• Josh Flint

    Walking on the Surface of the Moon

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 8, 2012

    Being a native Missourian, I’m a bit of a river junkie. The term “float trip” inspires memories of youthful exuberance mixed with a serious lack of judgment. With such dire problems occurring on the Mississippi River, I couldn't resist the river's call. I looked up 2009 Master Farmer Randy Lambdin, who lives in Wolf Lake, about 15 minutes from Cape Girardeau, Mo. He graciously offered to show me the problem first hand. Lambdin took us down to Thebes, one of…

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  • Josh Flint

    Are Pre-Pay Fertilizer Contracts Pushing Farmers Toward Poor Agronomic Practices?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on August 15, 2011

    Last week, I conducted one of the most enlightening interviews of my career. I spoke with a fertilizer analyst. He was extremely candid about the current state of crop inputs. In short, yes, they are following crop prices, not gas prices. Our conversation eventually got on the topic of pre-paying for fertilizer. Rather than “securing supply”, he sees the practice as little more than a clever sales tactic and a way for retailers to offload risk on the farmer. I’m sure a…

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  • Josh Flint

    What Happened to the Three Rs?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 20, 2011

    Remember the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ad campaign? It seems like these PSAs started showing up at my school in the 1990s. Despite the campaign’s common sense approach to environmentalism, today folks rarely mention the three Rs. Instead, we’ve substituted them for one word: sustainability. During the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association’s Annual Convention, The Fertilizer Institute’s Laura Moody pointed out that sustainability has three pillars: economic…

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  • Josh Flint

    The Hot New Crop with No Real World Application

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on September 13, 2010

    University of Illinois’ Emerson Nafziger has a quote he likes to repeat. I’m paraphrasing, but basically he says cellulosic ethanol has been 5 to 10 years away for the past 20 years. It’s definitely one of those “funny because it’s true” comments. While we’re waiting on cellulosic ethanol to be profitable, I’m getting really tired of reading every week about how wonderful miscanthus, switchgrass and other biomass crops are. If these crops were…

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  • Josh Flint

    Is It Spring Yet?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on February 15, 2009

    I'm a man who likes all four seasons.   I just don't understand folks who move to Florida, California or Texas so they can enjoy warm, sunny weather all day every day. Don't they feel a little melancholy when they breeze through December and January without one snowflake?   According to my wife, when it's summer, I'll often say I can't wait for winter. Here lately, she claims I've been eagerly anticipating summer. She says I just want what I can't have. I think I'm just looking forward to…

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  • Josh Flint

    Land Prices Are Softening?

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 21, 2009

    Last year, $7 corn seemed to justify top-notch land at more than $6,000 an acre. Today, corn prices are hovering around $4 a bushel. What's that mean for land prices? Apparently, not too much.   I hung around the Kilton Farms Inc. Auction today (Jan. 21). Within the first 15 minutes, folks were bidding more than $6,000 an acre for flat, black and square tracts.     The crowd for the Kilton Farms Inc. Auction didn't disappoint. Aumann Auctions expected around 1,000 people to attend. For…

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  • Josh Flint

    Lists, Lists and More Lists

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on January 8, 2009

    I'm a sucker for top-ten lists. I can't help reading down a list, all the while agreeing or disagreeing with each choice.   For list lovers such as me, the start of a new year means list after list from the previous year's events. Therefore, with great anticipation I opened an e-mail that promised the "Top Ten Ethanol Stories from 2008." The list was compiled by Domestic Fuel, an alternative fuels Web site.   I must admit numbers six through ten didn't really strike me as that significant…

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  • Josh Flint

    My New Year's Resolution

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on December 22, 2008

    With 2008 coming to a close, I hope everyone had a safe, productive year. I've heard a lot of people were pleasantly surprised with their yields following such a difficult planting season.   That being said, it's time to do it all over again. Hopefully, next year will be even better. Since you can't always count on the weather or markets, perhaps you can do something to ensure a successful 2009.   A couple weeks ago, an Illinois farmer told me about his annual ritual. Near the end of every…

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