• Tom Bechman

    Old Eyes Can't Watch Basketball on a 20-inch Screen!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 14, 2014

    My wife, Carla, and I took a journey to Georgia to see our oldest daughter, Allison, during the first week of April. She works for Coca-Cola and is based in Atlanta. It was the week of the NCAA Final Four, but I figured we could watch the Saturday evening semi-finals on her TV. Then we got to her apartment and I looked at her TV, or tried to look at it. Left from her days as a college student, the screen was 20 inches, being generous. Twenty years ago I could have sat in the comfortable…

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  • Tom Bechman

    The 5 Types of Auction-goers

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 7, 2014

    I'm an auction enthusiast. I've been to a ton of farm sales and household sales through the years, and lots of toy sales. Before the Internet, you could look the opposing bidder in the eye and try to guess how high he was going to go. People have different strategies when it comes to bidding at live auctions. Here are a few styles I've noticed, or even fell prey to at one time or another. See which of these categories might fit you. Internet bidding is a whole different animal. It…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Teaching the Next Generation is a Privilege

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 31, 2014

    Graham, my four-year-old grandson, has "cowboy" boots so he can help grandpa at the barn with the sheep. Saturday morning he couldn't wait to get the boots on and his Carhartt jacket zipped. We got out the tractor. It's a John Deere utility tractor with a loader. He calls it Johnny Tractor. "What are we going to do, pa?" "We're going to clean out part of the lambing barn, Graham." "Oh, we're going to clean out sheep poop?" "Yes…

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  • Tom Bechman

    My Encounters With Farm Yard Varmints Reaches a New High

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 24, 2014

    Opossums, raccoons, you name it – they all like to take up residence at my place. I've chronicled my battles with big raccoons and wily opossums for months now in the "Front Porch" feature in Indiana Prairie Farmer. Those reports will continue occasionally, because the battle is not over. However, just a couple of days ago I finally broke into the scoring column, quite by accident. For several days I had noticed that after I put the dog up for the night in the garage…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Consumers' Ag and Food Education Starts With You

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 17, 2014

    You are surrounded. It's a big battle, and opposing forces have you cornered on all sides. Is there any possible way to squirm free and salvage your day? Yes. You must disarm your opponent. What does this have to do with agriculture? The person who's surrounded is a farmer. There are 1,000 non-farmers for every one of you – a farmer on a commercial scale. A few of them will oppose you no matter what you do. These are the activists which seem almost militant at times. However, the…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Who Will Protect Agriculture From All The Land Mines?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 10, 2014

    Imagine farming was a game. There are farming games and a farming version of Monopoly, but I'm envisioning my own version. You leave the starting gate this time every year, ready to plant, grow a crop, harvest, pay bills and move to the next year. Along the way there are obstacles in your path – potholes, if you will. Things like wet weather, pesky weeds, a hail storm, a blown tractor engine, you know the drill. Yet somehow you make it to the end and live to farm another…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Big Boys and Their Toys: Farm Toy Show Quickens the Heart Rate

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 3, 2014

    Farm toy show? Where? When? I can't wait! If you have this reaction, you're hooked on farm toy collecting. If your wife isn't, it can make for some interesting discussions. If it sounds like I'm talking from experience, that's because I am. I caught the farm toy bug quite by accident. I went to a top flight auction held locally on New Year's Day many years ago, and my jaws dropped when someone paid $1,000 for a collection of three small New Idea toys form the '50s…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Calendar Moves Quickly Once March 1 Arrives

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 24, 2014

    Three months of cold, snow and ice are enough to make anybody think spring will never get here. But it will. Just look on the calendar. The 28 days of February are nearly gone. This coming Saturday is March 1. And once March arrives, it seems like the calendar slips into overdrive. The days fall off quickly. If your target planting date is April 15, that means you could be planting in just over six weeks, assuming the snow is gone and conditions are right. The snow will be gone. Whether…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Will They Need to Clear Snow for the Indy 500?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 17, 2014

    My daughter flew in from Minneapolis a couple days ago. We went to the airport to meet her. Snowdrifts along I-70 were a mile high…well, almost. They had piled a huge mountain of snow after clearing parking lots and other areas. It got me to thinking. When will this winter end? How long before that snow melts? Stuck in this cycle of most days in the teens, with a day now and then sneaking above 30 degrees, it's hard to imagine it ever getting warm again. Will they still be pushing…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Farmers Like the New Farm Bill; Activists Cry Foul

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 10, 2014

    Anyone who pretends they're an expert on the 2014 Farm Bill that just passed just might be pulling your leg. The bill is full of details, and Purdue University ag economists say that how the rules are fleshed out will go a long way toward determining the impact of the bill. Direct payments were eliminated, but crop insurance was "strengthened," or at least that's what the buzz on the Internet says. The 800-pound gorilla that the House wanted to take out, food stamps, is still…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Man, I Sure Love This Cold Weather!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 3, 2014

    I'm known far and wide for hating hot weather. The summer of 2012 was like being in purgatory for me. If the thermometer is above 90 degrees, I find air conditioning or shade. In 2012 when it was 106 degrees at 5 o'clock in the afternoon on my trusty John Deere thermometer in the shade, even the shade didn't help. So I usually say I'll take cold weather anytime over the heat of the dead of the summer. I can put clothes on but I can only take so many clothes off in the summer…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Tell Legislators to Stand Firm In Support of Agriculture

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 27, 2014

    Indiana has a Right to Farm law. For various reasons and because of rumblings about opposition to animal confinement units around the state, Senate Bill 186 was introduced to further clarify the importance of agriculture and animal production. This language would be added to existing law. The House companion bill is Bill 1200. Senate Bill 186 passed out of the Senate Committee hearing the bill unanimously in mid-January. Indiana Farm Bureau is on record applauding the efforts of the lawmakers…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Story Reminds Us to Appreciate What We Have Today

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 20, 2014

    Jennifer Campbell is a farmwife from Franklin, Ind. She and her husband, Chris, have a livestock and hog operation, and three kids, from sixth grade to senior year. Sounds like a typical farm family, right? There isn't anything typical about the way Jennifer writes. She's a social media queen, and does her own blog. Recently, she began writing some Web items for our Indiana Prairie Farmer website. You can find some of her articles online now. She just told me the headline for her next…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Who Will Print the First T-Shirt: 'I Survived the Winter of 2014'?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 13, 2014

    How much cold and snow you can handle and still go on with business as usual varies, depending upon what you're used to. Friends from Minnesota claim temperatures in the minus 15 to minus 20 F category are no big deal. Maybe not if you're dressed like an Eskimo every day! When they came to Indiana last week, it meant putting on three layers of clothing, a scarf, a face protector – anything to stop the stinging cold. It meant making sure livestock had water and heat, depending…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Let It Snow, Let It Snow … Just Know How Much

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on January 6, 2014

    It all started because I was laid up for several weeks in early November with a bum leg. All I could do was keep it up, so I sat there and watched TV. Before long I was hooked on Hallmark's Christmas movies. Many of them involve snow, of course, plus sappy love stories, since they also involve Christmas. Then to put me even more in the snow mood, we received 8 inches in early December. My John Deere utility tractor fired up and I got the snow out of the driveway. My snow thrower…

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  • Tom Bechman

    A Farmer's Wish List for 2014

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 30, 2013

    What would you like to happen around your farm and in your community during the New Year? Here are a few ideas. Even though I mainly raise sheep, I've thrown in a few ideas of my own too. The caution word for this list probably should be to be careful what you wish for. If some of these things really happened, things might not turn out as rosy as you might think. And it's quite possible that maybe one or two of these things will happen. One. The fertilizer dealer calls you up and…

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  • Tom Bechman

    A Favorite Christmas Memory from Long Ago

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 23, 2013

    Take a break from worrying about whether you'll make a profit next year, how to zap marestail or waterhemp and all that important stuff, and think back over some of your Christmas memories. Those are the good times. They last a lifetime. One of mine is visiting the late Dave Buck's farm a few days before Christmas many years ago. Back in those days, the youth group from the local church put on a live nativity scene. Only it wasn't at the church – it was in Dave's old…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why A Farmer Should Never Say Never

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 16, 2013

    I am a big man. The entrance to my crawlspace where the pressure tank for my submersible water pump is located is not a big opening. And, I'm 60 years old. I'm not as nimble as I once was. So I had decided that I never intended to go under the house myself again. I would get someone else to do it. Well, as luck would have it, a recent Tuesday was one of those days I should have stayed in bed. The Internet that I depend on for work quit working, I dropped a chain to the dog pen in the…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Lost Jacket Makes a Good Story to Tell

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 9, 2013

    If you know anyone connected to Ripley's Believe it or Not, you might want to clip this one out and send it to them. I'm not sure I believe it. There's one other caveat before you laugh at me. All those who have left a coat or jacket and had to go back and get it, raise your hands. Anyone with their hands down can go read another item, because you'll never believe this! I recently attended a major rollout of a new food and health corridor to bring those types of businesses to…

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  • Tom Bechman

    A Mad Dash To The End of the Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 2, 2013

    Black Friday is over but the mad dash shopping continues since Christmas is roughly three weeks away. There's no time to lose, or at least that's what retailers want you to believe. Farming has its own version of the mad dash – decisions to make before Dec. 31 expires and a new tax year begins. Should you buy new equipment? Should you sell grain this year? Should you pay ahead on inputs to get discounts? Here are a few insights about decisions a typical farm operation might face…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Ten Reasons to Be Thankful This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 25, 2013

    Thanksgiving is a time families gather, eat turkey, get stuffed, and watch football. If you let the holiday go without counting blessings, however, you miss a real opportunity to give yourself a lift and help you get a new perspective on life. Here are 10 things I'm thankful for. Your list will be different. You're a winner if you take time to list 10 reasons you're thankful this holiday season. Ten. A good crop year. I don't raise one grain of corn, I just write about it. But…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why You Should Chat With Your Extension Educator

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 18, 2013

    Perhaps the famous picture of the old-time county extension agent visiting a farm with a 4-H member and seeing him work with his Guernsey heifer is a bit out of date. It's a nice reminder of times gone by. But it's far from indicative of how modern Extension educators have changed with the times to provide information and services their community needs. Somewhere between when that picture was painted and today, many no longer contact their Extension agent, now called an educator, for…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Sometimes It Takes a 2 by 4 To Get My Attention

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 11, 2013

    You've likely either just wrapped up harvest or will soon. It's the end to another chapter in your farming career – an entire growing season. You only get 35 to 40 or so in a career, so it's important to learn from each one. The lessons may be more than about how to grow crops. What kind of things did you learn about working with your family; about what's important in life? Raising good crops and working long hours to get the crop out on time are important, but are they…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Who Wants Your Property Rights as a Landowner?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on November 4, 2013

    My office walls are adorned with various versions of the Prairie Farmer No Trespassing Sign, some dating back decades. One tin sign also talks about Prairie Farmer's Protective Union. The Protective Union was an effort to follow up on problems farmers were having, from disputes with neighbors to companies that didn't deliver a quality product through the mail. In these days of complicated legal jargon, it takes a bank of attorneys to solve some of those issues, and the Protective Union…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Legend of the Last Round of Harvest

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 28, 2013

    Some of you may be getting close to the last round of the year at harvest – others have a ways to go because of good crops to haul off, weather and late planting. At any rate, sooner or later you will get to the last round. Legend holds that the last couple of rounds can be as spooky as seeing a witch on a barn roof on Halloween night. I swore I saw one once. Of course I was only 15, it was dark, around Halloween, and I was going to get the dairy cows in the field at 5 a.m. I probably…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What Does It Take To Excite People About Safety?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 21, 2013

    The Indiana Rural Safety and Health Council and the Purdue University farm safety program, headed by Bill Field, offered a series of three classes around the state recently. The goal of each class was to provide six hours of instruction for young, potential workers, especially, but not limited to those that might work in the grain industry. "Many of these kids are hired to work at these types of places and have no training going in," Field says. At least two high-profile cases…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Take Time to Appreciate the Good Things About Farming

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 14, 2013

    I was standing in a soybean field waiting on Del Unger to make it to the end so I could ride the combine for a while. His dad, Howard, now retired and a former Master Farmer, pulled up in his pickup truck. He got out and we exchanged pleasantries. Then he looked around and said ‘Well, this is another beautiful day.” And it truly was - fall was in the air and the sun was shining bright. The trees along the edge of the field were casting a few shadows that indicated days were…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Great To See Golden Corn Again

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 7, 2013

    Dave Nanda kept asking me the other day when we met, "what did you learn from 2013?" One of my first answers was that there are ears in the field, there is life after 2012. Nanda, Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc. and a frequent columnist, thought I was kidding, but I was dead serious. I don't know how many times I asked farmers this year how their corn crop was doing, and their answer was nearly always the same: "Well, at least there…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Dirt in My Billfold Tells the Story

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 30, 2013

    When you pull out your billfold to pay for a Polar Pop at the local gas station and particles of soil fall out, plus maybe a wisp of a corn stalk leaf, brown and golden, it could be quite embarrassing. Actually, I’m proud of what I do and it’s an occupational hazard. If someone that sees the soil fall out and the corn leaf segment drift to the floor thinks I’m a hick, so be it. The soil gets there largely because I volunteer to coach local soil judging teams, and…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Lights and SMV Emblems Alone Don't Stop Fatalities

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 23, 2013

    For the second time in two years, a car collided with a combine at an intersection, resulting in a fatality. Last year it happened in Tippecanoe County. Three people in the car, including two teenagers, died. This year it happened in Huntington County. The driver of the car that hit the combine was killed. It's up to the courts and law enforcement to assign blame and figure out who did what. But the fact remains, too many accidents with farm-related equipment are happening on rural…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Farmers Await Harvest With Lots of Questions

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 16, 2013

    Arguing this growing season didn't have two distinct halves would be tough. It started out cool and wet – wet enough to delay planting or at least push it back beyond where most people like to start. Then it brought rain in June, too much in some places, just enough in others. July was cool overall with adequate rain in many places. Here comes the split personality. It went from a cool and wet trend to a hot and dry trend just in time to burst the bubble of those dreaming of…

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  • Tom Bechman

    2013 Farm Progress Show Went From Hot to Sizzling

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 2, 2013

    If you stayed away from the 2013 Farm Progress Show because it was hot, you missed a lot of great products. Exhibitors once again saved several of their latest products to introduce at the show. Others brought things they weren't even willing to talk about yet. The most talked about item at the show was an amphibious manure lagoon pump made by the young engineer and son of the company president of Nuhn Manufacturing. He worked on it right up to the show so it hasn't been tested…

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  • Tom Bechman

    The Farm Progress Show is Still a Shining Star

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 26, 2013

    The tradition which began 60 years ago in 1953 still lives. Some leaders for Prairie Farmer Co. wanted to give advertisers a way to show off new equipment. The group held a show not knowing what to expect, and tens of thousands of people showed up in a cornfield. They watched tractors of the day pull plows, and learned what was new. It caught on and this week in Decatur, Ill., it's now the premier outdoor farm show in the country. Some 600 exhibitors will show their wares. Some will…

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  • Tom Bechman

    More Positives Than Negatives From Indiana State Fair

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 19, 2013

    The 2013 Indiana State Fair passes into history as the fair that helped re-establish the tradition of attending a great state fair. The lingering tragedy of 2011 when the grandstand stage collapsed plus 2012's unbearable heat did a number on the last two fairs. Unusually cool, favorable weather helped the 2013 version rebound in attendance and spirit. We're going to report our opinion here – observations made from what we saw and from people we talked with. This isn't a…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Will A Good Corn Year Slow Land Prices?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 12, 2013

    Purdue University just issued a report which claims that in a recent survey of bankers and farm managers, land values went up an average of 17% statewide in the past 12 months. Craig Dobbins, who helps conduct the survey, says that's staggering considering that drought produced drastic yield reductions. Farming isn't just about yield – it's also about price. Limited supplies nationwide drove corn and soybean prices higher last fall. Farm incomes went up. In fact…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What Will Indiana State Fair Be Like Next Year?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 5, 2013

    Everyone knows the 2013 Indiana State Fair is centered on life without the Coliseum. It's like the Colts playing football in the parking lot because Lucas Oil Stadium is being renovated. Well, maybe it's not that drastic, but having horse hitch shows in a new arena too small for anyone to be in to watch the shows, and holding the big draw livestock events in cramped quarters isn't exactly the way you would want a state fair to go. People who are coping assume this is a…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Students Already Back to School? You've Got To Be Kidding!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 29, 2013

    Call me old-fashioned. We started school around Labor Day and got out around Memorial Day. It was a tradition carried over from the days when kids needed to be home working on the farm. Actually, I did need to be home working on the farm, even before school was out. It's the only reason my dad bought me a car – a Ford so plain it didn't even have another name. It was just a "Ford." By then other kids needed to be out in the summer to work at places like Burger…

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    Effort to Change Name of Swine Disease Uphill Battle

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 22, 2013

    Commodity groups do tremendous things in Indiana. The new Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair designed, built, paid for and staffed by the Indiana Soybean Alliance is a great example. Urban visitors who buy the food you produce will have the opportunity to learn what modern agriculture is like, and do it in a fun way. However, some efforts various groups within the industry make find them fighting an uphill battle. Trying to rename the swine disease known commonly as 'swine flu…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Help Wanted: Someone to Cure the Teenage Syndrome!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 15, 2013

    If you've raised a teenager and both you and the kid survived, congratulations! We're on our fourth, and God saved the biggest challenge for last! "Teenageitis" has set in. This word won't pass the spell check in any software program because I just made it up. But trust me, it's real! Allison, Ashley, Daniel – they all showed hogs for 10 years. Since Allison, 27, is about to graduate with her doctorate degree in Food Science at the University of Georgia…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Buy Back Memories From The Past

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 8, 2013

    My eyes lit up when I saw a Coca-Cola delivery truck on an on-line auction this spring. I had been looking for one for years. Why? Because some of my best memories on the farm as a youngster before I shifted into constant work mode were of playing with a yellow Coca-Cola delivery truck in the dairy barn. It even has the old fashioned boxes that held bottled Coke. These are made out of plastic – the originals were made out of wood. The truck itself is metal and has room for lots of…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Fair Season is Here Already!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 1, 2013

    If it seems like you just finished planting and the kids just got out of school, don't look now but many schools – even rural schools – will be back in session in four to six weeks. County fairs are either over or underway, and the Indiana State Fair is roughly a month away. Gee, how time flies when you're having fun. (Or too busy to notice!) One of this year's Master Farmers, Kevin Cox, Brazil, noted during the panel discussion at the Master Farmer banquet last…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Showtime is Here Again for 4-H Exhibitors

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 24, 2013

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

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  • Tom Bechman

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

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 17, 2013

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

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  • Tom Bechman

    Small Town America Still Alive and Well

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 10, 2013

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

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  • Tom Bechman

    Maybe Everybody Should Raise Goats!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on June 3, 2013

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

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  • Tom Bechman

    Count Your Blessings and Help Those Who Need It

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 27, 2013

    Several years ago a good friend of mine and me both knew a mutual acquaintance who was an ag economics professor. Both of us had interviewed him in his office and written stories with him as the source. One Friday morning he was out jogging before work, like he did quite frequently, and passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Later that day, someone asked my friend how his day was going. "Well, compared to my ag economics friend, I'd say my day is going pretty…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Spring Moldboard Plowing? Really?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 20, 2013

    You can dust off tillage trials by Don Griffith, a former Purdue University Extension agronomist, that date back into the 1970's and 1980's. Of all the systems studied, moldboard plowing in the spring was one that typically returned the lowest yields. Many Indiana soils are simply too heavy and wet to respond well to plowing in the spring when soils tend to have extra moisture, and clods form easily. Fast forward to 2013. Most moldboard plows are parked. A few companies still…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why Aren't the Global Warming People Talking Now?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 13, 2013

    Last year those who believe in global warming could make hay. March in Indiana was so warm it was off the charts. July brought temperatures that resembled those recorded in the 1930s. Then there's 2013 – definitely a year with a mind of its own. Forecasters called for a warm, wet spring. They got the wet part right, but up until now, at least, they missed the warm part. Maybe they believe in global warming too. I could show you about 500 high school kids who don't…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Welcome to the New Normal in Crop Farming

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 6, 2013

    When rains covered the state the third week of April, some with lots of acres to plant got jittery. Their grandpa would probably think they had lost their minds. When grandpa or great grandpa farmed, late April was for hauling manure, maybe plowing. Planting corn? You had to be kidding. The oak leaves weren't as big as squirrel ears yet! And planting soybeans? Call the men in the white coats! Even if your grandpa was more progressive, odds are he wouldn't dream of planting…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Life Lessons Abound For FFA Students

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 29, 2013

    OK, so you are in a contest and you studied very hard. It was livestock judging and you wanted to place in the top five in the area and go to state so badly you could almost taste it! But you didn't win. You didn't even place in the top 10.The judge in the sheep reasons stared at his text on his cell phone the whole time you were giving reasons. Is that why you lost? You can react one of two ways if you're a high school student – resolve to come back and study…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Thoughts About Conservation and the Farm Bill Debate

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on April 22, 2013

    Some Indiana conservation farmers would like to see conservation compliance added as a requirement to get federally subsidized crop insurance. They've met with U.S. Senator Joe Donnelley and expressed their opinions. Their idea is that if a farmer is going to get full benefits from subsidized crop insurance, he or she should have to qualify at some level of conservation compliance. If he or she doesn't comply, their costs for insurance should be higher. Savings could be used to fund…

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