• Holly Spangler

    Cows and Fences: A Good Read

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 28, 2011

    I love a good story. I like a song that tells a story from beginning to end, like this or even this. (Yes, I was a teenager in the mid-'90s…why do you ask?) I love to hear a farmer's story; how they got started, how they got to where they are. Why they made a particular decision. How it all played out.  And when I stumbled on this absolutely lovely blog post the other day, I knew I needed to share it. Lindsay is an Indiana farm girl, and even better, a Shorthorn girl…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Scrap Direct Payments?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 26, 2011

    Last week, I asked for your opinions on what the next farm programs should look like. Early feedback?  In no particular order: *Scrap direct payments ("Do we really need them with $7 corn? It's just plain silly.") *Cap direct payments *Define small farms (maybe under 1,000 acres) and come up with equation that is fair to them *Good luck getting anything out of the House *Simplify crop insurance ("The government would save millions or billions of dollars by just offering the…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Where Do You Stand?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 21, 2011

    Earlier this week, Maple Park farmer Steve Pitstick did an interview with Fox News, talking farm subsidies. And in a piece titled, "It's All Your Money: How much are farmers costing you?" (a title that doesn't exactly beg lack of bias), Pitstick responds that most corn and soybean farmers would be fine if direct payments went away, but crop insurance is still vital to the health of the industry. "It's kind of a national security thing, to produce a good crop every year to feed the world…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Happy (Planting) Birthday, Baby

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 19, 2011

    The perils of being the third child who was also born in the middle of April? Your birthday can get a little busy. Like, between your older siblings' piano lessons, Easter program practice and AWANA, you don't get a real birthday supper. And the tractor may or may not be running non-stop. But the consolation prize? Lunch in the tractor with Dad. And Mom. All to yourself. And a Happy Meal. Things were definitely looking up for Miss Caroline. Check out that {new} three-year-old…

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  • Holly Spangler

    654 Miles

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 13, 2011

    You may have noticed I haven't had a new blog post in about five days. Or maybe not. If you have and if the wondering has kept you up at night, it's because it's been a little crazy around here. The past five days have seen all of the following, though not in any particular order: the start of Spring Planting 2011, the celebration of our third child's third birthday, a four-day fever, and a two-day road trip covering 654 miles in approximately 36 hours. Not that I was counting. Said road…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Strength in Numbers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 8, 2011

    Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the dedication of a couple new pieces of ground added to the University of Illinois Monmouth Research Farm. As Emerson Nafziger wisecracked at the mic, we've never had a celebration for expanding a research station…it's usually more of a funeral. Indeed. State money is tight, which means University money is tight, which means agricultural research and Extension (whose mission is not well understood by the non-ag majority on campus) has become…

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  • Holly Spangler

    What's Natural?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on April 5, 2011

    There are days when I get frustrated about the way words are taken over and misused. Like sustainable. And natural. And industrial. I have argued this before, but I think when a word is used so broadly for so many purposes – and to advance so many agendas – it loses both meaning and effectiveness. Exhibit A, again: sustainable. So it did my heart good to see a little treatise from a heart doctor regarding natural and artificial. Because if there's anything that's popular these…

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