughout 56 communities across the state. This system is unlike any other arboretum network in any state. It all began 40 years ago, with Arbor Lodge, the home of Arbor Day founder, J. Sterling Morton…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Be careful out there with prescribed fire

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 24, 2015

    Back in 1987 when I was working part time for UNL Extension, I had the opportunity to help out with a prescribed burn on a quarter section of CRP land. It was the first time I had been on such a project. Fortunately, the burn had a crew of experienced fire fighters and prescribed burn professionals. I was the only rookie that day. I showed up and immediately, the crew handed me a fire retardant jacket. I strapped on a heavy backpack filled with water and was handed a long-handled flapper…

    Continue Reading


  • Rod Swoboda

    Historic water quality lawsuit on tap in Iowa

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 16, 2015

    On Tuesday, March 10 the Des Moines Water Works board of trustees voted unanimously to file an unprecedented lawsuit that will challenge whether drainage districts are nonpoint sources of pollution under the federal Clean Water Act. Depending on how far along it gets and what the courts decide, the suit could affect drainage districts across the state and nationwide. Two months ago, the board gave 60 days' notice to county boards of supervisors in three counties in northwest Iowa: Calhoun…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Location, location, location

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on February 27, 2015

    It is true in real estate and farming, and it is true in tree planting as well. Location means everything. When I go out to schools and conduct Arbor Day celebrations and festivities, we always talk with students about proper tree planting techniques. I always ask students, “What is the first thing you do when you plant a tree?” Unless they’ve heard the discussion before, they will invariably say, “Dig a hole.” I suppose technically they would be correct, but…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    19th Annual No-till On the Plains Winter Conference Opens

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on January 27, 2015

    P.J. Griekspoor The first day of the 19th annual No-till on the Plains Winter Conference is over. It couldn’t have felt any less like winter. The sun shone brightly, the afternoon high hit 72 degrees and the winds that howled on Monday were but a gentle breeze. All-in-all, it was not the kind of day that you would expect to find several hundred farmers staying indoors. Before those farmers headed out to breakout sessions dedicated to “Unlocking the Potential on Your Farm&rdquo…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Out On a Limb: Safety Gear Keeps Joy in Cutting Wood

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on January 9, 2015

    I love the woods. For a guy who grew up in Nebraska, that might seem like an odd thing. We’re not exactly known as the forest state, but we are known as the tree planters’ state. Maybe it goes back to my days of playing in our farmstead woods as a kid, or cutting and splitting wood for our wood stove as a teenager. No matter the reason, trees and woods are in my blood. I guess that’s why I discovered the true enjoyment of cutting wood. No sound is sweeter than the roar of a…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Urban runoff gets attention

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on January 8, 2015

    Kudos to South Dakota Extension Service for talking about urban runoff and how it affects water quality. “Many of the problems regarding nutrients, sediments and harmful bacteria in South Dakota's water begin with runoff from urban landscapes,” says Daniel Ostrem, SDSU Extension water resource field specialist.. Although runoff from agricultural lands in South Dakota has the largest impact on water quality, urban landscapes also play a large role in water quality, according to…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Christmas Tree Growers Enrich the Holiday Experience

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 16, 2014

    It’s been about 8 years since we sold fresh cut Christmas trees from our farm. I still get calls from folks looking for real Christmas trees. Although there are about 20 active Christmas tree farms in Nebraska, many growers here and around the country have retired their operations or stopped selling trees. There are many reasons for this. For our family, after 20 years of growing and selling trees, most of our many loyal customers had started to put up artificial trees. So, our real tree…

    Continue Reading


  • Curt Arens

    Get Ready for the Cover Crop Boom

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on December 3, 2014

    I think the boom is coming if it isn't already here. We are seeing greater rumblings every day. There is no question that it is beginning and will continue on the horizon. That boom is cover crops. In the past three years, we’ve written more and more about cover crops in the pages of Nebraska Farmer and our sister publications. We’ve written about why cover crops are good for the soil and why they build organic matter and add to the biological life of the soil. We’ve…

    Continue Reading