• Tom Bechman

    Closed sign on Saturday at a farm store makes one think

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 30, 2015

    The farmer relating this story to me works in town during the week. Recently, he headed down to the local fertilizer dealer on Saturday morning to get fertilizer for his pasture. He wanted to get it on before the next rain. He never thought twice about whether the store would be open. It had been open on Saturday since he was a kid. Related: Old Telephones And Antique Store Ponderings Every other Saturday morning in those days was when his dad drove to the county seat, cashed the milk check…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Saved by the calendar! Weather guys say winter is over!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 2, 2015

    The calendar made it to March. That means according to the professional ag climatologists, the weather gurus, winter is over. Ken Scheeringa, associate Indiana state climatologist, says climatological winter is Dec.1 through Feb. 28. It's over – done – finished! Many of us thought it would never get started, although there was a brief cold patch before Christmas. Then the second half of February arrived, with bitter cold, snow, and school delay after school delay. One old…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What tells you spring is on the way?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 16, 2015

    By the calendar, winter is more than half over by now. By the meteorologists' calendar, which uses Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 as winter, it's soon drawing to a close. The winds may howl and the snow may fly, although it hasn't done a lot of that in the southern half of the state yet. But spring is on the way, sometimes it's almost as it if it is in the air. What are your signs of spring? How do you know when winter is waning and another season will soon burst out from the brown doldrums…

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  • Tom Bechman

    National Farm Machinery Show brings back lots of 'memorable' memories

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 9, 2015

    My trip to Louisville last year for the National Farm Machinery Show probably ranks high on my list of most memorable shows there. The 50th anniversary show runs this week from Feb. 11 through Feb. 14, so it's the time to share a few memories. I went down on the Friday of the show, leaving early in the morning. I knew the weather would be iffy later in the day – last year was the year of snow for southern Indiana, remember? It looked like I would have time to find new products and…

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  • Tom Bechman

    What I like about the 'rubber chicken and green bean' circuit

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on February 2, 2015

    Someone asked me at the Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District annual meeting recently if I was tired of "green beans and rubber chicken" by this point in the season. Like me, this person usually attends lots of meetings in the late fall and through winter. Every SWCD around the state has a meeting, seed corn companies sponsor meals – nearly every ag group hosts a meeting in the winter. What better way to do it than with food? I'm not sure who invented the term…

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  • Tom Bechman

    'Twas The Week of Christmas, and All Through the Farm, Part Two

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 22, 2014

    With all due credits to the original authors of The Night Before Christmas, at least some of you apparently enjoyed my take on a farm version of the tale we began last week. As we zero in on and enjoy the Christmas season, here's the conclusion of my version of the tale. As you may recall, the raccoons were tearing through my feed sacks in the sheep barn during the lonely night hours. An opossum was serving as decoy, keeping the dog barking. I got up, then fell back to sleep. "There…

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  • Tom Bechman

    'Twas the Week Before Christmas, and all Through the Farm…

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 15, 2014

    One of the most-read Christmas stories for children of all time is "The Night Before Christmas." You know: 'Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.' Well, with all due credits to the original author, here's my version as Christmas week approaches this year. You're not allowed to think it's corny until you spend at least 15 minutes reflecting on what your family farm household is like at the holidays. If you can't find some humor there, no matter what…

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  • Tom Bechman

    How to Go One-Up on an Auction Buff

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 8, 2014

    When I walked into the barn at Martin Livestock near Bargersville the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I expected to see lots of people, and I did. I expected to see trailers as I drove up before that, and I did. I also expected to get a catalog of nice pictures, and I did. The only thing I didn't see that I expected to see in the sale ring were cattle – no live ones anyway! They weren't in the barn at least, they were outside in the lots. Inside the barn were video screens. As the…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Passing of Former Counselor Brings Back Memories

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on December 1, 2014

    Donya Lester is good about notifying the Indiana ag community when something related to Purdue University occurs. She's the executive director of the Purdue Ag Alumni Association. Recently, her Facebook post hit me harder than most. She reported on the passing of someone who helped shape my life. That's a moment that makes you stop and reflect. Martin Stob was an institution in the Purdue Animal Sciences Department. He passed away a few days ago at age 88. Many students remember him…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Coaching Kids and Judging Soils Brings Me Back to My Roots

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 29, 2014

    I was standing alone in a hole dug four feet deep so the kid I coach in soils judging could evaluate what properties the soil possesses. It was a bright, sunny, late-summer Sunday evening. I was in the middle of a hay field. In fact a farmer was baling hay that very afternoon not more than 200 yards away. Kids were scurrying around, using slope charts to check the slope of the land and color charts to evaluate colors. They would determine how it could best be used for agriculture, and how it…

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