• Rod Swoboda

    Borlaug: Iowa Wrestler Who Saved A Billion Lives

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 29, 2013

    A farmer I know from northeast Iowa, Jack Hartman, and I were walking along a street in downtown Des Moines last Saturday, headed toward Wells Fargo Arena, where the NCAA 2013 national collegiate wrestling championships were taking place. I hadn't seen Jack in a while. We talked about our kids and families and what they were doing these days and a little about farming. We also talked about how the International Olympic Committee recently announced plans to drop wrestling as an Olympic…

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  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: The Power of Pork

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 29, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:   Hog farms are not popular these days, especially for neighbors. Folks fight the construction of new pork facilities. Neighbors worry about odor and manure from the pig farms. But these folks haven’t been around Danny and Josie Kluthe’s hog farm near Dodge, Neb. When I first interviewed Danny several years ago, as I visited with him outside his swine barns, my nose didn’t know we were standing on a hog farm. As someone who grew up around…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Reflecting on the Rural Route

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 29, 2013

    Lately I've spent a lot of time at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka – about an hour's drive from where I live in Kansas City. In one of my recent ventures looking into the history of Kansas cowtowns, Arthur Capper, and Kansas Farmer history in general, (something you will see in future Kansas Farmer issues) another thing I've noticed is transportation and its impact on Kansas agriculture and the overall population. Obviously, the highway system was crucial to the…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    God's Acres: Farmers Donate Grain Selflessly

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on March 29, 2013

    This past Easter weekend, I went back to Nebraska to visit family. Telling stories and digging into history, I came upon an amazing story about my hometown, Dwight and how the farming families came together to help each other out in a time of need. Picture this. It's 1921, you live in a rural town of 310 farming families. A small, devout, resourceful, but comparatively poor Bohemian (predominately Catholic) town. Fulfilling the call and need for a new school, a building is built for $120K…

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  • Josh Flint

    Spread the Cautious Optimism

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 29, 2013

    April is upon us. It's almost time to leave the artificially-lit conference halls for the sweet smell of freshly-tilled black soil. Before folks get out there, let's reflect on the winter conference season. Perhaps the most notable theme is caution. In March alone, I heard multiple economists warn that ag could be headed for a downturn in 2013. During the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers famland value conference, DuPont economist Steve…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Celebrating Birthdays, Recognition

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 28, 2013

    Working for a company where many of the magazines are more than 150 years old, when companies celebrate anniversaries it's still interesting to note. For 2013 the Claas family - and yes, it is still a family business - hits 100 this year. And the third generation Claas - Cathrina - is taking the reins of the business. This is a company that will have its 450,000th combine roll off its Omaha line in 2013. The firm first patented a "knotter" designed to tie perfect knots…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Moisture Awesome; Drought Still Causes Worry

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 28, 2013

    It’s starting to look green in southern Kansas, in spite of the fact that the final remnants of the recent five-inch snow are still hanging around. They will be gone in today’s 60-degree sunshine. That recent snow and the 20-plus inch blanketing we got a few weeks ago, along with a couple of showers in between is enough to bring out the smiles on the faces of farmers in this region, where wheat fields are looking great as the crop breaks dormancy and heads toward the spring…

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  • John Vogel

    Farming Amid An Ag Tech Shift

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 27, 2013

    At a recent farmers' club, I confessed that I sold our family farm to my cousin. So credential-wise, I was a former farmer – but still a wanna-be. My proudest accomplishment was in 1989, when we had a whole farm average corn yield of 209 bushels an acre. While it was on only 190 acres, it was one of Iowa's highest whole farm averages. And there were solid agronomic reasons for it. Our management scheme was simple: My cousin did all the work. And, I helped him manage the…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Signs of Soil Loss

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 27, 2013

    There were a couple times this winter when it was pretty easy to see soil erosion happening. During a couple blizzards, the air was filled with blowing snow and dirt -- snirt, as it's called in the Dakotas. On a trip I made from my farmstead to Bismarck after the storm, I saw road ditches were filled with snowdrifts laced with black streaks. Next to really bare fields, the drifts of snow were grey, not white. It was disappointing to see so much wind erosion happening after so…

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  • Curt Arens

    What Is Your Strategy to Beat Tough Weeds?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 26, 2013

    I attended a weed resistance workshop in Norfolk last week, moderated by University of Nebraska Extension integrated weed management specialist, Stevan Knezevic. During the course of the meeting, UNL researchers painted the true picture of weed resistance issues that are going to plague farmers down the road, and they discussed ways to mitigate the speed with which these problems will occur, as well as strategies for beating up on the toughest of the resistant weeds. Everyone in the room…

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  • Don McCabe

    Land Prices, Drought And Irrigation Water

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on March 25, 2013

    Epicenter is a word cropping up a lot recently around Nebraska. Cattle producers and University of Nebraska-Lincoln folks have attached that label to the state's beef industry—as in "Nebraska is the epicenter of the beef industry." And because Nebraska leads the country in irrigated acres and irrigation is the foundation for continued excellent crop yields now and into the future, I've even heard "epicenter" used for all of Nebraska agricultural and its…

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  • Mindy Ward

    March Madness: FFA Contest Practices Underway

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 25, 2013

    The digital thermometer in my car calculated that the temperature outside was 26 degrees Fahrenheit. As I drove north on Highway 65 near Marshall, out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of Carhart jackets and wool caps hovering around a freshly dug soil pit. It was official; FFA contest practice season was well underway. Students from across the Show-Me state are gearing up for the state's biggest showdown in the FFA arena, the Missouri FFA Convention, April 18-19 in…

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  • Fran O

    What A Difference A Year Makes

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 25, 2013

    A year ago, we were basking in 80-degree temperatures in Wisconsin on the first day of spring – double the normal high temperature of 40. On the first day of spring this year, we were greeted with a low temperature of 5 degrees in east central Wisconsin and the high temperature barely made it above 20 degrees – half the normal high for the first day of spring and 60 degrees below what we had in 2012. Only in Wisconsin could you have temperature swings that great from one year to…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Smithsonian Needs Some Minnesota Farm Stories

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 25, 2013

    There aren't that many farmers left who can say they plowed fields with a team of horses and GPS, or milked cows by hand and with robots. Even Baby Boomers have farm stories to tell. How they drove tractors all day without benefit of cover, computer or communication. Why their parents doubled and tripled the size of their livestock herds. How their family farms barely survived the 1980s. Yes, we have a lot of history to share and it is so very important that some of us take on…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Ag Day. That's Right.

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 25, 2013

    So. It was a little crazy around here last week. A quick re-cap: 1.  I flew to Washington, D.C. on Monday to cover the National Ag Day festivities for Farm Progress, which mostly took place on Tuesday, March 19. (See here and here.) 2.  It was great fun. Lots of good people. Lots of work crammed into a reasonably short span of time. (See photo below.) 3.  My friend, Kenna Rathai, and I found ourselves with a narrow two-hour window of time on Tuesday. We wanted to…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Ready, Set, Wait…to Plant!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 25, 2013

    They say you can wait a day and the weather in Indiana will change. It's certainly a no brainer that if you wait a whole year the weather will change. Bill Johnson, a weed specialist at Purdue University, says Lafayette had four 80 degree days in March, 2012. There's barely been a half dozen days above 50, if that high, this year. No two years are the same. But that led one Newton County farmer to say recently that 'abnormal is now normal'. In other words, you never know…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Go Big With Hybrid Building

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 23, 2013

    Everything is getting big on Dakota grain farms, even the buildings. Vaughn and Vance Zacharias, Kathryn, N.D., put up one of the new hybrid Morton Buildings. The building is called a “hybrid” because it combines steel trusses with wood post frame construction. With the pre-engineered steel trusses it’s possible to create a clear span of 150 feet and a vaulted ceiling, which allows for taller doors. But the superior insulating, strength and esthetics of the post frame…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Calving Season Brings Unexpected Surprises

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on March 22, 2013

    To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn. You know how the song goes. It is officially spring. If you ask a high school student what the season it is, he would gladly tell you "basketball season".  Ask a banker, they would answer you "refinancing season" or a financial advisor, "tax season". But ask a farmer what season it is and he will answer, "calving season". Currently, in this blogger's life it is…

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  • Don McCabe

    Give Nebraska Cattlemen Task Force Input On State Checkoff Idea

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on March 22, 2013

    A task force put together by the Nebraska Cattlemen has embarked on a tough sell this summer and fall, but one that merits consideration by the state's beef producers. Led by Thedford rancher Dave Hamilton, the task force has proposed a state-based beef checkoff of $1 per head, an assessment that would be in addition to the existing national beef checkoff fee, which also is $1 per head. Thus far, seeking the state checkoff is not the official policy of the Nebraska Cattlemen…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Where Rural Ends and Urban Begins

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 22, 2013

    Despite living in Kansas City since October, I hadn't realized until recently the amount of green space in between pockets of development. This has been more apparent with warmer weather. In a phone conversation with Clay County Extension community development specialist Crystal Weber, she said Kansas City is actually one of the least developed cities in the country. In cases like this, the hinterland can be somewhat hard to determine – it's not quite clear where rural ends and…

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  • Josh Flint

    Trading Time For Knowledge

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 22, 2013

    Last week, I heard the ominous sound of a brake pad’s metal warning tab screeching against the rotor. I pulled off the rear, driver-side tire for a better look. Yep, they were getting thin. But, wait, what’s all this extra stuff? I’ve done a fair number of front brake jobs, but this was my first rodeo on the rear wheels. I called my dad. We chatted and decided I best just bring it down on Easter weekend, when he’d give me a hand (i.e. pretty much do it for…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Waiting for 50

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 21, 2013

    What is it about 50 degrees F? Really. You shouldn't apply fall anhydrous ammonia before soil temperatures fall below this magic number. Growing degree days - for corn, soybeans and rice - use that 50 as a base number as part of the calculation. And perhaps the hardest 50? The wait or your soil temps to rise that high before planting. With below-30-degree days common this first week of spring, that 50-degree soil temperature in the Midwest is going to take some time to achieve…

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  • Tim White

    Seven Signs 0f Spring

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on March 21, 2013

    No season seems to tantalize as much as spring, but I have proof it's here. Spring arrived yesterday with the vernal equinox at 7:02 A.M. (EDT). The temperature on my thermometer read 29 degrees F. For tonight we are expecting flurries with a low of 22. A winter storm is forecast for the weekend. I am not going to be disheartened by this. Spring is getting here. It's just a little slow. Vernal equinox – whatever -- I have seven signs of proof that spring is truly…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Thank Heaven For The Likes Of Lisa

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 20, 2013

    Just back from bucolic Marrowstone Island, a little Washington gem of farmland and the Nordland Store. It is hidden away near Puget Sound, nestled up to Mystery Bay and not far from Port Townsend where dear are encouraged to roam the streets and dogs are welcome in all of its charming retail businesses. What brought me to Marrowstone was Lisa Painter, a heap of feisty energy at 87 and who has given her beloved 25-acre ranch to Washington State University for use as a research…

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  • Mindy Ward

    My Barn: A Life Or Death Experience

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 20, 2013

    During lambing season, I make my morning trek to the barn to see if we had any additions over the nighttime hours. I look forward to enjoying the sights and sounds of newborn baby lambs. Then there are those mornings when you crack open the barn door and realize--today will not be that day. After identifying a ewe having difficulty delivering, I find myself at the backend trying to assess the situation. First, there is the visible sign that there is no water bag, just remnants of the…

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  • John Vogel

    Saluting Agriculture And Ag Week With Every Fork Raised

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 20, 2013

    This week, the Web was awash with news releases thanking America's farmers for feeding the world. It was only fitting as we celebrated Ag Day and Ag Week. Trouble is, most of the appreciation came from within – ag organizations and ag trade groups – the choir, so to speak. I didn't spot even one grain of gratitude coming from environmentalists or those critical of "industrial ag", "big farma", "corporate agriculture" or other derogatory…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    World’s biggest sprayer?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 20, 2013

    Ron and Curt Sylte, of Williston, N.D., have what may be the world’s biggest sprayer. Last year, they had Sprayflex Sprayers, of Detroit Lakes, Minn. (www.sprayflexsprayer.com, 701-360-3544) build them a sprayer from an International 7600 tandem axle truck. The sprayer has a 3,150-gallon stainless steel tank and a 150-foot wide boom. Ron, who does most of the spraying while Curt plants, says covers 600 acres in 4-5 hours in one fill with the most of the products they apply. At…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Rome Wasn't Built In A Day, Neither Was This Photo Project

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on March 19, 2013

    Ever since I was a kid, I remember having an interest in building things. Some ideas were worse than others, while some turned out to be right on the money. To this day, my sister will not hesitate to share the story of when we were kids and I had the grand idea to build a kite out of dad's old 2x4's. So it just makes sense for me to do custom framing along with my photography. It comes naturally. I would be lying if I said my latest adventure was a "weekend…

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  • Curt Arens

    Partners in Farming. Partners in Life.

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 19, 2013

    My wife is awesome. Let me get that out there. I’m not just saying that because I’m trying to sweet talk her into a new farm gadget. I don’t tell her often enough. Most husbands probably feel this way about their wives, but take for granted that the wives know how they feel. I hope they know, because on the farm, it takes a pretty strong partnership at the top – in a husband and wife team – to make it all work. And there are tons of distractions, troubles…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Are Your Tile Lines Running Yet?

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 18, 2013

    Rain and snow during late February and first half of March in Iowa pretty much ran off rather than soaked into the ground because frost was still in the top foot or so of soil. That's what farmers attending the 2013 Iowa Master Farmer Awards day on March 14 in Des Moines reported. They came from all over the state; about 200 people attended. Northwest Iowa remains the driest part of the state, while thanks to snow and some rain, southeast Iowa is recharging its supply of subsoil moisture…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Eggs – No Hen Necessary

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on March 18, 2013

    Incredible, edible eggs – in addition to our scrambled, over-easy and poached breakfast favorites, they also provide the glue that keeps our meatballs from becoming mush and our cookies from crumbling. It's irreplaceable… or is it? What if we could take the hen out of egg production? I realize that's a risky proposition for an editor of a farm publication, but when we're talking projections of about 9 billion people on this planet by 2050, it's an intriguing…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Watch Out For That Door!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 18, 2013

    Do you remember the Windex commercials of a few years ago where the housewife got the patio door glass shiny clean? Two talking birds, imagine that – only in a commercial – are gloating about how the door is finally open and they can swoop into the house. One takes off and barrels toward the window. He hits the glass and bounces off. The point, of course, was that the window was so clean that he thought it wasn't there. This is also the time of year when you're likely…

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  • Fran O

    Seed Catalogs Provide Inspiration To Plant The 'Perfect Garden'

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 15, 2013

    I find the arrival of seed catalogs a welcome sight in what is normally a mailbox full of junk mail, magazines and bills. Like most gardeners, as I turn the pages and look at the colorful and perfect fruit in the catalogs, I find myself inspired each spring to plant "the perfect garden." But unlike most gardeners, I don't plant a garden grown exclusively from seeds. Oh sure, I buy seeds for carrots, beets, lettuce, radishes, green beans, yellow beans and peas. But we plant…

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  • Tyler Harris

    "All Roads Lead To Chicago"

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 15, 2013

    This week has been filled with Master Farmer Award programs, and many recipients have reflected on how they started farming and the changes they've seen in agriculture through the years. Lately, I've written a lot about how the city and agriculture are interconnected, but Chicago and its history may be one of the best examples. While driving through Illinois to the Prairie Farmer Master Farmer program with executive editor Frank Holdmeyer, I noticed the numerous machinery…

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  • Tim White

    Forecast: Extreme Weathermen

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on March 15, 2013

    It was pretty well agreed that there was no way the winter blizzard that buried the Twin Cities and the Windy City and the Indy City was going to cause much of a problem for attendance at the 29th Annual Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada this week. As one expert put it, "Most of these guys need their CCA credits too bad not to be here." As expected a crowd of 917 farmers and agronomists showed up for the excellent agronomically-oriented agenda Tuesday and Wednesday. We…

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  • Don McCabe

    Put Nebraska Agriculture's Footprint On Centennial Mall

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on March 15, 2013

    The Nebraska Capitol Building never fails to impress me, not only in its design and features, but also in the story of its planning and construction. Samuel R. McKelvie, a long-time publisher and editor of Nebraska Farmer, was governor in 1919 when he signed a bill to approve the structure. It was his prodding that it be built, in part to honor veterans of World War I. Nebraskans are rightly proud of their Capitol. Architect Bertrum Goodhue of New York won a competition to design it. He…

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  • John Vogel

    Change Is In The Air: Young Farmers Are Bringing It On!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 15, 2013

    No. the change in the air has nothing to do with spring, although it's almost here, too. It has certainly nothing to do with President Obama's recycled campaign theme. The fresh whiff of prosperity is drawing more and more young, energized wanna-bes back into farming. In the past year, I've seen exciting signs that Northeast agriculture is being revitalized by enterprising young men and women. Record grain and forage prices no doubt bolster ag attractiveness. New ag…

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  • Josh Flint

    I Joined the Apple Bandwagon

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 15, 2013

    After months of debating back and forth, I plunked down $300 for a 32 GB iPhone 5. I just completed my two year contract with Sprint. Throughout much of Illinois, their data coverage is quite slow. Voice coverage is spotty, especially in rural areas. Switching carriers is a necessity, considering how much I'm on rural roads. I signed with Verizon, due in large part to their unmatched 4G LTE coverage across most of Illinois. Now, why am I jumping the Android ship and swimming over…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Climate Change: The Whole Story

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 15, 2013

    I can look out my home office window and see the 10-foot tall snow drifts back in the shelterbelt that surrounds our farmstead near Fargo, N.D. There’s two feet of snow out on the level in the yard between the house and barn. It’s clear and sunny, but cold and windy. Blow ice on the Interstate 29 is keeping me from going to a precision farming conference in Sioux Falls, S.D. It’s March, but winter won’t let go. We won’t be planting in April this…

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  • Holly Spangler

    On Anniversaries and Memories

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 15, 2013

    A year ago Sunday, we made a flying trip south. A year ago Monday, I turned 36, and had my last conversation with my mother. A year ago today, she slipped peacefully from the earth. And a week from today, she would've been 66. In honor of anniversaries and memories that seem like yesterday and yet as if they occurred 10 years ago, I'm sharing the thoughts I gathered together last year, after reality had begun to settle. Titled, The End of a Long Road, this first appeared March…

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  • Paula Mohr

    A Return To Civility - For Adults And Youth

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 14, 2013

    Discussions on how to address bullying issues in schools have been going on at the state Capitol for a few legislative sessions now. Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed an anti-bullying bill in 2009, saying that the current law on the books was adequate. Since then, at least a dozen youth in the state – one is too many—have committed suicide as a result of bullying. The most recent in the news was the tragic suicide of a young teen in southern Minnesota who took her life after…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Spring is Coming! Really

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 14, 2013

    There's a growing sense of urgency in the country. In the South planters are already rolling but farther north where Nature is apparently playing some mind tricks, spring seems delayed. After last year's super early start I'm sure many readers think they're already late. However, I'm sure many are happy to see whatever moisture they can get. Our friend and meteorological colleague Greg Soulje is already predicting a more active weather pattern, so the chances of…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    The Big Red Barn

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on March 13, 2013

    I am always one to enjoy a good road trip. Especially if this road trip is through the country on a nice and warm afternoon. Personally, my favorite days to road trip are early Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons. Something in the air makes it perfect. And no, it's not the dairy farm down the road I am talking about. So, on my most recent road trip from St. Charles, Illinois, I wasn't able to take gravel road and enjoy the agriculture. However, I did manage to get lost on a…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Seen as Economic Boon for Kansas

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 13, 2013

    There’s an amazing report out that shows Kansas poised to be one of the top states in the country to benefit economically from the emerging Unmanned Aerial Vehicles industry. The study was done by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and looked specifically at the economic impact expected when U.S. UAVs are integrated into U.S. airspace beginning in 2015. I wasn’t surprised to see Kansas among the leaders in research into the technology of this industry…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Washington Stone Fruit Industry Earmarks $5 Million For Research

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 12, 2013

    We are now engaged in a magnificent transition from dependence upon government budget funds for our farm research to an era of industry funding. Western Farmer-Stockman has  tracked this change in our magazine, website and here in blogs, recognizing those who have made  the decision to post long-term research funding actions that guarantee a science-based cutting edge advantage for our industry. Without research, we will fall behind our competitors and fade as the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Nebraska Farmers Don't Hope for Snow Very Often

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 12, 2013

    Beggars can’t be choosers. That’s the old adage. But when it comes to moisture, farmers are usually pretty choosy about the timing, the form and how much wind we receive with the moisture. After recent snow and ice storms have rumbled through the area, I can see now that farmers in my neck of the woods are not complaining. I was visiting on the phone with a farmer one evening a few weeks ago when a snowstorm was raging outside. I asked him how much snow he thought he had…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    S.D. Soybean Processors Back In The Black

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 12, 2013

    South Dakota Soybean Processors, a farmer-owned company started in 1994, has done something of a turnaround. It lost money two years ago. But in 2012 it made money and expects to generate more profit in 2013. Launched in 1994 by about 2,400 soybean growers, SDSP crushes soybeans and makes soybean oil and meal. Last year, it began further refining some of its soybean oil into food grade salad oil. It also began producing some high-value byproducts from the salad oil, such as lecithin and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    How to Succeed in College

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 11, 2013

    Oh, college. How I loved it. Therefore and thus, when the opportunity arrived to visit campus with a couple young friends last week, I was on it. Ag open house? Champaign on a lovely day? Lots of fun ag friends? Old acquaintances? Good times. And so it was that my niece, Kaity, and our young friend, Ashley, and I loaded up and headed to the University of Illinois College of ACES open house in Champaign-Urbana. It was a road trip, complete with plenty of refreshments, laughs and pit…

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  • Tom Bechman

    'The Road Not Taken' Is More Than A Poem

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 11, 2013

    Joy McClain writes a column called Joy's Reflections in Indiana Prairie Farmer. If you're a guy, you probably figure it's just for women and don't read it. You don't know what you're missing. Joy is starting to get requests to speak to ag groups, and there's a reason why. The stories she relates, often personal stories, hit home whether you're a man or a woman. Without totally giving away her column, here's an example that will appear in the April…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Eagles Make It Worth The Drive To Wabasha

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 8, 2013

    If you can carve out some time this week to drive to Wabasha and visit the National Eagle Center, you will not be disappointed. We drove down last Sunday for the "Soar With The Eagles" program, which also is this weekend, March 9-10, and thoroughly enjoyed touring the facility and sitting in on the educational sessions. We listened to several volunteers talk about eagles and other birds of prey. Plus, we got up close to five "resident" eagles—four bald and one…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Mushroom Hunting Season Is Here

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 8, 2013

    Looking out my window in Kansas City, it's hard to believe March is already here. Despite the snow left on the ground after last week, spring is around the corner and Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend after what seems like a long wait – our neighbor back home used to note how the days seem to get longer a lot slower than they get shorter. With the change in seasons comes warmer weather, rain, and of course that "fresh spring" scent we all know of. Growing up in…

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  • Don McCabe

    Irrigation Technology Nothing Short Of Amazing

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on March 8, 2013

    About a year ago, Nebraska Farmer carried an article about a northeast Nebraska farmer who had adopted and was testing variable rate irrigation technology on a center pivot system. He said favorable corn and soybean prices in recent years made it possible for him to invest in this emerging technology. Its use saved him both water and energy. We've heard that response from more than one Nebraska producer during our farm visits. It's an indication that making a profit will, in most…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Celebrate Women In Ag

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 8, 2013

    They are the often unseen cogs in the wheels that make a farming operation turn smoothly throughout the day. Whether it is tending to newborn calves, running to town for parts or cooking the noon meal, women play such a vital role in agriculture. This year the Missouri State Fair and Monsanto are teaming up to honor those women who make a difference in Missouri agriculture. The Women in Agriculture contest was recently launched by the Missouri State Fair in an effort to acknowledge…

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  • Fran O

    Believing Spring Is Just Around The Corner Takes A Leap Of Faith This Year

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 8, 2013

    When it comes to spring, seeing is believing this year. Maybe it's because we have had 60 days of snow so far this winter and between 60 and 70 inches of snow in many parts of Wisconsin. When the weatherman says warmer days are on the way I say, I'll believe it when I see it! I know the calendar says spring is less than two weeks away, but looking at the endless piles of snow makes it hard to truly believe spring will arrive in Wisconsin on March 20. I will admit, today is…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Hey, I Know That Master Farmer!

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 8, 2013

    Twenty years ago, I was a high school kid. I showed cows at the fair. I participated in 4-H. I have fabulous memories of it all. What's more, those memories include one of this year's Master Farmers, smack in the center of much of it. I'm kinda proud of that. Indeed, my earliest memory of Neil Fearn is of him leaning on the tailgate of his truck on Monday morning of the Edwards County Fair, as the beef superintendent of the open show: "OK boys, let's get this…

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  • Josh Flint

    Illinois Fence Law May Be Different Than You Thought

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 8, 2013

    Every so often I’ll get a call from a reader who has a legal question that I have no idea how to answer. In most instances, I’ll suggest calling a lawyer. At one point, we had the resources to investigate this sort of thing. Not so much anymore. However, the Illinois Farm Bureau does a terrific job of keeping up on farmers’ legal queries. At the Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference, livestock program director Jim Fraley explained a facet of Illinois fence law…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    A 300 Bushel Corn Yield May Be Within Winners' Reach

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 8, 2013

    You would like meeting Jamie Gorder and her husband, Mark. They farm near Wahpeton, N.D. Jamie won the North Dakota 2012 corn yield contest with a 298.6 bushels per acre corn yield entry. It was in the dryland corn division. The entry earned her second place in the national corn yield contest. The couple enters the National Corn Growers Yield Contest every year. They use the yield contest to test new practices and products. The Gorders ridge till. The push plant populations and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Pondering the Electric Planter Unit

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 7, 2013

    This year you're going to be hearing more about the electric planter unit. There are a couple of after-market players in the business - Horsch and Precision Planting. And Kinze's hot new planter puts the technology to work. So what's so big about an electric planter meter? Perhaps the big deal is what it doesn't have - no chains, no belts, no individual clutches, no sprockets (I could go on). Just a wire harness to an individual motor that drives each planter unit and…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Beef's Role In Building Kansas City

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on March 7, 2013

    After returning to Kansas City from an Iowa interview during a break in the recent snow storms, I traveled through the West Bottoms on my way to the Western Farm Show. I'll admit I hadn't been through this historic part of downtown before, but what stood out to me, along with the American Royal Center, was the old Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building – a perfect example of how tightly wound urban centers are with agriculture. Some might say the old stockyards made Kansas…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Injury Makes Age an Issue but There's a Way Around It

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 6, 2013

    I’ve about had it with infirmary. Seriously, all I have is a 3-week-old hairline crack of the kneecap and I even talked my doctor into a minimally restrictive immobilizer. Still, there are SO many things I can’t do, or at least can’t do as easily and painlessly as I am accustomed to doing them. Wouldn’t you know that this would also be the time that one son-in-law is nursing a tear of wrist cartilage – great daddy that he is, he saved the 20-month-old…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Misuse Of Pesticides A Crime On So Many Levels

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 5, 2013

    Always it irks me to see the listing of violators of pesticide law, an offense that not only hurts ag's image, but creates doubt in our consuming public already misinformed on most pesticide issues. Selling product in unsafe containers, selling to an unlicensed buyer, using unlicensed applicators, make applications in a careless manner, causing drift to a nearby field, and even selling unregistered products were all caught by the Oregon Department of Agriculture  in 2012. And I…

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  • Curt Arens

    Sequester: What If Government Had to Operate Like Farms?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 5, 2013

    The great Civil War historian, Shelby Foote, once said that Americans pride themselves in being independent, self-reliant and unyielding. Yet, in Foote’s opinion, the country’s greatest genius has always been in our ability to compromise. His point was that when compromise failed, bad things happened. Partisanship is useful in government, but only when the partisans eventually come together and hammer out something that is best for our country. What is happening in…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Big Push To Raise Iowa's Fuel Tax

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on March 5, 2013

    Like it or not, it's time to raise Iowa's fuel tax, say backers of a proposal being discussed in the Iowa Legislature. Increased revenue is needed to pay for repairs to the state's deteriorating roads and bridges, and a tax on gasoline and diesel fuel is a user fee, say supporters of such a move. They also point out that the state's fuel tax hasn't been raised since 1989. For months lobbyists for road builders and contractors, along with other organizations advocating…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Wait. Why Do You Have a Black Eye?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 4, 2013

    Oh, calving season. It's off to a roaring start. John and I had a faint discussion about going out for dinner Saturday night and then we were tired and we decided not to, which turned out well since we wound up pulling a calf at 9:30 instead. Which was really almost as romantic. And speaking of romance, it's March, which in cat world apparently means it's time for things to start happening. Which is all to say, the entire time we were pulling this calf, the barn cats were…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Specialty Crop Research Void

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on March 4, 2013

    Last year around this time I was in Nashville at the Commodity Classic listening to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rail on how we desperately need a new farm bill. At that time there looked to be hope, as the Senate, led by Michigan's own Sen. Debbie Stabenow, was making strides to develop a program that gave farmers tools to reduce risk, increase trade opportunities, protect the environment and grow yields for both food and bio-products. Most of you know the story. The…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Sunflower Can Brighten Outlook In Drought

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 4, 2013

    Sunflowers might be a good cropping option, if the spring remains dry. You don’t have to plant until sometime in June in the Northern Plains, which will give you a lot of time to catch some rains this spring. A farmer you might want to meet if you are new to sunflowers, or haven’t planted them in a while, is Tom Young, Onida, S.D. Young is an old hand at sunflower (pardon the pun). His family has been growing sunflowers since the 1970s and he’s the immediate past…

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  • Tim White

    Is Sequestration Comedy Or Tragedy For Meat Industry?

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on March 4, 2013

      Following the late news Saturday night I was about to turn off the television when the “Saturday Night Live” show opening came on the screen. It was an Obama impersonator talking about the sequestration cuts to the federal budget. I held off on pushing the “Power” button to see how they would handle it. The gist of the routine was Obama bringing in the various federal workers who would be impacted by the cuts to give their take. There were some funny…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What if John Purdue Had Lived Near Bloomington?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 4, 2013

    Randall Reeder from Columbus, Ohio, of all places, spoke at a conservation tillage conference at Richmond recently. He is retired as an ag engineer at Ohio State University, but still works on various projects, typically to promote no-till or the use of cover crops. He asked the audience a question that seemed whimsical on the surface, but was very thought-provoking if you actually stopped to consider it. "What if John Deere had been a chemist instead of a blacksmith?" he…

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  • Holly Spangler

    U of I Visit: T-Minus One Week and Counting

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 1, 2013

    Just one week from today, a road trip will commence to one of my favorite places on earth: the University of Illinois. That's right; maybe I just don't get out much but the University of Illinois campus will always be one of my favorites. It's beautiful, it's historic, there's lots of agriculture, it's home to some of the best soil in the entire world. And it's the place where fabulous things happened for me. Indeed, I sat in Bob Hays' office in the…

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  • Fran O

    Farms With 2K Or More Cows Produced More Than A Third Of U.S. Milk

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on March 1, 2013

    In addition to writing and editing lots of stories each month for the Wisconsin Agriculturist, I also try to find time to read. No, I haven't read any best sellers or spy novels lately. What I spend most of my leisure time reading are articles in other publications about agriculture. No surprise here, a lot of what I read is about cows. Cows are big and cows still dominate Wisconsin agriculture despite high crop prices. The other day an article on the front page of the Feb. 22 issue…

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  • Paula Mohr

    The Time To Contact Your Lawmaker Is Now

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on March 1, 2013

    Taxes. Program cuts. Same-sex marriage. Just when you thought things could not get any more contentious and partisan in St. Paul, another issue surfaces to redirect discussions. Gov. Mark Dayton's State of the State address rounded up Republican traditionalists and gave them some focus about which to grouse. It also challenged some rural Democrat folks and forced them to take stands not along party lines. Now comes the push to legalize same-sex marriage. After defeating a…

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  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Father-Son Dynamic Farming Duo

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on March 1, 2013

    Curt's Comments:   Farmers are often maligned for caring only about profits, and little about the soil. Personally, I have found the opposite to be true. Farmers today understand the soil and the importance of the soil more than ever before. That's why farmers have adopted no-till systems so readily. My case in point is the Dvorak farm. When I first visited the Dvoraks for a story that ran in our December 2011 print issue, I was impressed by the size and efficiency of their…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Fighting Snow, Restoring Power

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on March 1, 2013

    A blanket of snow began to form across our farm. The small light, picturesque flakes turned to large flakes mixed with pellets of ice. It quickly accumulated on the ground, trees and power lines. The livestock took shelter in the barn and the family retreated to the house. Then it happened. A flicker, then another, one more, and then the lights went off. Our electricity was out. I live in the southwest corner or our county. The closest town is 15 miles away. Living in a rural area…

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  • Don McCabe

    Johanns Represents Nebraska And Agriculture Well

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on March 1, 2013

    After 32 years in public service, U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, a Nebraska Republican, says he's had enough of campaigning, elections and the discord in Congress. He announced a few weeks ago his intent not to seek re-election in 2014. Thirty-two years in local, state and federal positions is a long time, but I don't regard Johanns as a career politician. That's a term attached to many senators and representatives who hang on far too long. In my view, Johanns, fits more in the…

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