• John Vogel

    Behind Every Master Farmer . . .

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 31, 2010

    Early this week, American Agriculturist‘s 2010 “crop” of Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers was honored at the 77th annual awards luncheon in Harrisburg, Pa. Watching each recipient accept their award, my thoughts flashed back over the last 25 years of outstanding persons attaining the honor achieved by only 0.9% of farmers.   Every single one (both men and women) has recognized the importance of their significant others – wife, husband, brothers, sisters, children, and, this year…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    No Soft Land Prices Here

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 30, 2010

    The press releases from farm management groups and land sales gurus continue to assert that land prices are "holding steady" - which is typically code for "please don't let them slip further." They sure don't seem to be slipping around here. If anything, the land market's creeping up in western Illinois. This morning, 80 acres on the west side of Bushnell sold for $8,025 an acre. This was excellent, Class A farmland that was reasonably problem free…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Sure-fire Signs That Spring Has Sprung in Indiana

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 30, 2010

    OK, you want to know if spring is here to stay? Here are some of the ways I decide if it's springtime or not. You've probably got your own list. Sometimes a body just knows when the season is changing, especially if you're leaving nasty old man winter behind. By the way, I think it's sprung. That doesn't mean every day will be warm and 70 degrees. That would be boring anyway. If you want 70 degrees and sunny day in and day out, try Cancun - just watch out for he drug lords. Here's my top…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 29, 2010

    Looks like those in the northern Midwest may be getting a jump on the season. At least that's what Steve and Joan Kelley are saying. The couple, who farms near Fond du Lac, Wis., sent in a photo of March field work. In their e-mail, the Kelley's note the early start. Says Steve: "Been farming for 30 years...my father before that. Only once can I recall being on the land in March." The image below is Kelley running his Buhler tractor and doing some spring tillage. Interestingly, Kelley notes…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Listen Closely

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 26, 2010

    I go to my fair share of meetings and you hear quite a bit. Like the guy who tells me his son who lives in Minneapolis drove to Iowa over the winter and it was the "first time the snow got deeper as he went south." Or the comment from a commodity group official who was surprised I had guessed he was still in the field combining in January. Or how about the comment that 26% of North Dakota corn is still standing in the field, and as for lodging? Well it doesn't lodge when the snow is as deep…

    Continue Reading


  • Tim White

    My First Real Boss: Andy Stevens 1936-2010

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on March 25, 2010

    Andy Stevens is hoping mad about the health care bill. I can hear him now. “Big government give away,” he says just as he has said it many times before. “When will those people learn? It’s the tax payers’ money not theirs.” We won’t get to hear Andy rave about things like big government spending anymore. We won’t get to hear his tales of feeding cows at the farm in Delaware. We won’t get to read his words in the American Small Farm. The former editor of The Ohio Farmer and recent inductee…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    70 Degrees One Day; Three Inches of Snow the Next

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 24, 2010

    It hit 70 degrees in Wichita on Monday and the urge to get out the shovel and dig in the dirt and plant something was almost too strong to resist -- until I saw the weather forecast. True to the warning, today is cloudy and much, much colder and the western third of the state is being hit with snow. Again. I'd still like to be out there getting garden tubs ready, but something about any icy wind just takes the fun out of spring. Will winter EVER be…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    Farming In Dakota When The Birds Come Back

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 24, 2010

    Geese are filling the air over the Red River Valley — a sign that spring has come and fieldwork may soon begin. It's been that way for more than a century in the Dakotas.   Consider the opening lines from the poem “Farming in Dakota” by Mortimer Brown, published in  “A Book of Dakota Rhymes” in 1907:   When old man winter gets his back broke and begins to lose his grip When the butter ducks go whizzing to their summer feeding grounds An’ the medder lark salutes us…

    Continue Reading


  • Josh Flint

    This Editor Prefers the Taste of HFCS Over Sugar

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 24, 2010

    If you haven't heard, high fructose corn syrup is once again under attack. Duke University recently published a study that supposedly links HFCS to liver scarring. During my recent trip to Washington, DC, several Illinois Corn Growers' members met with the staff at the Corn Refiners Association.   Apparently CRA cannot determine the funding behind the research. However, most folks have probably put two and two together and arrived at a logical conclusion: the sugar…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    We Love Weddings

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 23, 2010

    The Spangler and Hinderliter families had a big weekend, as my brother, Doug, celebrated his wedding. It was highly anticipated by my kids, as Jenna was the flower girl and Nathan the ringbearer...or as Jenna said, the “ring boy.” Jenna began angling for a flower girl job about three years ago, after seeing her cousin in a wedding. She started asking when she could be a flower girl, and my husband told her Uncle Doug was her best chance, but even that wasn’t looking so good. That was about…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    Saturation Level Reached on Rural Roads

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 22, 2010

    I had a "first" today: for the first time in 12 years, I had to use the 4WD on my truck just to get out of our road. The mud is so bad, and the road has heaved so terribly in the middle, that even the load of rock they brought in last week isn't cutting it. Now we drive off to the side of the middle heave, cutting deep ruts in the ditch bank and saying a little prayer that we don't keep sinking. It all started a couple weeks ago, when the middle of the dead-end road we live on started heaving…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Visit to Unique Farm Is Memorable

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 21, 2010

    Most of you can recall some trip you've taken, either for vacation or on business, that sticks in your mind, maybe even months and years later. Maybe it was a great hit, or a terrible flop - those are the kinds that stick in our memory. If nothing happens, it's not very memorable. My trip to the corner of Whitely County and Heritage Farms, a unique livestock farm, there this past Wednesday is one of those I'll likely sit around and remember when I'm older than I am now. Hopefully I cant…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Beware of the Perils of Passion

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 21, 2010

      This may not be about what you think it’s about. (This Web site is an agricultural one, and fairly conservative of thought.) But read on.   With the rapid escalation of “Spring Fever”, young men’s fancy turns to mud racing and older men’s fixate on planting. The passion of this season, the farmer’s zeal, the push to see new crop push up is not unlike flipping on a lightning-speed browser or downing a quart of Red Bull. The mental rush of spring and its intoxicating fuel…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Meeting the Challenges of Spring

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 19, 2010

    I don't have another way to say it but "let the games begin." That's kind of how this spring feels. The piled up snow is finally going away - although Nature is adding a bit more for some parts of the Midwest this weekend - and now the frost is coming out. I was in Bismarck earlier this week where they tell me 26% of the corn is still in the field and they don't hold out a lot of hope for a surprise freeze to firm up the ground for a quick harvest. In the I-states - you know how you are…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Three Cheers for Ripley County's No-till Tradition

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 15, 2010

    One of the longest running annual events- it's beyond being called a meeting- is the No-Till Breakfast held somewhere in Ripley County every year, usually around the first of March. The magic date this year was March 11. I think I've attended all but one- I had a commitment a couple years back I couldn't get out of.   It's the place to be in southeast Indiana on the chosen date. As many as 200 people have shown up. The only problem is that unless you're form southeast Indiana, you…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Do-gooders Blind To Economic Reality - Part 1

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 12, 2010

    Far too many well-heeled environmentalists, advocates for the poor and, yes, politicians must think that money grows on trees at the farm. They must also think food grows in mega-boxes the likes of WalMart, Whole Foods and Wegmans.   That’s the only explanation for the mindless push for tougher farm labor laws in New York State and still more oppressive enforcement efforts in the Chesapeake Bay clean up. This is happening while most American’s are struggling to keep their businesses afloat or…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Do-gooders Blind To Economic Reality - Part 2

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 12, 2010

    Well-heeled social advocates for the poor, and the politicians they elect, are increasingly disconnected from what really drives American capitalism, generates revenue for taxes and creates jobs – money or to be more specific, profit margins. And it threatens the very livelihood of farmers, landowners and even their employees.   In part one, I offered a national case in point. Here, we’ll explore the same contentious, control-at-any-cost mentality working against agriculture in New York…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Heavy Duty Truck Wars Continue

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 12, 2010

    The gloves have been off in the heavy duty pickup truck "wars" since Dodge shoe-horned it's first Cummins into its "old-design" pickup in the late 1980s; and the fun hasn't stopped since. We've covered the most recent antics of Ford and Dodge in this blog in the past, and GM isn't far behind with its newest heavy duty offerings. The Chicago Auto Show saw the launch of the Silverado HD line of 2500 and 3500 class trucks and sibling GMC isn't far behind. These new GM rigs get bigger front…

    Continue Reading


  • Josh Flint

    Attorneys For Animals

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 11, 2010

    Have you ever not known whether to laugh or cry at something? While reading the Wall Street Journal about five days ago, that feeling cropped up when I noticed a ridiculous animal rights story.   In Switzerland, a small-town newspaper ran a photo of a local man who had caught a 22-lb. pike. It was the quintessential "man holding fish" photo that so many of us have seen.   While most enjoyed the article, one man in particular took issue with it. Antoine Goetschel, a Swiss attorney, decided…

    Continue Reading


  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Newseum Visit Provides Pride in Journalism Career

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on March 9, 2010

    I am in Washington, D.C. this week with the Kansas Farm Bureau County Presidents on their annual trip to the capitol to see government in action and get a chance to interact with Congressmen and Senators. But it is also a chance to see some of the best attractions, which yesterday included a trip to the Newseum, a museum dedicated to the history of American journalism. I'd been there once before with the North American Ag Journalists, but the place is even more impressive now than it was…

    Continue Reading


  • Tim White

    Dirt Cred

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on March 9, 2010

    Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times…

    Continue Reading


  • Lon Tonneson

    South Dakota Wheat Growers Start Big Upgrade Project

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on March 8, 2010

    You want your elevator delivery to go like my meeting with Roger Hansen, vice-president of business development for South Dakota Wheat Growers.   Roger Hansen was ready and waiting for me at 7:30 am when I walked into the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Fargo Monday. No waiting around. No wasting time. Meet. Greet. Do business and get back on the road – which is exactly what you probably want from a man who is helping run your grain elevator.   Hansen is vice-president of business…

    Continue Reading


  • Tom Bechman

    Epic Tale Played Out in Greene County

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 8, 2010

    Whether you are one that believes restoring wetlands if the farmland is marginal or not, you surely can at least appreciate the magnitude of what was celebrated in Greene County just a few years ago. The Natural Resources Conservation Service held a day-long celebration marking the end of restoration work on the biggest restored wetland in Indiana. It's one of the biggest restored wetland in the Untied States. Locals know it as the Goose Pond, and now people all over the country are learning…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Retooling a Legend

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 5, 2010

    There was a lot of excitement as the trade show for the 2010 Commodity Classic fired up Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. A media crowd ringed a machine covered in a shroud, all awaiting the unveiling of a tractor that would carry the unique stamp of nationally known car "redesigner" Chip Foose. When the cover came off on the "super" John Deere 4020, the crowd got an eye-full of a tractor that while staying true to its mechanical roots, definitely had a new look. Nickel-plated fuel lines, hot-rod…

    Continue Reading


  • John Vogel

    Gas Leasing Still 'Hot' Topic

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on March 3, 2010

    While a snowstorm slowed things down in central New York, it didn’t deter a lot of people from coming to the natural gas mini-seminar at the New York Farm Show.   While the main speakers were snow-bound in Ithaca, plenty of landowners showed up and shared their experiences of what’s going on in New York and Pennsylvania. And much is going on.   Land men are still trying to steal gas, oil and mineral rights. Gas drillers are causing water quality and improper chemical waste handling problems…

    Continue Reading


  • Josh Flint

    SeaWorld Incident Breathes New Life Into HSUS

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on March 3, 2010

    After a series of victories against the Humane Society of the United States, the death of a SeaWorld trainer has given them new life.   As I wait for a flight to the Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif. at 4:30 a.m. in St. Louis, I can't help listen to CNN in the background. Anderson Cooper diligently cites the "Humane Society of America" (he means HSUS) as an authority on orcas in captivity.   Just as I'm about to cry out in disgust, Jack Hanna swoops and notes that HSUS' experience with…

    Continue Reading


  • Holly Spangler

    Life at a Country Church

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on March 1, 2010

    I looked up and spotted this scene on the coat rack at church yesterday. What a blessing to worship with a bunch of farmers at our little white church in the…

    Continue Reading


  • Willie Vogt

    Company Revamps Mid-Size Workhorses

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on March 1, 2010

    Seldom does it make sense to mess with success, unless the final product is a step up from what a company offered before. For Massey Ferguson, the 500 series line has been a top mid-size performer for the company. For 2010, the 500 series is being replaced with the new four-model HD series line and four models of the line in low-profile trim. "We've upgraded the tractor with a flip-up hood and changes to match the rest of the line," says Jerry Oxborough, Massey Ferguson. "And we've worked on…

    Continue Reading