• P.J. Griekspoor

    It's Amazing the Things You Find by Accident

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 26, 2010

    A friend of my insisted I needed to check out Fox News windbag Glenn Beck's quiz that would tell me once and for all what my political beliefs are. For the record, there really isn't much doubt in my mind about my stand on most anything, but I dutifully logged on so I could share how I did on the quiz. But I never got further than the big banner that popped up immediately offering me a "New Survival Seed Bank" that would let me plant a "Full Acre Crisis Garden." For the bargain price…

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  • Tim White

    Candidates Speak Out Against HSUS Plan

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on February 25, 2010

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Valley Farm Show

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 25, 2010

    Top clue that you are in the Red River Valley for a farm show -- a new Dyna Flo flood pump is on display at the entrance. This pto driven pump can move 3,000 gallons of water per minute and lift it 15 feet high with ease. That would come in handy this spring if you had to move a lot of water from behind a ring dike or over a road. Another dead giveaway that you're in the Red River Valley -- Simplot is serving french fries, waffle fries, wedge-cut fries and potato olays from its booth, and…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Good News for Farmers as Atrazine Lawsuit Stumbles

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 24, 2010

    The plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the manufacturer and distributor of the popular herbicide, Atrazine, have voluntarily dropped more allegations from their lawsuit. Tuesday's withdrawal of claims related to real estate damage, marks the fourth time the suit has been amended to reduce claims. The suit in Madison County, Ill., is the first filed in the U.S. against the 50-year-old chemical, though lawyers have made a push in other cities trying to win support for a class…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    What a Delight to See New Group Take On HSUS

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 23, 2010

    I was delighted to see a press release about HumaneWatch.org, a new watchdog website that will provide commentary and analylsis about the activities of the Humane Society of the United States. Those of use in animal agriculture have long known the organization does nothing for the pitiful dogs and cats it shows in the television ads it runs trying to garner donations. The Center for Consumer Freedom, which is launching HumaneWatch, says HSUS raised $100 million last year, mostly from…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Animal Welfare?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 22, 2010

    I got a strange mailing over the weekend. An envelope with no return address, and addressed to "Holly 2EC" came to my home mailing address. Inside was a brochure for a Pennsylvania group called Dogs Deserve Better, which apparently seeks to outlaw the chaining of dogs. There was also a glittery homemade postcard, the likes of which my first-grader could have produced. It had lots of heart stickers and a puppy sticker, and a clear computer mailing label that said, "DOGS NEED LOVE TOO." And lots…

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  • John Vogel

    Raising Stink Without Real Manure

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 22, 2010

    One lesser aspect of human nature is that we too often form opinions based on what we want to believe. We can forgive those who base their sentiments on their own, perhaps bad, experiences. But unfortunately, a mercenary element of America’s society preys on culpability. And some try to legitimize misinformation via the Internet.   How’s that, you ask? Well, here are a few examples.   ·        The most recent is the protest of putting a chicken manure-fired power plant in a central…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Never Bet on an Animal!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 22, 2010

    OK, we're not talking about illegal rooster fights or dog fights, or dog races - nothing of the sort. We're talking what would happen is someone made a friendly wager on a female sheep - one that looked for all the world like she would have triplets, maybe more.   Naturally, she was a ewe in my son and daughter's flock. This was her first time as a mom-to-be. The people we bought her from assured us that she was from a line that lay down, almost always had twins, and milked well. But they…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    More Sleet and More Snow, Are You Kidding?

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 20, 2010

    We are being covered by a shiny new layer of ice even as I write. All day, there have been periodic showers of sleet that have mostly melted because the ground was too warm from yesterday's hint of spring for today's blast of winter to stick. But now, with temperatures falling below freezing for the overnight, we're in for a new band of moisture that turns the surface of everything into a slippery slope. Poor plants. What are they to think when we swing from "time to bloom" to "cover up…

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  • Willie Vogt

    A Little Marketing Please

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 19, 2010

    In the car business selling the sizzle is almost as valuable as selling the steak. Not every "hot car" is actually a well-built, reliable machine; but that doesn't mean it can't be popular. It's all in how you spin it. In a End of an Era we explored Agco's decision to retire the Agco brand, along with the well-known orange color. While many farmers will miss the orange, it's a decision that makes sense for the company. However, we ran across something interesting at the National Farm…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    News on New Product Lines Encouraging

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 18, 2010

    It was so encouraging today to attend the Pioneer One Forum in Wichita and hear about the research going on and the attention being paid to what farmers will need next spring and next year after that and the year after that. In a time of uncertain weather conditions, uncertain supplies of water and uncertain federal and state regulation, it is good to know that major seed companies are aware of the challenges that farmers face moving forward and are attempting to address meeting those…

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  • Josh Flint

    Keeping Up With My 16-Month Old Son

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 18, 2010

    I've always been one to laugh at the movie scene when the dad trips on a skateboard, falls on his back, then yells at his child for leaving it out.   But, I was always skeptical that such a scene would really play out in real life. First of all, wouldn't the dad see the skateboard? If not, he'd surely be nimble enough to catch himself. And, even if he did fall, it wouldn't hurt so bad he'd want to scream at his kid, right?   As a father of a one-year old, I can tell you Hollywood's…

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  • Holly Spangler

    A Star is Born

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 17, 2010

    Remember that silver lining I mentioned in Monday’s sick cow debacle? Well, he has a name: Buddy. As expected, we lost the cow but John and our veterinarian were able to save the calf. He’s small but really cute; black with a perfect white blaze on his face. Jenna is smitten with her new bottle calf.   It was cold Monday night, and Buddy spent the night and part of Tuesday in the garage, wrapped in a blanket and parked below the radiant heat, lying on some leftover foam insulation…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Imbedded with crop consultants

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 17, 2010

    I’ve been in Texas the past couple days, imbedded with crop consultants from North Dakota, northwest Minnesota and other states who are learning about new crop protection products BASF.   The company that brought you Headline fungicide and Kixor herbicide introduced nearly 30 new products in the past 10 years and will introduce about the same number in the next four, company officials says.   It takes BASF 10-12 years to introduce a brand new compound and cost $276 million.   One things…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Real Life in the Livestock Business

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on February 15, 2010

    There are days when the livestock business isn't much fun. And this is one of them.   It's when you arrive at the point where great expectations and real life come crashing into each other. When medicine isn't cutting it and you can't do anything about it. The fact is, we have two cows out in the barn right now who aren't going to make it. They've been sick, we've doctored and bandaged and cared and the vet says they won't get any better. They're suffering and we don't want that. One is…

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  • John Vogel

    Climate Change Is Real -- Duh!

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 15, 2010

    Over the weekend, I finished digging out of the latest winter blast to hit the East Coast. So far, the “Bahamas of Pennsylvania” has topped all snowfall records in recorded weather history (maybe 80 years?).   We’re even ahead of Buffalo, N.Y., in accumulated snowfall. My neighbors and even our local governments developed a false sense of security with a string of warm winters, so they were ill-prepared for “the big one”. They were used to a quick melt-down. Trouble is, temperatures haven’t…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Just How Good Were 'Old-Fashioned' Snows?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 15, 2010

    Maybe global warming has affected our climate and the amount of snow we get at any one time. That is if there is such a thing as global warming. If not, how do you explain that the drifts of my childhood were always over my head. Today, they're usually knee-deep at best, maybe a few push waist deep. And how do you explain the fact that storms that once would have kept us in for days now barely keep us away from Wal-Mart for 24-hours?   I'm not going to bother looking up weather records to…

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  • Tim White

    Playing in the snow

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on February 14, 2010

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  • Willie Vogt

    A Little Telemetry Please

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 12, 2010

    Whenever I go to a farm show the question I get asked is "what's the most interesting thing you've seen?" or "what's the hottest new product." And those are tough questions to answer. Of course, after two days at the National Farm Machinery Show and 43 new products you'll be seeing in the near future; I saw plenty. But one thing that's starting to gel is the use of cellular technology for everything from precision farming to equipment management. It's possible in several states now to use a…

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  • Josh Flint

    USDA Regroups on NAIS

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 12, 2010

    It's back to the drawing board for the National Animal Identification System. Last week, ag secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA will make sweeping changes to NAIS.   In particular, it seems the only time animals need i.d. is when they move across state lines. Also, there's no longer any mention of premises registration. However, two common themes remain: disease traceback and state implementation.   From the start, NAIS measures have drawn the most ire from beef producers, who would be…

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  • John Vogel

    Snowy thoughts

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on February 9, 2010

    Climate change is something we’ve all been aware of ever since we stepped out the door in the middle of a winter storm to get farm chores done. The term is going to be politically correct for ever and for everyone because everybody knows the weather is going to change. The only difference is that some people are going to make money on the term and make others pay dearly for it.   Anyway, as I write this, I’m looking out the window at more climate change – the front edge of another massive…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Changes in Seed Handling Reflect Story of Farming

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 8, 2010

    Maybe some of you still remember the days when farmers saved the best ears of corn to plant as seed the next year. It was open-pollinated corn. Handling seed was simple back then - just a bit labor intensive, all by hand!   I do remember handling bags of seed corn. I thought it was cool when dad finally trusted me to lift and carry a paper bag full of corn seed to a planter box on our old John Deere 494A planter by myself. Those were the days before we were as environmentally aware as we…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Government Regulation and the Strangulation of Business

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 7, 2010

    I was engaged in a conversation with a friend today who asked an intriguing question: precisely what regulations from government do the most harm to American business, especially agricultural business, enterprises? I hear a lot of complaining about "government interference" and "government over-regulation" but specifics are not often mentioned. So I wondered, what is your most hated regulation? Share here and we'll all compare notes. Are there maybe laser-aimed efforts we could make…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Message of Climate Change Meetings Disturbing

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 5, 2010

    Climate specialists speaking in Wichita and Hays this week said many things are uncertain about what will happen to Kansas as the Earth's temperature continues to rise. Nobody knows if there will be more rain or less rain, or about the same rain, which on the surface sounds reassuring. But the reality is, no matter what happens with precipitation, the result of higher temperatures and higher carbon dioxide in the air equals more, lusher, richer plant growth. And that sounds great. Except…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Kansas Winter is Challenging but Beautiful

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 5, 2010

    This is strange weather. Fortunately, we have missed the really dangerous stuff such as black ice and falling power lines. What we have instead is the amazing beauty of the landscape shrouded in frozen fog or dusted with snow. I have had the good fortune to be driving across the Kansas landscape from east to west and north to south multiple times in the last couple of weeks as I talk to this year's class of Master Farmer/Master Farm Homemakers. As always, I am amazed at the unique beauty…

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  • Josh Flint

    Tails for Tails Is Irritating, But Smart

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 5, 2010

    Man, that Humane Society of the United States is sneaky. Even though they irritate me to no end, I have to admit, they're smart.   In January, they entered into a partnership with Yellow Tail wine in what they're calling the "Tails for Tails" campaign. Essentially, Yellow Tail is marking bottles with a note that a percent of the purchase price will go toward HSUS to help save animals.   In the news release, HSUS does a great job of skirting the animal agriculture issue. The word agriculture…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Getting Ready for Spring

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on February 5, 2010

    Sprayer calibration. Just the very mention of that dreaded task probably makes you want to click on something else. Stay with me gentle reader as we look at ways technology has conspired in your favor to make this odious task more simple, and faster. Years ago I worked for a public relations firm - many of my editor friends may be shocked - and we worked on a project with Montana State University on the concept of sprayer calibration. This was the advent of a host of new postemergence crop…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Impact of Climate Change from Any Source Could Hit Kansas Hard

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on February 3, 2010

    The Kansas Division of Water Resources and the Kansas Water Office, with some help from Kansas State University,  are holding a couple of informational and educational events in Wichita and Hays today and tomorrow. It is a challenging issue, especially when you realize that as the industrialized world, no matter how decimated our economy becomes trying to fight nature, we are going to be expected to clean up whatever mess occurs. Will things get as bad as the forecast? Will they be…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Dryer buying decisions

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on February 3, 2010

    I drove out to Lidgerwood, N.D., take a picture of Steve Strege for an article that is going to appear in the February issue of the Dakota Farmer in a couple weeks.   Sorry, I can’t tell you what the story is about – it’s a surprise. But more on that later.   Anyway, when I arrived, Steve and a grain dryer salesman were at the kitchen table.   Steve was buying a new high temperature dryer, doubling the size of his current unit.   “I got all my corn done this year,” Steve told me…

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  • Tim White

    HSUS Petitions for Counter Amendment

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on February 2, 2010

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  • Tom Bechman

    Life Springs Anew in Farrowing House, Lambing Barn

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 1, 2010

    It's a beautiful day outside my office window- that's because the sun is making a cameo appearance and I can't see the ground. There's not a thermometer anywhere around to tell me it's less than 20 degrees F, and since I can't see the ground, I don't know there's a couple inches of snow out there.   Never fear, I'll look out the same window in three months, and with any luck, I'll start to see leaves budding on the tress. Who knows? When I stand up and see the ground, the grass might…

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