• Mindy Ward

    Local Food Fight

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on July 31, 2013

    Where does your food come from? Well just pick up any local grocery flyer and you may see a familiar face. But now I am confused. Which farmer raises the best product? Which store should I choose? Like many other consumers, I scour the local grocery advertisements to see what is on sale this week. Recently, I have been put in a quandary. Two large grocery store chains are using photos of farm families alongside their produce. I know their individual name, farm name, hometown and state…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    A Time For A Magnificent Candidate

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 31, 2013

    The reason for so much frustration among voters about elections is the lack of candidates they feel they can trust to work for us. There was a time, I remember, when I had about three good people in mind to lead the nation (I am not going to name names to avoid any politics), but today I cannot come up with one, and that frightens me. Most potential candidates are "party choices" who their support feels will do the best job degrading the opposite party. That's not…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    State Officials Defend Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on July 31, 2013

    Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and other state officials defended the new Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy when they spoke at a soil and water conservation field day recently in Madison County. The conservation tour was held on the farm of Frederick and Helen Martens near Winterset. The statewide strategy takes a voluntary, farmer-led approach to reducing the amount of nitrate and phosphorus leaving Iowa farm fields. The strategy recommends best management practices and its goal is to…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Cowgirls and Beef Producers

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 31, 2013

    Last week during our county fair, Jenna stood in the ring for junior showmanship. She was pretty pumped about the whole thing, having won last year's Sunrise Showmanship class for first year showmen. We tried to lower her expectations, given that she was now a 10-year-old competing in a class for 10-13 year olds. It didn't work; she was in it to win it. Obviously. Fifteen kids walked into the ring for showmanship - a hair too many for the ring size. So judge Adam Dryer narrowed…

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  • Tyler Harris

    County Fair Gives Rural and Urban Youth a Look At Production Ag

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on July 30, 2013

    The past few weeks have been county fair time for communities across the U.S. This includes small towns and bigger cities like Kansas City. Platte County, Missouri, where I live, is made up in part by Kansas City's outer limits in the southern corner. The northern part is made up of rolling hills where most of the state's burley tobacco crop is grown, and is dominated by pastures – mostly with horses. According to the Platte County Fair's website, early settlers in…

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  • Curt Arens

    On the Farm, Privacy Seems to Be a Thing of the Past

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 30, 2013

    Those of us with a bunch of young children still at home know that privacy is almost unheard of. Phone calls, “Mom and Dad” conversations about the children, colorful metaphors uttered at an inopportune time at an uncooperative cow, are all being listened to by alert little ears. Every word Dad utters will be repeated at an awkward moment, usually in a crowd, at a quiet time when everyone can hear it, by a little one trying to get attention. These little guys are like sponges who…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Do You Hear What I Hear?

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on July 29, 2013

    The other day, I let the dog out. He usually runs all over the yard and chases off any sign of a moving creature. Lately, he has been running straight for the front porch and squeezing himself under It barking. Something is living there. Mr. Farmer kept seeing a red fox with a few young pups in the area. Thinking that it could not have been a fox den under that porch, I started to do some research online. Sure enough, there are rare occasions where foxes will den under porches. I thought…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    SD Farm Takes Conservation To Higher Level

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 29, 2013

    One great thing about my job is that I get to visit a lot of farms. I have never seen a  farm with such an impressive conservation effort as one I visited near Aberdeen, S.D., last week. The father and son (who I’m not going to identify yet because I hope to feature them in upcoming edition of the magazine) had purchased several farms along a river in Brown County and created a new unit that spans several thousand acres. About 30% of the farm is enrolled in conservation…

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  • Frank Holdmeyer

    What Innovation Is On Your Wish List?

    The Bigger Picture

     by Frank Holdmeyer
     on July 29, 2013

      The Farm Progress Show is less than a month away. And I'll be in Decatur, Ill., with thousands of other folks checking out the latest technology and newest products. But I got to wondering the other day, what farmers might wish for that has not yet been invented or manufactured. So I emailed a random group of farmers and asked them what they day dream about in terms of equipment or technology to make running their operations easier or more efficient. Not knowing what to…

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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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  • Josh Flint

    Time to Take Tech Stewardship Seriously

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 29, 2013

    Last week, I saw Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean crop technology in action at a field day in Collinsville. As a refresher, these are the soybeans with glyphosate and dicamba tolerance built in. And, yes, the release has been delayed by USDA ordering an Environmental Impact Statement. According to Monsanto reps, 2015 is looking to be the earliest this crop technology will hit the mainstream. A couple days later, I was in Brownstown at a University of Illinois field day…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Drought May Finally Be Losing Its Grip

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 28, 2013

    This week brought the most optimistic sign in a long time that the prolonged drought may finally be easing its grip on Kansas. Most of central and eastern Kansas received up to two inches of rain on Tuesday, followed by scattered showers across the state on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by downright downpours that threatened two-thirds of the state with flooding over the weekend. Flooding of course, is no guarantee that drought is at an end. Some of the worst flooding ever een on…

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  • Holly Spangler

    What Gets Us Through: Frozen Fruit

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 25, 2013

    This is a little silly, but it's fair week and we live on this stuff when it's hot. Like, a cup of frozen fruit might just be enough for dinner some nights. And so I share it with you, in honor of fairs and heat everywhere. Frozen fruit may be my husband's actual love language.   Frozen Fruit (catchy name, no?)   2 cans crushed pineapple, undrained 2 pkgs frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed 1 can fruit cocktail, undrained 1 12-oz can…

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  • Paula Mohr

    What's the Hold-Up?

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on July 24, 2013

    Given all that has been going on for the past decade with ag water quality, one would think this piece would have been taken care of awhile ago. In 2010, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture started the process to revise the state's 20-year-old Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan to better align it with current water resource conditions and program resources. That was a good move. A Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan advisory committee was formed to assist the MDA in the…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Machinery Makers Retool Websites

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 23, 2013

    Recently we got word that AgLeader updated its website - and we noted I noted that in my July print version of this column. Manufacturers know that you're turning to the Web more than ever to find out new things and get product information. Two more companies noted their redesigns and I thought this week I'd point you their way to check them out. First up is Remlinger Manufacturing. The Kalida, Ohio, maker of tillage tools and attachments has updated its navigation and added…

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  • Curt Arens

    A Refreshing View of Ag Appreciation

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 23, 2013

    Not long ago, I happened to meet a hard working fellow from a major urban center. During our conversation, he said something that really surprised me. It seems that farmers and farms are under attack these days everywhere we look. Major media outlets, activist groups and federal regulatory agencies all seem to be suspicious about what we do to raise food for the world and how we do it. But this guy didn’t see it that way. He told me that he appreciates everything farmers do. He…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Ode to the Fair Board Member

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 23, 2013

    It's county fair season. Amen. I could just end with that, but that would be cutting short the tale of a rural event near and dear to my heart. I grew up at the county fairs in southern Illinois, showing Shorthorns at a dozen different fairgrounds. (Don't tell my Dad, but I may have lapped the race track in his dually at any number of them.) We slept in the barns, we flung water from the washracks. We turned a simple cattle rinsing into a full-scale water war. Then we drenched…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Ethanol And Corn In Victory Lane At Iowa Speedway

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on July 22, 2013

    In more ways than one, ethanol was the winner in The American Ethanol 200, a truck race at the Iowa Speedway at Newton on July 13. Prior to the NASCAR race, Syngenta officials held a press conference at the track to make an important announcement involving the seed company's new Enogen corn. They announced that the firm will contribute $1 to the renewable fuels industry for every acre planted with the new Enogen trait technology, beginning with this year's growing season. "We…

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  • Tom Bechman

    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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  • Willie Vogt

    Online Tool Helps Master Nutrient Management

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 19, 2013

    Crop nutrition is a big deal. Just how do you keep that growing crop productive? The folks at Mosaic have been involved in providing in-depth information - they are in the crop nutrition business - for some time. They're even working directly with farmers on the Pursuit of 300 too. Yet for solid in-depth crop nutrition information they had a website called back-to-basics.net, which has now been supplanted by a new site - cropnutrition.com, which is redesigned and feature rich. It has…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Fair Season Is Starting

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on July 19, 2013

    Across the U.S., county fairs and state fairs are right around the corner, or already happening. For 4-Hers and FFA members, this often means preparing for livestock shows, whether it's cattle, pigs, goats or sheep. For some, it also means pitching in in whatever way possible, either by helping set up for the kiddie pedal tractor pull or by working the concession stand, which was the case for my FFA chapter back home. Fairs take a lot of people to help out and make them possible…

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  • Tim White

    Town & Country Co-op Honors Farm Ladies

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 19, 2013

      How important are the lady customers of town & Country Co-op? Important enough for a delicious catered luncheon at Shisler Center in Wooster. Important enough that the president of the board of directors welcomed them and thanked them for keeping the farm family glued together. Important enough that a former supreme court Justice Evelyn Stratton delivered the motivational message. And, yes, important enough that Al Holdren, CEO of the Ashland based company, recited no fewer than…

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  • Don McCabe

    Grain Companies And Cooperatives In Expansion Mode

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on July 18, 2013

    Under construction. That's one way to describe the grain handling and shipping business in Nebraska. Despite the impact of last year's drought on dryland crops and concerns over irrigation water withdrawals in parts of the state, several cooperatives and grain companies are expanding grain storage and rail load-out facilities in Nebraska. The days of farmers' cooperatives in most small towns are over, and in effect have been for some years now. We're looking at large…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Is the Customer Always Right?

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 18, 2013

    At last month's Food Dialogues (recap here and here), North Carolina farmer Bo Stone told the story of a group of non-ag folks visiting his farm. They'd finished the tour and were about to leave when one individual looked at him and said, "Ok. Now, I think I understand this: the white eggs come from the hens, and the brown eggs come from the roosters. Right?" Uh. No. The story drew a laugh from the largely agricultural crowd, as it has each time I've shared it…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    Who Says Nothing Happens After Midnight?

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on July 17, 2013

    Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite that late, but 11 p.m. is late in this woman's world. Mr. Farmer was winding down watching the local news as my head was already hitting the pillow. I was starting to doze off when I heard the phone go off. I didn't hear it ring, for it was on an entirely different level of the house - but the vibration from wherever it sat was loud enough to wake me up. Looking at the clock, 11:08 p.m., who is calling at this late hour? Sure enough, it was…

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  • John Vogel

    Anti-GMOers Want To Rule Over Dairy Farmers By 'Mob Rule'

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 17, 2013

    Last night, I shut off my television in disgust at the anger, illogic and threats of violence voiced by demonstrators over George Zimmerman "not guilty" verdict. But America's political and justice systems aren't the only institutions threatened by mob rule. Today, while quietly spooning up my Chobani Greek yogurt, my stomach churned while reading a Web release about a campaign to force Chobani to stop using milk from New York cows fed genetically-modified feeds. Like…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    New Export Terminal Really Moves Soybeans

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 17, 2013

    I enjoyed traveling to Seattle, Wash., recently with the North Dakota Soybean Council. We visited EGT, a new export grain terminal in Longview, Wash., built by Bunge and partners from Japan and South Korea. The terminal is a marvel. I was most impressed by the capacity and unloading speed. EGT can unload a shuttle train in  five to six hours and can handle six 110-car shuttle trains at any given time without decoupling the locomotives. There’s room at the terminal for…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Western Drought Takes Toll As Some Get Too Much H2O

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 16, 2013

    Consider this part 2 of the great western drought/water diversity blog. Last week I lamented on the fact that although places like eastern Colorado were suffering from crop-killing drought, others in the Northwest had too much rain. A new Northwest Farm Credit Services report just crossing my desk underscored the weather diversity in the west, triggering me to write a little more about the topic. May and June rains helped some, hurt others, according to Northwest's report…

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  • Curt Arens

    A Farmer's Reflections on a Saving Rain

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 16, 2013

    This past Saturday night, something happened at our farm that we were hoping and praying for last summer throughout late June and early July. It rained. Not only did it rain, but we received a good, old-fashioned thunderstorm that sent lightning flashes through the windows and claps of thunder that sent our littlest children into Mom and Dad’s bed. It was great. Thinking about last summer, we often experienced distant lightning, but the air was so hot and dry that it was only dry…

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  • Josh Flint

    What's the Payback on Precision Ag Technology?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 16, 2013

    Certain technologies catch on because they make life a whole lot easier. Terry Griffin, with Cresco Ag, points out that auto-steer and GPS guidance fell into that category when they were first introduced. When you’ve gone through a spring like this one, it’s nice to have a few minutes to yourself between the end rows. But, does all this precision ag stuff actually pay the bills? According to Kenton, Ohio farmer Brian Watkins, yeah it does. Watkins (and Griffin) spoke…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Corn and Cows Way Up North

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on July 15, 2013

    It was a productive, story-gathering three days for me this week as I traveled to the northwest corner of the state. I joined the Minnesota Cattlemen's summer beef tour in Roseau and stopped by the Magnusson Research Farm while there. Plus, I made other visits to farms for stories you'll see in The Farmer over the next several months. I was in that part of the state last summer when I participated in the Minnesota Soybean Growers' See For Yourself tour. That trip was an…

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  • Fran O

    It's Time To Install Central Air

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on July 15, 2013

    My mother always cautioned, "Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it!" I think all of the rain we have received this year is a direct result of too many of us wishing and praying for rain much of last year. I think we must have prayed a little too hard – that's my theory at least. According to Bill Bland, University of Wisconsin Extension soil and water conservation specialist, Wisconsin will get warmer and wetter in years to come, so get used…

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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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  • Rod Swoboda

    Pedaling Across Iowa, Learning About Agriculture

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on July 12, 2013

    Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced last week that podcasts showcasing Iowa agriculture along the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa route are available for download. RAGBRAI is the annual bicycle ride across the state in which thousands of bicycle riders participate. Many of them are from out of state or they are from Iowa but don't know much if anything about farming and agriculture. This is a good idea the Iowa Department of Agriculture has come up…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Loess Hills Stand Out

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on July 12, 2013

    Sometimes when driving across a state, you run into topography that seems a little out of place. For Iowa, it's the Loess Hills, which stand out even in comparison to the hilly ground of southwest Iowa's cow-calf country. These hills are made of deposits of loess that aren't found in this amount anywhere else, with the exception of China's Loess Plateau. Interestingly, these hills also support wildlife that would normally be found on the Great Plains further west. This…

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  • Don McCabe

    Trade Missions Serve Critical Purpose

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on July 11, 2013

    If you don't toot your own horn, who will? That idiom applies to Nebraska crop and livestock commodities and those who produce them. In the past several months, more and more Nebraska producers seem to be taking part in marketing their commodities by way of international trade missions, to countries like Turkey, Cuba, China, Taiwan, Japan and many others. That's a good deal for the state's economy and agriculture alike, considering we export close to 30% of our grains and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Max Armstrong Goes Viral?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on July 11, 2013

    OK so let's just say that this viral video thing is probably one of the coolest things to hit agriculture in the past year. Our friends the Peterson Brothers set the tone with their "I'm Farming and I Grow It" video (8.6 million views so far). But there's a new "kid" or should I say "rascal" in town - Max Armstrong. On this page you'll find his new hope-to-be-viral video - Tractor Boy - and it's a hoot to watch. Pay close attention for a…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Don't Call Them Super Weeds

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on July 11, 2013

    Every time I read an article about “super weeds” sweeping across the American farms, I want whack the writer with my hoe.  “Super weeds” seems to have become the catch phrase for herbicide-resistant weeds. Folks who have an anti-GMO agenda use the term a lot. What gets me wound up is that they make it sound as if weeds have genetically altered themselves during the growing season to withstand applications of Roundup or some other herbicide. "I…

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  • Josh Flint

    Newsflash: We'll Need GMOs To Feed the World

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on July 10, 2013

    During the Cultivating Master Farmers’ commencement ceremony, Bob Thompson, University of Illinois professor emeritus, saddled a group of Illinois’ brightest farmers with some sobering information. By 2050, he wagers the world population will top 9.6 billion people. That’s a 36% increase. Thompson notes sub-Saharan Africa will add 1.2 billion people in that time – a 132% increase. Whoa! As he filtered through stats on population growth, land allocation and…

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  • Tim White

    Winter Wheat Crop On The Edge

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on July 10, 2013

      A month ago everything was going well for Ohio’s soft red winter wheat crop. Winter provided few problems and the cool wet spring helped fill out the heads. Reports of early harvest in southern Ohio in late June indicated a big crop with a decent test weight and good yields. Then it was like the pumps on a fountain were turned on and the rain systems began pulling water out of the gulf and piping it straight north to the Eastern Corn Belt where it has been spraying from the…

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  • Frank Holdmeyer

    Farm Magazines and Agriculture Ninety Years Ago

    The Bigger Picture

     by Frank Holdmeyer
     on July 10, 2013

      We recently received a letter in the Wallaces Farmer offices in Urbandale, Iowa, from 84-year-old Donald Brandt, of Pilot Mound, Iowa.  Mr. Brandt wrote in part, "I am enclosing several old checks written by my father before I was born and made out to Wallaces Farmer. Thought you might have an interest in them." You bet, Donald! As one who has been with Wallaces Farmer and Farm Progress Company for more than 40 years, I'm extremely interested in the history…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    After The Fireworks, Settling Into Summer

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 9, 2013

    I hope that your Independence Day was as perfect as mine. My wife swept me off to the Oregon coast where we spent the holiday walking a local park filled with crafts tents where we ate Boy Scout burgers and watched swans in the pond. The rest of the day was spent cruising the Oregon Dunes in a scooter driven by an insane, funny driver. That evening, fireworks filled the sky, we ate pie and I went to sleep with a smile. It was, in my estimation, the perfect day, with accommodating blue…

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  • John Vogel

    Farm Tractors Ain't What They Used To Be

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 9, 2013

    First, my confession: Since wrestling with the wheel of an old red and gray 8N years ago, I haven't been overly fond of blue tractors. But this summer, New Holland gave Farm Progress Editorial Director Willie Vogt and me an exclusive under-the-hood and behind the wheel look at its shiny new Genesis T8 tractor. The 419-hp "baby" was a far cry from "old blue". With mind-spinning conveniences, alone, it soundly whipped the six-horse team pulling iron in a field…

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  • Curt Arens

    Cattle producers still finding strength in numbers

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 9, 2013

    I’ve been fortunate enough over the past month or so to attend both the Sandhills Cattle Association convention in Atkinson, and the Nebraska Cattlemen midyear convention in Valentine. Both meetings brought together hundreds of cattle producers from varying aspects of the beef industry, and both conventions covered important topics to the producers. Nebraska Cattlemen is celebrating 125 years of lineage as an organization. The group’s beginnings are rooted in the Nebraska…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Finding Seasonal Fresh Produce On The Road

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on July 8, 2013

    I am the first to admit that pulling into a farmer's market is a little overwhelming. I am not a vegetable connoisseur. The row upon row of green, red and purple fruits and vegetables has been known to cause mild anxiety attacks. Which one do I pick? How do I prepare it? Well, if you are a fresh produce novice like me, help is on the way. The University of Missouri Extension released a free smart phone application for iPhone, iPad and Android based on its publication Seasonal and…

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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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  • Tyler Harris

    All Kinds Of Antique Tractors Can Be Seen At 4th Of July Celebrations

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on July 5, 2013

    I'm a little late, but I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. I spent the holiday back home in southwest Iowa with family and friends I hadn't seen in a while. Like everywhere else, there were plenty of fireworks, in addition to another small rural town summer tradition – antique tractor shows, and even antique tractor pulls. Driving home from Missouri, I definitely saw my fair share of them getting ready. What I've seen more of lately is LPG, or liquefied propane gas…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Farm Visits Always Welcome

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on July 5, 2013

    The best part of my job is the chance to get out of the office and visit a farm. I thoroughly enjoy the people, the landscape, the aromas. And with June Dairy Month, I savor an added advantage: Eating ice cream and cheese, and tossing back a cold glass of milk. Last Saturday, my friend Deb accompanied me to Autumnwood Farm, south of Forest Lake. The weather was beautiful for our short road trip to the farm’s open house. Farm open house workers were ready for the throngs of…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Kids, Fireworks, Fourth of July: Yes, Life is Good

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on July 5, 2013

    When it comes to fun anywhere, it’s hard to beat kids and the Fourth of July. This year, I was struck by how many times I screamed “Neva, be careful!” or “Jax, watch out!” only to hear my children’s voices in the background saying “Mom, settle down, they are OK.” Do we get more risk-adverse as we grow older? Or do we simply become more aware of all the dangers that lurk out there and how vulnerable are the tiny flesh-and-blood bodies of…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Farm Bill And Fireworks On 4th of July

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on July 4, 2013

    On July 3 Iowa Corn Growers Association representatives gathered in front of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines for the Iowa Governor's annual sweet corn feed. It's a Fourth of July celebration and an event to mark the beginning of Iowa's sweet corn harvest—which is running a little late this year due to a cooler and wetter than normal spring and delayed planting. The sweet corn served July 3 was rumored to be imported from Missouri. Anyone who shows up at this event…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Remembering

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 4, 2013

    Seems like we spent much of yesterday working and running. A busy day at our house. July 3rd has come to be that way; I think it's the Lord's way of keeping me moving. But still thinking. On July 3, 2005, my best friend went into labor and never woke up. Amniotic embolism, they said. Rare, they said. So rare, it's the kind of event doctors and nurses remember for their careers. Can eight years really have passed? Are the babies we had together that year really eight years…

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  • Don McCabe

    Will This Water Task Force Yield Results?

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on July 3, 2013

    In Nebraska where irrigation is big business and water conflicts are perennial, there's a new water task force soon to be named. The Nebraska Unicameral, on a 45-0 vote this legislative session, passed LB 517 which created the Water Funding Task Force. Water task forces, committees, commissions, blue ribbon panels, whatever name you give them, have surfaced over the years in Nebraska quite often to study state water issues. There seems to be one about every five years or so. So…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Here Come The Fireworks! Hard To Keep Your Head Down When Looking UP

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on July 3, 2013

    I have always liked fireworks, to a point. I was one of those smiling kids who loved watching my brothers light rockets and throw cherry bombs. It was something I looked ahead to, and remembered fondly. But, over the years, my fireworks fascination has dwindled. I love going to public displays which I consider safe and sound, but when the neighborhood resounds with endless blasts and fills with the smell of gunpowder, I get a little annoyed. Particularly when it goes on for days…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Farmers Finish Up Planting

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on July 3, 2013

    What a difference a year makes. This time last year, I could sit in the shade and sweat. Temperatures hovered around 106 degrees F, and reached into the triple digits for six days straight. Corn was drying up for excessive heat and lack of moisture. Today temperatures are at least 20 degrees cooler with highs in the lower 80s. For the first time in weeks, precipitation averaged less than one inch across the state. Driving across the state this week, the crop progress varies. The corn…

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  • Curt Arens

    The View from the Cheap Seats

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on July 2, 2013

    Last night, my oldest son, Zac, played in his last baseball game of this season. His Crofton team for kids eight years old and under played host to the boys (and a few girls too) from Newcastle. No one knows who won. Each inning passes only after every player bats. No one keeps track of the outs. But all the kids have fun. His little team is one of three Crofton teams, playing in a multi-county league with teams from villages nearby like Fordyce, Bow Valley, Hartington, Wynot and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Fluffy Cows Equal Ag Ed Opportunity

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on July 2, 2013

    My latest column in the July Prairie Farmer takes a look at fluffy cows, and how our show cattle kids are on the front lines of consumer education this show season. If you haven't gotten yours in the mailbox yet, here's a look at what they might need to know this summer! Click here for the link, or read below. And good luck in the show ring! Fluffy Cows: They're Still Beef When I was a kid and my family was showing and selling Shorthorn cattle, we exhibited at the…

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  • John Vogel

    What To Celebrate On July 4

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on July 1, 2013

    As we gather for family or neighborhood picnics to celebrate the Fourth of July, it'll be easy for conversations to turn ugly. After all, Independence Day isn't what it used to be. Rather than me blogging on, I'll cede my pulpit to skinnied down, pithy insight from John Horvat II, a researcher, educator and international speaker on the U.S. socio-economic crisis. As he puts it, everyone around the picnic table seems ready and willing to complain about everything – well…

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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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