• P.J. Griekspoor

    As Atchison Tragedy Unfolds, Powerful Memories Resurface

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 31, 2011

    In the almost-48 hours since a powerful explosion rocked Bartlett Grain in Atchison leaving six people dead and two critically injured, my mind has returned again and again to June of 1998 when a grain dust explosion at DeBruce Grain in Haysville, just south of Wichita, left seven people dead and 10 others hurt. Images from those first few hours and days 13 years ago have flashed: Scott Mosteller, 37, on his cell phone on the roof of the building, talking to his father Tom as helicopters…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Wild Time at National FFA Convention

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 31, 2011

    There's something about 51,000 young people and advisors, most of the young people in blue jackets, that's gets even tired old blood like mine pumping faster. It's a welcome break from news reports and news shows about all the bad things about kids. These kids still believe, so much so that the theme of the national convention was 'I Believe.' I believed too. But maybe I should have turned in about 9 p.m. on Thursday night, with thoughts of speakers who had been through war and who brought…

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  • Holly Spangler

    30 Days of Farms & Families

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 31, 2011

    Modern agriculture is the victim of many a misconception these days, but among the biggest: we're some kind of corporate conglomerate. In fact, a survey by the Illinois Farm Families coalition revealed that consumers think fewer than half of all Illinois farms are owned by families – just 46%, while consumers guessed 54% were corporate-owned. (Maybe you remember hearing that some even thought the seed corn signs meant the field was owned by Pioneer?! Ha!) The truth? 95% of the farms in…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    What South Dakota Soybean Leaders Learned In China

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 31, 2011

    I was intrigued some of things South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council leaders and staff said they learned on a recent trade trip to China. Some of the points were serious and helped me understand the China market better. Some were just plain fun. All were interesting. According to South Dakota Soybean’s “Scoop on Soybean” blog, some of the top things they learned were: "Soybean demand in China fluctuates with the Chinese New Year holiday. The Chinese…

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  • Curt Arens

    Celebrating the Birth of Baby Seven Billion

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 30, 2011

    Population research folks say that October 31 is the day. Halloween is marked in red on their calendars, for extreme warning, as the day the world’s population will reach seven billion. They have calculated that somewhere on the planet at some time during this day, baby number seven billion will take his or her first breath out of the womb. Some of these folks look at this birth, and I’m guessing all births after today, as looming disaster, a day closer to Armageddon. They say…

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  • Tim White

    Listeners Gather Around Radio North Star

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on October 28, 2011

    I spent today with the Ghanaian version of Ohio's legendary broadcaster Ed Johnson. And just as the beloved Ohio farm broadcaster was often known just as EJ or Ed, northern Ghana's highest regarded "agric" radio personality is called Sadik. "That is my last name," he says. "But that is what everyone calls me. Even my father just calls me Sadik." MANAGING DIRECTOR: Adam Cockra is a broadcaster and philosopher: "If you are strong use your self to defend the weak. If you are knowledgeable…

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  • Willie Vogt

    New Biofuel Passes Another Test

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 28, 2011

    We've been covering the company Gevo, a Colorado-based firm that bought an ethanol plant in Luverne, Minn., and is converting it to a different type of biofuel - isobutanol. The biofuel has a higher energy rating than ethanol, can be pipelined and also has added value in the chemical market. This week, the company announced small engine test results where it was tested against a blend of ethanol and gasoline. Working with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and Briggs & Stratton, Gevo…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Things That Haven't Happened in Awhile: A List

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 28, 2011

    It's Friday, my thoughts are disconnected and the kids are home from school today. Or more accurately, the kids are home from school today so my thoughts are disconnected. All in all, it feels like a good day for a list. Lately, I have noticed a few things have been happening that haven't happened in awhile.  Like: 1.         Monday night I cooked meat, potato and vegetable, then we all sat down at the table (that I had to dust off) and ate…

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  • Josh Flint

    Reacting to Washington's Whims Is No Sunday Picnic

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 27, 2011

    When President Obama visited Wyffels Hybrids several months ago, Holly Spangler noted the first question came from farmer Rock Katschnig. In essence, Katschnig voiced his concern about additional regulations hindering the way he does business. In a very political manner, Obama asked for further clarification on the question. Then he somewhat sidestepped the question by saying Katschnig should work closely with the USDA on this topic. Well Mr. President, I wanted to revisit this topic…

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  • Holly Spangler

    An Encounter at the Meat Counter

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 26, 2011

    Last night, my mother-in-law and I found ourselves in town for a fundraising dinner. By "in town," I mean a town 30 minutes away that has a very nice, reasonably large Hy-Vee grocery store. And because we always need groceries, we ran into Hy-Vee after dinner. On my list: ribeyes, for a special dinner. So I headed to the Hy-Vee meat counter. Turns out, the meat counter closed at 9 p.m. It was 9:04. So I turned to the meat case. My mother-in-law, Sharon, and I perused the offerings…

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  • Tim White

    In West Africa's Fastest Growing City

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on October 25, 2011

    As I write I am on assignment for ACDI/ VOCA in Tamale, Ghana. Tamale (with emphasis on the Tah syllable) is a northern Ghana city of more than 200,000. Although it is surrounded by small villages of farmers, I am told it is the fastest growing city in all of West Africa. And I believe it. This is a place on the move. During the day half of the populace seems to be on the main street traveling one direction or another on vehicles of all types. They travel on motorbikes of various shapes and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Things I Learned from 2011 Farm Shows

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 24, 2011

    Farm shows are an important, and fun, part of my job. Getting paid to be at a show to see the latest farm tech, well I have one fellow staffer - he's in sales - that says when he dies he wants to come back as an editor. Need I say more? This year I made it to two of the family of fall shows, Farm Progress Show (which we own) and the Sunbelt Ag Expo (where Farm Progress supports the Southeast Farmer of the Year Program - which is not unlike our Master Farmer programs around the country). I got…

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  • Tim White

    The International Alarm Clock

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on October 24, 2011

    It’s an amazing world. One day you can be gathering walnuts in the backyard in Ohio and then 23 hours later you arrive at Akwaaba Airport in Accra the capital of Ghana in West Africa. I am here for a 3-week stint with ACDI/VOCA. As a volunteer in the program, which is a part of U.S. AID, I am working with local media outlets to increase the amount of coverage given to agriculture. Many Ohioans have participated in the ACDI/VOCA efforts to improve farm productivity and agricultural…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Trip to Get Steel For Repairs Turns into Adventure

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 24, 2011

    Columbus and Bartholomew County, we love you- we just wish you were easier to get around in! If you live there, it may be a snap, but if you don't go there more than a couple times a year, and go into Columbus on Highway 11 from the north, you run into amaze of semi-roundabouts and one way streets and construction, always construction, and streets that run on an angle. Angling roads due to the French settling Knox County makes it either the first or second easiest county in the state to get…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Bare No More

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 22, 2011

    I have to tell you, it was absolutely GREAT to drive around south central Kansas and see the wheat up, green and growing. The rain we had Oct. 8 was enough to get the "dusted in" crop germinated and up and the ground was workable quick enough for more farmers to plant behind the rain. The result is no more bare and brown, but green and growing. The problem is we need more rain to keep it growing. And we need a couple more weeks before a hard freeze to get some tillering before the crop…

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  • Curt Arens

    Free Range Swine

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 21, 2011

    Hogs were a mainstay on farms around our part of the state for decades. When Nebraska Pork Producers Association, which celebrated 50 years of existence recently, was formed, a good share of membership came from northeast Nebraska, I’m sure. Sadly, many family farmers have given up raising hogs, because of volatile prices, extreme regulatory pressure and very small profit margins. We grudgingly gave up raising hogs on our place in 2005, but I could write a book about all of the antics…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Set The Cows Free and Burn Down the Corn

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 19, 2011

    I swear, if I farmed I'd go home and set the cows free and burn down the corn and soybeans. I heard Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, speak at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., tonight. Here's the impressions from his lecture I came away with: We're making people fat and sick with the kind of food we produce. We're ruining our communities by increasing the size of our farms and ranches. We're sucking taxpayers dry by taking money from farm programs. Schlosser…

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  • Holly Spangler

    To the Farm

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 19, 2011

    (I'm guest blogging over at the Illinois Farm Families website today! We had a big day Saturday, sharing agriculture with new Chicago Field Moms. Here's a look at what we did; be sure to click on over to the Illinois Farm Families blog to catch the rest!) I awoke Saturday morning at 4:10 a.m. Bright eyed. Awake. Not excited to be awake. But excited about the day ahead. (Contrary to popular belief, not all farm people are automatically morning people. 4:10 a.m. is a ridiculous hour of…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    From white caps to dust ups

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 18, 2011

    Harvest is going surprisingly well this year. Surprisingly, because most farmers in the eastern Dakotas are used to harvests of mud. Of pulling combines, trucks and carts, of combining corn in standing water and cob-high snow drifts, and of awaking up from a 3 a.m. nap in the sugarbeet lifter and having their  boot frozen to the cab floor. (That happened to my neighbor.) Fields across the Dakotas are dry and the row crops are coming off fast. Some farmers, like Roger Walkinshaw, of…

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  • Josh Flint

    Corn Ethanol: Love It, Forget It, Vilify It

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 17, 2011

    It seems the volume of ethanol detractors’ voices are directly tied to corn prices. The markets go up, the critics get louder. One of the more recent thrashings has come with the introduction of H.R. 3097 from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA). The bill seeks to adjust the corn-based ethanol mandate in relation to the corn ending-stock-to-use ratio. Therefore, as we have less leftover corn, the mandate goes down. On paper it looks like this:  …

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  • Tom Bechman

    Hope Still Springs Eternal

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 17, 2011

    People have called in about poor yields. Others have told me about poor yields when I asked. Once in a while someone says the yield is better than they expected. But they almost always follow it with 'But's it's still two-thirds to three-fourths of what that field has made in the past.' Meanwhile, I've spent time with a family that lost the majority of their equipment and key storage and shop buildings in a fire. I've even seen the pictures of the fire on Christmas Eve morning last year, and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Here's an Idea - Share a Harvest Photo

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 14, 2011

    The world of social media is growing so fast some of us old codgers have trouble keeping up. Yet farmers are learning that having a Facebook page or at least being on Facebook may have value. And we have a few Facebook pages ourselves. And we added a new fan page this year for you to check out and "like" Our Farm Progress Daily Facebook fan page works in tandem with our new site www.FarmProgressDaily.com where we're gathering up all our state/regional site information into one site to check…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Hunger Amidst Bounty

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 13, 2011

    I don't often write a blog that's merely a link to another blog, but I thought this bore special recognition. When you get a moment, click here and read it through. Do you know Ann Voskamp? A friend handed me her book, One Thousand Gifts, and I'm making my way through it, soaking up prose which can only be described as poetic. Read the post above and you'll see what I mean. But beyond being an author, blogger and profound Christian thinker, Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife. She's…

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  • Tim White

    Walnut bombardment

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on October 12, 2011

    We are blessed to be surrounded by a woods that is full of black walnut trees. The last few weeks the trees have been shedding their fruit and the plop…plop…plop-plop-plop-plop makes it somewhat dangerous to pass under them right now. Even our dog has had to abandon his favorite sleeping spot under the walnut in our yard. I too detour around it when I am heading to the barn and my wife Kathy mows the lawn at her own risk. Seems to me like it is a very good year for walnuts. I…

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  • Curt Arens

    Preventing Farm Fires

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 12, 2011

    Our local volunteer fire department joined thousands of others nationwide in hosting an open house to help families in the community prevent fires and accidents.   WATER PRESSURE: My son Zac enjoyed handling the big fire hose, with a little help from long-time, veteran firemen, Doc J.W. Carlson.   For my kids, it was fun and games. They were allowed to crawl on their hands and knees through the “smoke house,” a smoke and fire simulator, learning why it was…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    High Tech or Low Tech?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 11, 2011

    To borrow the famous phrase from the movie Forrest Gump, which I never get tired of watching, talking to farmers is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get. Like when I called Annie Carlson about their Morning Joy Farm pasture poultry and eggs I thought I d be talking about low tech and getting back to the old way of raising broilers and laying hens. Annie and her husband, John, have a CSA farm. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. They produce…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why Everyone Should Judge Soil

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 10, 2011

    I'm not an athlete. I was so uncoordinated that my only attempt at sports in my school days was eighth grade track. Everyone said, "Tom, you run fast going to the field after those cows, you should try out for track." So I did. They don't have black cinders in the pasture field- we didn't have a fancy track at Whiteland High School in 1966. We had a track made of cinders from burning coal in the boiler. Hey, some people still had pretty fast times on those cinders. But they did hurt if you…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    It Was a Day of Dirt

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 7, 2011

    The snow gates on I-70 in western Kansas were closed this week, diverting traffic off the busy Interstate and into rural motels and cafes. No, there's no time warp. It's not winter. And it wasn't snow that closed the highway.  It was the blowing dirt coming off the farm fields of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Part of it was the result of desperate farmers "dusting in" wheat in the hopes that the widespread rain would come this weekend. But most of it was the result of dead…

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  • John Vogel

    Riding Two Unharnessed Horses Is Tough

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on October 7, 2011

    I guess you have to give him credit for trying. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett wants to keep the big political horses behind the Marcellus natural gas industry happy. So he opted to propose an impact fee, to be negotiated by individual counties – but with a low per-well cap. In a nutshell, it would allow a flat, negotiated fee per well – not based on gas volume where the real money is at. The fees would start at $40,000 per well in the first year, and gradually drop to phase out…

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  • Curt Arens

    Harvest Time Traditions

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on October 7, 2011

    Harvest time is pay day on the farm, so our family has many harvest memories that help honor the ancient ritual of bringing in the bounty. Finishing harvest is always a good feeling, not only for a farmer, but also for his banker. Keeping your banker happy usually makes a farmer happy too. My Dad always told us growing up that he enjoyed planting and harvesting most, because you feel like you are getting something done. When my grandfather operated a threshing crew in the 1940s, he and…

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  • Josh Flint

    Tablets: From No Application, To Nifty Media Device, To Business Work Horse

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on October 7, 2011

    Well, I guess it’s about time I bought a tablet. I’ve wanted one for quite a while, but the $500 price point for Apple’s iPad was too steep for my liking. With Amazon’s new Kindle Fire set to launch next month for the low price of $200, I may have to jump on board. Several months prior to the iPad’s launch in April 2010, I remember wondering why anyone would want a tablet. They don’t have all the functionality of a laptop. They can’t make phone…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Mascot Needed? Who Should Apply?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on October 7, 2011

    I'm wondering if we need a new icon. This fall, the driest on record just about everywhere has brought along with it a rising number of combine and field fires across the country. While we all know the risks of running machinery this time of year, with climatologists saying this could be the new normal for harvest (or with La Nina on the way, perhaps the new normal is about a year long) do we need someone/something to keep us aware of a few simple tips to prevent trouble? Come-on. That bear…

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  • Holly Spangler

    WatchDog: It's Like Magic

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 6, 2011

    Remember my husband's little brush with farm un-safety? Well, after I wrote about it last year, the good folks at GSI contacted us and said they occasionally like to have farmers try out their products. They thought we might be, ahem, good candidates for one of their WatchDog dryer monitoring units. Essentially, the WatchDog lets you remotely monitor your dryer, via internet access or direct connect – from the house, smartphone, farm, wherever. Or in other words, you don't have to get…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Shell Oil Is Back in Kansas

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on October 4, 2011

    Shell Oil will spud its first well in the search for Mississippi Lime oil in south-central Kansas on Wednesday. It's the first time in almost 30 years that Shell has been active in Kansas. The new well is in the hottest thing going in oil exploration today, the Mississippi Lime, a formation in Kansas considered "tapped out" years ago for traditional, vertical wells. But new technology, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, is promising huge reserves of oil in northern Oklahoma…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Why I'd Move to Texas

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on October 4, 2011

    Never before have I thought to myself, "Hey, I could live in Texas." Today, I read this. Now I think I could. You go, Texas. Tell those PETA peeps where to take their half-baked sideshow. And as an aside, do you think the Illinois State Fair would do the same? (Also, nothing against Texas. I'm just happy here in Illinois. Bloom where God plants ya, I…

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  • Tom Bechman

    No Shortage Of New Products To Buy

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 3, 2011

    If Mother Nature was kind to you this year, which may put you in the minority in Indiana, you may have a few dollars to spend on new machinery or products this year. Even if Mother Nature frowned heavily on your farm, if you had crop insurance, irrigation or just got lucky, it may still be a decent year on income. At least that's what Chris Hurt at Purdue University is reporting. If so, there are plenty of companies out there looking for a share of your farm budget. Many have introduced new…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Prettiest place in the Dakotas

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on October 3, 2011

    I’m always on the look out for the prettiest places in the Dakotas. The Doug and Christine Wevik farm near Beresford, S.D., certainly qualifies. Christine has turned part of the shelterbelt between their home and their grain bin site into a secret garden. Over the past 13 years she’s replaced the trees with flower beds, rock paths, ponds, gazebos, arches, benches and much more. The garden has the look of a Victorian sanctuary. Many visitors stop by to see the garden. Christine…

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