• Tom Bechman

    Indiana Land Prices Keep Soaring Higher

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 30, 2012

    Another land sale in northern Indiana made headlines recently. Sold at auction by the Schrader Auction Company, Columbia City, it brought over $9,000 per acre. Sales going even higher have been reported in isolated sales within the state. You could have probably bought the same land for $300 per acre in 1960, $3,500 in 1979, and $1,100 in 1982. Since the crash, or was it a correction, Hoosier land prices have been off to the races. Sometimes the ascent has been sharper than at other times, and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Labor, Safety and Kids

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 30, 2012

    Note: I'm planning on hosting a tour to Scandanavia in early August, where we'll see plenty of unique farming operations and other sights along the way. The 10-day tour should be fascinating. You can learn more by visiting Scandanavia Tour. Plan on joining me. Deadline for signing up is June 1. You may be pretty happy that the U.S. Department of Labor backed off of its rule changes regarding children under the age of 16 and what they can do around the farm. Ignoring the fact that…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Rust Threat to Wheat Grows With Warm, Wet Weather

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 30, 2012

    The 2012 Hard Red Winter Wheat crop is progressing toward an early harvest as April ends on a warm, wet note. If farmers manage to miss the hail that is likely from today and tonight's thunderstorm threat -- and the flooding and flash flooding already hitting much of the southeast part of the state -- a promising, if early wheat harvest is in store. Southern Kansas wheat is almost 100% headed. Cooler weather had been forecast for last week, but the actual temperature readings wound up…

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  • Josh Flint

    Consumers Got Exactly What They Asked For

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 27, 2012

    Last week, I picked up a new book – An Economist Gets Lunch by Tyler Cowen. The blurb promised a refreshing look at mainstream food production and the foodie revolution through the eyes of an economist. I was intrigued. I haven’t yet finished the book, but, thus far, I’m impressed. In the early pages, Cowen admonishes the naysayers of modern ag production. Sure, McDonald’s, Hungry-Man and Spam are examples of low-nutrition, mass-produced food that is made possible via…

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  • Holly Spangler

    BSE: Here's What We Know

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 26, 2012

    Nine years ago, when BSE first appeared on U.S. soil, I wrote in my column for Prairie Farmer how the timing was really quite horrific for us. My husband recalls sitting on the couch, watching the news when the story broke on Christmas Eve. We were to sell our entire calf crop three weeks later and as he so colorfully recalls, "I thought I was going to throw up." The fear, of course, was the outbreak would spark food safety fears, ravage markets, slam exports and bring the reality of horrible…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Food: It's Not Incorporated and It's More than a Movie

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 24, 2012

    Chicken and noodles. Lunch meat platters with croissants. Homemade mac and cheese. The best coffee cake you've ever eaten. A chocolate cake for my birthday. All this and more poured into my mother's kitchen just before and just after her death last month. All from friends and neighbors, wanting to help. Wanting to comfort. And they did. Food is powerful, is it not? Not just for sustenance, though it handles that well, too. But for comfort for a grieving family, for a sick family…

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  • Tom Bechman

    History Is Where You Find It In Indiana

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 24, 2012

    Driving to visit one of the recipients for this year's Master Farmer class, I discovered a piece of history that signifies the type of history that still dots the Indiana countryside. Many buildings could tell tremendous stories if they could talk of a time that was far different, but that laid the groundwork for the Indiana agriculture scene we have today. Since we have a policy of not releasing names of the winners of the Master Farmer award early, I'll omit some names in this tale, but it's…

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  • Curt Arens

    Grandpa's Dining Room Table

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 24, 2012

    Family life around our place has always been centered around the kitchen or dining room tables, where big family meals take place, and where the family meets for a majority of our most important activities. The dining room table that now graces our home has been the center of many family gatherings, not just for my wife and our children, but also for my grandparents before us. When my grandfather, John Arens passed away at a spry 97 years of age back in 1991, family members gathered his…

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  • Willie Vogt

    A Turn of the Gas Cap

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 23, 2012

    Note: I'm planning on hosting a tour to Scandanavia in early August, where we'll see plenty of unique farming operations and other sights along the way. The 10-day tour should be fascinating. You can learn more by visiting Scandanavia Tour. Plan on joining me. Deadline for signing up is June 1. Usually this blog looks at farm equipment and issues surrounding this important asset on your farm, but this installment is a bit of a tirade on another farm-related issue - E15. Or rather, the…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Noxious Weed, Sure. But It Has Nothing On Bermuda Grass

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 23, 2012

    The missing winter turned into the early spring this year and all forms of warm weather flora came to life early. Including my annual nemesis, Bermuda Grass. If I haven't mentioned it before, I hate this stuff. Talk kochia and marestail and waterhemp all you want, my definition of weed, courtesy of a long-ago biology teacher is "any plant that is growing where you don't want it." And in my world, that, for sure, is Bermuda grass. The problem is, you can't kill this stuff. You can knock it…

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  • John Vogel

    Chesapeake Bay Ag's Dirty Little Secret

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 23, 2012

     During a skull session at Penn State College of Ag Science’s recent Ag Council meeting, water quality and quantity was voted by ag industry participants as top priority issues for Extension educational outreach efforts. Then, thanks to Matt Ehrhart, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania office, the “dam” broke. Small-scale farmers – not the medium-sized or large-scale farmers – are largely the ones impeding progress in…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Farm Awards --Meet Our Best and Brightesst

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 23, 2012

    I had the opportunity to meet Troy and Bobbie Uglem, of Northwood, N.D., the other day. They were recently named one of four National Outstanding Young Farmers by the National Outstanding Young Farmers of America Fraternity. The couple, who began farming in 1999, grow spring wheat, soybeans, winter bean, corn, black turtle beans, dry peas and spearmint. Both Troy and Bobbie are in their 30s. They have four kids. Troy is a North Dakota State University graduate, who farmed with his parents…

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  • Tim White

    Malabar Farm Goes Hollywood

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on April 20, 2012

    I’ve met many Ohio farmers who recall the days of Louis Bromfield and his conservation sermons on Mt. Jeez at Malabar Farm. His thoughts on resource stewardship live on in his many books about the subject including Malabar Farm, Pleasant Valley and Out of the Earth. Most attended as small boys accompanying their fathers and grandfathers. Of course Bromfield authored books of other kinds before he became enamoured with agriculture. His 1927 novel Early Autumn won the Pulitzer Prize…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Generosity is Farm Value and It Is Needed Now

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 19, 2012

    There is no farm value more appreciated than that of chipping in to help out the people that nature has whacked. Gov. Sam Brownback completed a tour of the Oaklawn neighborhood in south Wichita on Thursday and issued a plea to all Kansans to help those whose lives were torn apart by last Saturday night's tornadoes and related storms and to volunteer to help with clean-up. As always when storms affect a metropolitan area, the number of people in need is much greater in the urban area, but…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    On Farm Bill, Washington D.C. Always Offers A New Viewpoint

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on April 18, 2012

    When it comes to understanding how farm policy making trickles down to farmers, a trip to Washington, D.C. can be highly instructive. In a recent visit to the Capitol, I heard both minority and majority leaders in Congress talk about how work in committees on the Farm Bill is all about posturing and show and not about doing anything substantial. I heard people on both sides of the aisle say that votes that appear to affect the Farm Bill are irrelevant and shouldn't even be considered in…

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  • John Vogel

    Communicating Ag Is Tough To Do

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on April 18, 2012

    At a luncheon on Monday in Washington, D.C., U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack reaffirmed to our North American Ag Journalists group that American agriculture is very under-appreciated. And he urged us to help communicate the true story – particularly to “under-appreciators”. Vilsack rightfully noted that American agriculture is the most abundant, prolific raw product provider to the world. We produce food, fiber and fuel, even chemical and pharmaceutical ingredients. We also…

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  • Josh Flint

    I'm Out To Prove Conventional Food Is Healthy

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 18, 2012

    Two weeks ago, the wife and I started a new diet together. The basic premise is you eat super healthy for six days. On the seventh day, you can eat whatever you want. Thus far, we've both seen promising results. I'm averaging about five pounds a week. Of course, we're also working out at least four times a week. When I say healthy, I mean oatmeal for breakfast. Then we have a small lunch, such as a sandwich, hold the mayo, with a side of fresh veggies. A lot of days I'll eat a left…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Hunt For Asparagus Much Easier Than Walking Through Woods Looking For Mushrooms

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 17, 2012

    OK, maybe it is like shooting fish in a barrel. Yes, I know where I planted the asparagus plants about 10 years ago. So yes, I have a general idea of where the fresh asparagus shoots will come up each year. But that really doesn't bother me. The biggest picking of asparagus I've ever had in my garden came the day before Easter this year. As I was crawling around picking off spear after spear, I couldn't help but think, "Man, this is so much easier than chasing after mushrooms in the…

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  • Curt Arens

    Joe Farmer is a Tractor Driving Action Hero

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 16, 2012

    Kids these days are fascinated by action. The biggest movies are action films. Their stars garner the largest paychecks. The most popular toys are action toys, associated with action movies. Everyone wants to be part of the action. Action sells. Action figures in the toy world help drive more people to buy tickets to watch the action movies. It is a great merchandising strategy. Even if you aren’t “into” the entertainment scene, you have to purchase some merchandise from the…

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  • Josh Flint

    Video Provides An Inside Look At a Chinese iPad Factory

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 13, 2012

    When your teenager complains about making minimum wage this summer, have them sit down and watch this video. Even better, have them watch it on their iPad. It's an inside look at a Chinese factory cranking out the best-selling tablet. Yep, you heard right, these Chinese workers earn $14 per day! If they work hard, they can double their salary in a couple years. No word on how many hours they typically work. If they put in 8-hour days (which I doubt), that comes out to $3.50/hour for veterans…

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  • Holly Spangler

    How a Good Product Got a Bad Rap

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 12, 2012

    John and I went out for a nice, leisurely dinner last weekend, and over the course of the conversation, I somehow mentioned "that whole pink slime thing." To which he said, "What pink slime thing?" "You don't know what I'm talking about?" "No. No idea. Am I supposed to?" I had two immediate thoughts. One, that I have failed in a measurable way as an ag journalist, if even my husband doesn't know about pink slime. Granted, we've had a lot going on the past month. But still. And two…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Scheduling Downtime in the Future

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 12, 2012

    I've had a long-running dialog with folks - from farmers to economists - about downtime. I have never felt farmers really account for the cost of downtime properly, which encourages many to "go cheap" without understanding the true value of lost time. Everyone complains about the cost of service at a dealership, but the fact is reduced downtime will always make you money. What about "scheduled" downtime? With the rise of true telematics on farm equipment - which is still in its infancy - there…

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  • Curt Arens

    Is Drought Coming in on a Cloud of Dust?

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 10, 2012

    I’ve been holding back. I’ve been patiently waiting, not wanting to write about the unusually warm and dry weather the state has experienced in recent months. I understand weather patterns around here. There is no pattern. Our normal weather is the average of two extremes. It is either too wet or too dry. We’ve seen both in the same summer. But this spring even has veteran farmers and ranchers scratching their heads, trying to recall a similar year with similar conditions…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Chance to Hear Likely Governor Candidates Enlightening

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 10, 2012

    I'm not a politician, and this isn't a political column. Instead, it's reassurance to whoever is reading that whomever Hoosiers choose as their next governor, based on the views expressed by the two most likely candidates at a recent ethanol forum sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the ethanol industry, Indiana should be in good hands. It was a treat to hear these candidates express their views and answer questions submitted by the audience so early in the election season…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Animal Cruelty Could Be On November Ballot

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 9, 2012

    A measure to make abuse of horses, dogs and cats a Class C felony may  be on the November election ballot in North Dakota. The crime is currently classified as a misdemeanor -- the same as assault, battery, vandalism, theft, larceny and trespassing. Misdemeanors are generally punishable by fines and/or up to a year in a county or local jail. The state has approved a group's petition to increase the penalty to a Class C felony. The group now needs to get about…

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  • Josh Flint

    Grass Vs. Grain Fed Beef Discussion Turns Ugly

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on April 6, 2012

    I don’t know about you, but when I see the commercials about malnourished children in Africa, my heart breaks. Apparently, not all folks feel the same way. Last weekend, I was on a “survival skills” weekend. To say the crowd was environmentally conscious would be an understatement. Of course, the campfire topic of conversation frequently turned to food. I was there to have a good time, so I tried to stay silent. On the second day, my buddy thought it would be humorous to…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Outfitting Your Tractor Cab

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on April 4, 2012

    Warning, what follows is a bit of a self-promotion piece for ways to enhance your smartphone before you're stuck in the cab planting for the next few weeks. While we know there are a growing number of apps out there - in our opinion there are some from Farm Progress that deserve your attention. If you're going to be spending time running the planter, transporting seed to different fields, and all manner of tender and support work, put that smart phone you're carrying to work. Here's a quick…

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  • Tim White

    Concerning Earthquakes and Fracking

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on April 4, 2012

    Our neighbor came to the door recently to let us know a landowners group is being formed locally to negotiate leases for gas and oil well fracking -- should the opportunity present itself. I thought the shale formations of eastern Ohio had thinned out by the time they reached Fairfield County, but I have come to learn the Utica shale is present in our area and even further west. Recent reports indicate the drillers are finding plenty of gas in horizontal wells drilled into the Utica…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Wasting Time On Pink Slime

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on April 3, 2012

    I’m surprised that the beef industry seems surprised by the pink slime controversy. Two weeks ago, ABC News reported that “its investigation” revealed that 70% of the ground beef sold in U.S. supermarkets contained something critics called pink slime – a filler made by spinning the flecks of beef off trimmings and disinfecting them with ammonia. The industry calls it Lean Finely Textured Beef. Of course, ABC News sensationalized the heck out of the story. It…

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  • Curt Arens

    Passing the Farm on to the Next Generation

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on April 2, 2012

    The message was pretty clear. I attended a farm estate planning workshop last week in Norfolk, and the experts conducting the meeting told a packed room that if they didn’t make plans now for how their land will be transferred to the next generation, the state will make those decisions for them. The goals of transfer are simple. Avoid undue taxation. Meet the goals of family members and protect the assets of the farm. The goals might be simple, but deciding how those goals will be…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Read The Rest Of The Story Before You Read It In Print

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 2, 2012

    I was determined not to mow my yard in March. I never have before. However, with May weather in March, and enough nudging by my wife, I finally realized it was inevitable. It also didn't help that my retired neighbor prides himself on being the first one to mow. You'll read more about my fight against mowing in March in Front Porch in the May issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. But if you're reading now, you're going to get the rest of the story before you know the full story. Finally, one…

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