• Mindy Ward

    Right To Farm

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on May 31, 2013

    With the ceremonial toss of the papers in the Missouri House of Representative Chambers, the 97th General Assembly session ended. As an intern for the Missouri House Information office during my college years, I witnessed first-hand the roar of the legislators as the final gavel struck. Then simultaneously there was the throwing of papers filled with hand-written notes and proposed bills From my balcony viewpoint, it was interesting to see their faces. Some were pleased, some angst…

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  • Don McCabe

    In 2012, Irrigation Made The Critical Difference In Nebraska

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on May 31, 2013

    The differences are stark. It's no surprise that during the blistering temperatures and persistent dryness in 2012 that dryland crop producers in Nebraska farmers didn't fare well. As I drove across much of Nebraska last summer, numerous fields of dryland corn didn't produce enough even for silage. Contrast that with irrigated crop production in 2012. Producers with access to sufficient irrigation water took advantage of high prices and excellent yields. As far as farm…

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  • Curt Arens

    Families Growing Our Food: Ranchers Save Livestock Market

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 31, 2013

    Curt’s Comments:   Sandhills cattle are renowned around the world as some of the highest quality, healthiest cattle. The grass conditions in the Sandhills are perfect for raising cattle, and this shouldn’t be lost on consumers looking for a perfect cut of tasty beef. That’s why keeping the Valentine Livestock Auction open was so important to local ranchers and the community of Valentine, literally located in the “heart” of the Sandhills cattle…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Divining Rods Used To Detect More Than Water

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on May 31, 2013

    The past couple springs have definitely been a little abnormal. While farmers have been planting later than normal, cattle producers have dealt with a cold, wet calving season. One farmer I visited with recently (I won't mention who) had an unexpected birth during the interview – a treat I don't have the privilege of seeing every day, living in the city. After rushing over to remove the amniotic sac from covering the newborn calf's nose and mouth, the farmer came back and…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farm Boy Friday

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 31, 2013

    Once upon a time, it stopped raining, and I was able to get in my car, drive to a farm, and shoot some photos. It was glorious. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, the clouds were fluffy. It was just two days ago. And a little farm boy named Chase got out of school early. Just in time for the Prairie Farmer photo shoot. And if you're feeling a bit down today - maybe you still have a lot to plant? And it's still raining? And there's no end in sight? Take a look at this little…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Thank You, School Bus Drivers!

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on May 31, 2013

    I intentionally watched our senior get on the bus during her last few days of school. She is our youngest and the last one to ride. When she was done with school on Wednesday, another chapter in our lives came to a close. We no longer will have a school bus stop at our house to pick up a student. For nearly a decade, bus drivers that I remember—Jan, Bob, Bill, Bobbi and others—have safely driven our children to elementary, middle and high schools in the Anoka district. When I…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    How Long Can Corn, Soybean Survive In Water Logged Soils?

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 30, 2013

    After last year’s drought, I didn’t think I’d see water logged fields this spring. But there’s water standing in fields all along the I-29 Corridor in South Dakota. Over the last five days, some areas have received more than 6 inches of rain. How long can corn and soybeans plants at early growth stages survive in these waterlogged soils? Nathan Mueller, South Dakota State University Extension agronomist, says it depends. "We know that the crop growth…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    When It Comes To Mother Nature, All Control Goes Out The Window

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on May 29, 2013

    Knowing you have no control in a situation can be daunting. It's not the normal way I like things to roll in my life. I like having a say so and help in making the decisions. So when mother nature decides to go on a waterworks kick and grace the Midwest with inches and inches of rain - you learn to make adjustments to your plans. One of the many lessons from this spring I can take with me is always have a backup plan. Even if that backup plan is to have no plan at all. This past week…

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  • John Vogel

    Angry Rural Undercurrent Rising Against Obama

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 29, 2013

    By now, you likely know I lean to the right – and it has nothing to do with the slope I'm standing on. During recent meetings with farmers, I’ve seen a growing negative reaction in just about all I meet when the word "Obama" arises. Rural people have a right to be frustrated with federal government intervention into their lives, and it has clearly ramped up with the current administration. After all, most are smart business persons. Otherwise they wouldn't be in…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Amazing New E-World A Pleasure To Be In

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on May 28, 2013

    I am e-generation. But I remember when I was not. When electricity had not yet become electronics and charged the globe with super cyber teckietonics. I am an elder of the e-generation, because I was part of the transition years. I began my journalistic career pecking on a manual Royal 440. When they brought in the IBM electric Selectrics with their magic ball of letters, it was revolutionary. We hadn't seen anything yet! Univac was our intro into the e-world, bringing us…

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  • Fran O

    It's Spring! Get Out And Grow Something

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on May 28, 2013

    I've loved flowers since I can remember. While cut flowers are nice, I admit I get more enjoyment out of watching flowers bloom and grow in a flower bed or flower garden. I'm no expert at flower gardening -- I am learning as I go. In my flower beds, located on the south and east sides of our house, I grow my favorite perennial flowers and plants -- roses, irises, tulips, daffodils, jonquils, peonies, purple cone flowers, black-eyed Susans, mouse-eared coreopsis, hydrangeas, tiger…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Get To Grillin'

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on May 28, 2013

    Pork steaks from Mizzou Meat Market-$7.16 Propane tank filled-$20 The smell of barbecue on the grill-Priceless. Memorial Day weekend kicks off our family's barbecue season. It brings about the sights, sounds and smells of summer. And I don't care if you are cooking up beef, pork, chicken, turkey or lamb, for our family, it just does not get any better than that. Honestly, I am not sure how those who are vegans can resist the smell of a slab of meat cooking on the grill, my mouth…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Today's Grads Need Strong Communication Skills

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on May 28, 2013

    Social media aside, today's graduates continue to need strong communication skills to find employment. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook 2013 Survey, employers want candidates with "outstanding communication skills" and "who are team players. Other top abilities include "ability to make decisions and solve problems," "ability to obtain and process information," and "ability to plan, organize…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farmers in the Military Face Sacrifices Far From Home

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 28, 2013

    When my grandfather, Arnold Bickett, served in the U.S. infantry in France in World War I, he was certainly homesick. Having been born in a log cabin in Kentucky, the young farmer had never been very far from home. He most likely had never aimed a gun at anything but game birds or squirrels. He knew country life, but had never been crammed into a tight space with hundreds of other people. All of that changed in mid-1917 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After six weeks of very…

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  • Josh Flint

    A Rebuttal To the Monsanto Protestors

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 28, 2013

    Last weekend, GMO haters decided to protest Monsanto. On Twitter, Monsanto sent out a Tweet that included my blog on the “research” that says glyphosate is to blame for every disease/health condition known to man. Since the headline was “Let’s Blame Monsanto’s Glyphosate for Everything! (or not),” I got a few hate Tweets. Apparently anti-GMO protestors in the midst of blaming Monsanto for everything didn’t appreciate the irony of such a blog…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Is Replant in Your Future?

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 28, 2013

    One thing's for sure, in this business change is now the norm. Officially, the drought is over for areas east of the Missouri river - especially after the Memorial Day weekend. In fact, we're past drought and talking flooding again. My home town - Vinton, Iowa - was hit pretty hard five years by flooding. I was there over the holiday and visions of that last round of flooding have to be going through the minds of those in town. Outside of town every creek I saw was over its…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Soggy, Saturated, Soaked

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 27, 2013

    A disclaimer: I am not complaining. Really. These are just the facts. Since Saturday, we've gotten 6 inches of rain at our house. The gauge at the farm three miles up the road records 8 inches. Since Saturday. John planted 330 acres of beans on Friday. A personal best. But then it got pounded by 6-8 inches of rain. Not good. The Spoon River is out. Again. This is maybe three times this spring? Four? The National Weather Service reports the heaviest flooding this weekend…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Farm Groups Defend Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Plan

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on May 27, 2013

    Activation of the Des Moines Water Works' nitrate removal facility May 10 to treat tap water for consumer consumption has created quite a stir. The facility hadn't been used for six years as a result of resourceful management of water at the treatment plant and also thanks to cooperative weather. But with record precipitation in April 2013, the Des Moines Water Works needed to act by turning on its nitrate removal system. The Des Moines Water Works draws its source water from…

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  • Don McCabe

    In 2012, Irrigation Made the Critical Difference in Nebraska

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on May 27, 2013

    The differences are stark. It's no surprise that during the blistering temperatures and persistent dryness in 2012 that dryland crop producers in Nebraska farmers didn't fare well. As I drove across much of Nebraska last summer, numerous fields of dryland corn didn't produce enough even for silage. Contrast that with irrigated crop production in 2012. Producers with access to sufficient irrigation water took advantage of high prices and excellent yields. As far as farm…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Count Your Blessings and Help Those Who Need It

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 27, 2013

    Several years ago a good friend of mine and me both knew a mutual acquaintance who was an ag economics professor. Both of us had interviewed him in his office and written stories with him as the source. One Friday morning he was out jogging before work, like he did quite frequently, and passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Later that day, someone asked my friend how his day was going. "Well, compared to my ag economics friend, I'd say my day is going pretty…

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  • Don McCabe

    ROS Rides The Rails To Stop The Rain

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on May 24, 2013

    For those of us in the farm magazine business, the technology tools available today to farmers and the industry are fun to cover and, I admit, a bit overwhelming to explain at times. When I interview leading-edge Nebraska farmers at planting or harvest time, or during irrigation season, I find myself asking this question quite more and more when it comes to precision farming components—could you repeat that again? Monitors fill tractor cabs and combines, displaying instant…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Watch The Roads This Spring

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on May 24, 2013

    It's the end of May, and with it is construction season, and this year, delayed planting. This means more traffic on the highways and more to watch out for, with a higher likelihood of an accident. After an interview last Friday, I was driving east back to Kansas City on I-70 near Paxico, Kansas, when I noticed a line of stopped cars ahead. It turns out there was a series of four accidents in a construction zone, which apparently has had several accidents recently. Several…

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  • Tim White

    A Legacy Of Soil Conservation and Farmland Preservation

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on May 23, 2013

      Roger Wayne Wolfe, from Baltimore, passed away last week at the age 77. He loved farming, his family and sharing his passion for the soil. He was a neighbor, a friend and mentor to me. If Hugh Hammond Bennett (1881-1913) is the Father of Soil Conservation and Louis Bromfield (1896-1956) is Conservation’s Prophet on Mt. Jeez, then Roger Wolfe (1936 -2013) is Fairfield County’s Farmland Evangelist on the Mounds. And what a conversation those three are likely having…

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  • Holly Spangler

    The Late May Craziness

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 23, 2013

    A list, because: 1. It's the last full week of school. Which means we're running to town every day for class plays, assemblies, lunches, baseball, carnivals, and more. Actual school work is rapidly winding down. We're staying out too late in the evenings because it's nice and we don't want to come inside, which is fine and dandy except for the school bedtimes. The kids are so done. And so are we. But still, we have two more days this week, one full day next week…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    Bovine TB Situation Continues To Worsen

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on May 22, 2013

    If you own cattle in Michigan, two of the worst words to hear are TB-positive. In March, bovine TB was discovered in a 100-plus head Saginaw dairy farm. Lesions, which are indicative of the infection, were discovered at slaughter. Any farm that's designed TB-positive is a concern, but it becomes extraordinary when it's outside of what's considered the TB core area of northeast Lower Michigan. Unfortunately, the bad news doesn't end there. On May 3, the Michigan Department…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Still Recoiling From Horror of Moore; It Could Have Been Us

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 22, 2013

    There have been 48 long hours now to try to grasp the magnitude of what happened to Moore, Okla. Just 24 hours before a massive tornado struck the town about 200 miles to our south, my family and I were hunkered down in the basement of my northeast Wichita home while we listened to updates of a “massive, destructive wedge tornado on the ground approaching Mid-Continent Airport.” The home that I own in West Wichita sits on the northwestern final approach path to…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Ag Needs Consistent Representation At Water Quality Meetings

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on May 21, 2013

    The annual Mississippi River Forum, sponsored by the National Park Service, with support from the Mississippi River Fund and the McKnight Foundation, was held May 17 at the Science Museum in St. Paul. The room was packed with about 120 people with a keen interest in water quality. That is, packed with folks representing the forestry service and other natural resources, watersheds, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Department of Public Health, university Extension and overall…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Canadian Adventure To Another Vancouver A Surprise

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on May 21, 2013

    The T-shirt my wife purchased for me one Christmas reads: “Vancouver, Not BC. Washington, Not DC.” The idea is to remind people that the little Vancouver just across the Columbia River from Portland, Ore., is indeed a U.S. town, unlike the city of the same name 300 miles north in British Columbia. And, that we are in the state rather than the nation’s capital. But, when old Capt. George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy left MY Vancouver, he…

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  • Curt Arens

    Farmers Don't Wait for Help. They Just Get Things Done

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 21, 2013

    One of the most annoying things about Farm Bill debates is that the majority of discussions are about money, not policy. Activist groups that I like to call – anti-farm or anti-food security – make farmers out to be free-loaders, loudly spouting off about direct payments and subsidies. I venture a guess that nearly all of these folks who like to use farmers as punching bags are not hungry or homeless. They probably enjoy hearty meals each day, thanks to guess who? Our nation has…

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  • Josh Flint

    Organic Marketing Is Getting Ridiculous

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 21, 2013

    In the rush to cash in on the “organic” buzz, seemingly everything is organic these days. Even stuff that’s always been organic now has “organic” emblazoned across its packaging. Last weekend, I spotted a pallet of organic soil at Home Depot. What?!! I assume the little white fertilizer balls are the only inorganic ingredients added to typical potting soil. Organic Marketing 101: don’t put the fertilizer balls in, slap organic on the bag, and mark…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Spring Moldboard Plowing? Really?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 20, 2013

    You can dust off tillage trials by Don Griffith, a former Purdue University Extension agronomist, that date back into the 1970's and 1980's. Of all the systems studied, moldboard plowing in the spring was one that typically returned the lowest yields. Many Indiana soils are simply too heavy and wet to respond well to plowing in the spring when soils tend to have extra moisture, and clods form easily. Fast forward to 2013. Most moldboard plows are parked. A few companies still…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Lotsa Corn Planting, Little Sleeping

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 20, 2013

    Wait. What Day Is It? I'm sitting at our 4-H meeting, which is really the only way I know it's Monday. The past week has been a blur. As of last Monday, May 13, we hadn't planted a seed. We'd had 14 inches of rain in the preceding month. Rivers had been out. Some of them twice. We'd been stuck in a three-week pattern of three decent days, then four rainy ones. Never enough time for anything to dry out. Temperaments were, shall we say, running a little ragged…

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  • John Vogel

    Reflections From Farm Friends' Funerals

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 20, 2013

    Yes, this is an unusual thing to be blogging about. In recent months, I've gone to funerals of two farm friends, and came away from both thought-filled and inspired. That's as it should be. Like most of you, I'm not fond of funerals. I don't even want to attend my own! But a funeral or wake can be a wake-up call with redeeming value. That's why I'm writing this. I was reminded of a few things, none of which the preachers preached. The "few things" were…

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  • Fran O

    Optimism Grows For A 2013 Farm Bill

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on May 20, 2013

    As farmers worked hard to plant corn the middle of May, Congress was able to show some significant progress on the 2013 Farm Bill. On May 14, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a five-year Farm Bill. The bill would eliminate $5 billion in direct farm payments to farmers. The Senate bill calls for a total of roughly $2.4 billion a year in cuts, while a House version passed May 15 would save $4 billion annually. The Senate Farm Bill: •Eliminates direct payments. Farmers…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Similarities to Spring of '89

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on May 17, 2013

    After the recent spike in late overnight freeze events we have been experiencing in the Midwest, I hope I don't eat my words in saying it seems that the warm weather is finally here to stay. Kansas City saw 90-degree temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday. I am a little biased, but I have to admit May is my favorite time of year. As many know, this is a busy month, and it can be hard to balance time for graduation parties, weddings – not to mention planting, especially this year…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Best Beef In North Dakota? Try Peacock Alley

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 16, 2013

    How could I have not eaten at Peacock Alley yet? Peacock Alley American Grill and Bar, Bismarck, N.D., was named the Beef Innovator of the Year at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention. This is a big deal. It’s a national award given to only one restaurant in the nation each year. The award recognizes a restaurant that does the best job innovating its menu and growing its business with beef. “Having a North Dakota restaurant win the Beef Innovator of the Year award is a…

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  • Josh Flint

    Risk of Forcing an Environmental Impact Study on Monsanto and Dow

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 16, 2013

    A year ago, I was at a crop technology media event. Honestly, I can’t remember if it was a Dow AgroSciences or Monsanto event. I Tweeted about the expected release of either 2,4-D- or dicamba-tolerant soybeans. The first response was from a central Illinois farmer. He said, “Tell them to hurry up. We need this technology now!” Last week the USDA ordered an Environmental Impact Study be conducted on both of these technologies. My colleague Mindy Ward, Missouri…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Getting Your Planting Game On

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 16, 2013

    I write the crop condition report for our websites when I can and Monday's report showed that farmers are struggling to get corn in the ground - never mind soybeans (though that's going to change). One factor I noticed this week was that while only 28% of the crop was planted - versus 65% for the five-year average and 85% last year - there were some considerable week-over-week jumps. It's clear to me that farmers are adequately "equipped" to move a lot of seed from…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Winter Wheat Looking Good; Reservoirs Still Show Drought Impact

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 15, 2013

    Driving around south-central Kansas to get a look at the progress of the winter wheat crop confirms one piece of good news: freeze damage in this part of the state appears to be minimal in spite of a couple of very cold nights. Probably a solid half of the wheat is either headed out or beginning to head and most of the fields I saw had only a few, if any, telltale white heads that indicate the growing point was damaged by unseasonably late freezes on April 24 and again on May…

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  • Mindy Ward

    Gas At $6.37 Per Gallon

    Show-Me Life

     by Mindy Ward
     on May 14, 2013

    I recently attended a day-long workshop focused on technology and innovation for the dairy industry. Spending a day with Kiwis was a fun experience. From their dialect to their discussions on agriculture, I realized that agriculture producers could share a bond that transcends continents, if they are willing to see what they have in common and appreciate their differences. In the morning, we set out to visit a farm north of Kansas City that was using a New Zealand company fencing system…

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  • Don McCabe

    CS-CASH Hopes To Make Farming, Ranching Safer

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on May 14, 2013

    We recently started planning for the health screening services at the 2013 Husker Harvest Days show this fall in Grand Island. About 30 health and safety professionals sponsor booths in the Nebraska Farmer Hospitality Tent that are a popular stop for show visitors each year. In a way, those crowds taking part in the health screenings each year at HHD sort of belie the sometimes indifferent attitude about health and safety issues around the farm or ranch. The phrase "agricultural…

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  • Curt Arens

    Weathering the Weather

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 14, 2013

    I’m not sure whether I should talk weather or not today, but since most farmers can talk weather with the best of them, I’ll go ahead. This Spring has been crazy. Everyone agrees. Last Spring was just as crazy, but in the other direction. If you average the two extremes together, you get “normal.” For the Great Plains, this is situation normal. On Sunday morning, we awoke to about 28 degrees and heavy frost on the pickup windshield. Today, forecasters are…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Iowa: Growing More Than Corn

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on May 13, 2013

    At a May 8 press conference at the State Capitol in Des Moines, officials of MidAmerican Energy Company announced plans to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation capacity in Iowa by year-end 2015. The wind energy expansion will enhance economic development and provide in excess of $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years. Landowner payments totaling $3.2 million per year also are expected as a result of the expansion. The company plans to build…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    From Farm Show To Rock Fest

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on May 13, 2013

    Ever wonder what the grounds at the Farm Progress Show look like after the show is over and everyone has gone home? Usually it takes a few weeks for the few remaining pieces to be removed off the property, but after that, the show site is a ghost town. That is, except for this past Friday night. I was on my way up to Boone, Iowa on Friday afternoon when I got a text from my boyfriend reminding me that Lazerfest (a hard-rock and heavy-metal concert) was going on. He kindly reminded me of…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Why Aren't the Global Warming People Talking Now?

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 13, 2013

    Last year those who believe in global warming could make hay. March in Indiana was so warm it was off the charts. July brought temperatures that resembled those recorded in the 1930s. Then there's 2013 – definitely a year with a mind of its own. Forecasters called for a warm, wet spring. They got the wet part right, but up until now, at least, they missed the warm part. Maybe they believe in global warming too. I could show you about 500 high school kids who don't…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Dairy Industry Deflects Milk Quality One More Time

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on May 10, 2013

    Nature's most perfect food continues to fight an uphill battle among the people who produce and regulate it. At issue is milk quality. The industry uses a measurement called the somatic cell count to determine if milk is clean and of the highest quality. High SCCs occur when a cow is sick with an inflammation of the udder called mastitis. Over the decades, those who oversee U.S. milk shipping have lowered the SCC number as science has proven that higher quality milk makes for…

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  • Tyler Harris

    Expansion, Agriculture Closely Tied To One Another

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on May 10, 2013

    Last week I finished up the 2013 Hard Winter Wheat Quality Tour by visiting the Kansas City Board of Trade – which, as many know, has been acquired by CME Group and will be moved to the Chicago trading floor in July. Since then, I've done some digging into the role the KCBT and Kansas City played on agriculture in the area. The Board of Trade was first organized in 1856, just three years after Kansas City was incorporated. However, it was during the 1870s that Kansas City, and…

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  • Willie Vogt

    Gearing up for Competition

    Farmer Iron

     by Willie Vogt
     on May 9, 2013

    Those of you who read this blog regularly know I have a soft-spot in my heart for the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition - say that three times fast. In this event, students design and build a working tractor following a specific set of rules for engines, transmissions and other features, then load them up and head to Peoria, Ill., for a little competition. Or rather, a whole lot of competition. This is…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Getting My Way In The Merry Month Of May

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on May 9, 2013

    I emailed my personnel chief the other day to find out how many vacation days I had left for 2013 and was shocked to discover there were weeks and weeks I could take off. Now, I could take the full boat at once, and just hang in my hammock with a good stock of Scotch, or I could take a few days off here and there and fix fences and plant flowers. But I opted for a week off in May, yet to be determined by my work schedule for Western Farmer-Stockman. As you read this, I may already be…

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  • Josh Flint

    Planting Corn in June Is a Real Possibility

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 9, 2013

    With more rain on the way and not a planter to be seen in my neck of the woods, yesterday, I thought “Geez, is anyone planting?”  I took to Twitter and posed that question to Illinois farmers. Judging from the response, it appears I wasn’t the only one wondering. In short, they’re going like gangbusters north of I-80. A lot of them will have logged nearly an entire week of corn planting depending on whether they stayed dry with this latest line of…

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  • Curt Arens

    Graduates: Consider Coming Home to the Farm to Roost

    Husker Home Place

     by Curt Arens
     on May 7, 2013

    High school graduates around farm country will receive lots of advice from family, friends, teachers and neighbors over the next few weeks during their commencement ceremonies. Valedictorians will bid their old high schools and hometowns farewell, and offer well wishes for classmates as they begin the next chapters in their young lives. Graduates will hear hometown folks say things like, “Go out and make something of your lives.” They’ll hear advice like, “Get out…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    Buying Farmland -- A New China Connection

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 7, 2013

    Greg Smeenk, a Bel Fourche, S.D. land broker, wrote in his blog at DakotaProperties.com in March that he “recently had an interesting experience showing two gentlemen from China farmland.” “We looked at thousands of acres of farmland from the west end of the state to the east end of the state and beyond. When asked what they envisioned for their purpose of buying farmland they responded that they intended to supply China with 20% of their soybean purchases,” he…

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  • Tim White

    Spring Roundup Brings Angus Cattle

    Buckeye Farm Beat

     by Tim White
     on May 6, 2013

    For the past couple of years we have been in the process of changing our home cropland to livestock production and management. It’s something I have wanted to do ever since I bought the farm more than 30 years ago. A few years ago we were able to sign a contract with the Natural Resources Conservation Service or NRCS to implement an Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQIP plan to fence our fields and install a watering system. The process has taken a long time. In addition…

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  • Rod Swoboda

    Is This Heaven?

    Iowa Farm Scene

     by Rod Swoboda
     on May 6, 2013

    Not so pretty. That's how you describe 6 inches of snow on the ground in Iowa on May 2 and 3, 2013. Snow is pretty when it clings to trees in winter. But when it's clinging to everything the first couple days of May -- not pretty. It's not winter. And you know you need to be planting corn. Not shoveling snow. It was strange. First time for school cancellations in May due to snow. I called a farmer in northern Iowa at Forest City where they had a foot of snow on the ground and…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Welcome to the New Normal in Crop Farming

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on May 6, 2013

    When rains covered the state the third week of April, some with lots of acres to plant got jittery. Their grandpa would probably think they had lost their minds. When grandpa or great grandpa farmed, late April was for hauling manure, maybe plowing. Planting corn? You had to be kidding. The oak leaves weren't as big as squirrel ears yet! And planting soybeans? Call the men in the white coats! Even if your grandpa was more progressive, odds are he wouldn't dream of planting…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Farming: It's the Hard that Makes It Great

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 6, 2013

    As a writer and a farmer, there are some stories that will just never make it to print. Some are too personal; others can't be told without offending someone. If you farm with family, you surely know just what I mean about either case! Others would raise the ire of the farm safety folks, who do good work every single day but who would be astounded that some of us ever made it through our childhoods. Still others, I just never thought I would tell. That's the case with my…

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  • Don McCabe

    More Digging Into The Benefits Of Cover Crops

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on May 3, 2013

    Cover crops, if you haven't heard, have been in the news a lot in recent months. When it comes to cover crops, I believe there are three categories of producers: the true believers, those who are intrigued but want more information and the doubters who would rather continue their current traditional farming practices. Members of the latter category could well be no-tillers and conservation-minded farmers, but some are not. You can see the evidence across Nebraska of native…

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  • Paula Mohr

    Minnesota Youth Recognize Importance Of Food

    Northstar Notes

     by Paula Mohr
     on May 3, 2013

    We had the opportunity recently to see hundreds of youth from across the state be involved in the celebration of food—from its production to its consumption. The State FFA convention was held in St. Paul April 28-30. Some 3,000-plus FFAers converged at the U-M campus to learn more, to celebrate accomplishments and to renew friendships. That sea of blue jackets always is an inspiring sight to behold. You know the world is in good hands when you see a congregation of FFA…

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  • Tyler Harris

    The Impact Of Drought In Western Kansas

    Town and Country

     by Tyler Harris
     on May 3, 2013

    This week I had the opportunity to meet some great people and see a lot of Kansas I hadn't seen before while taking part in my first Wheat Quality Tour. The tour split up into groups and drove across the state starting in Manhattan, before meeting up in Colby, Wichita and Kansas City on the final day of the tour. The goal is to evaluate the year's hard winter wheat crop and estimate yields across the state, while seeing and learning a lot about Kansas. While gaining a much better…

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  • John Vogel

    GMO Labeling Is Pushed On Ill-Informed Public & Congress

    Nor' east Thinkin'

     by John Vogel
     on May 3, 2013

    It's hugely important that we, the people of agriculture, understand – and meet – the biotech challenge coming at us head-on. Anti-GMO activists want to ban or at limit biotech's most important tool – genetically-engineered ingredients or genetically-modified organisms. GMO'ers didn't just crawl away after California's Proposition 37 died. They regrouped and focused on Washington, D.C. And in April, legislation to require GMO labeling of whole…

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  • Fran O

    Check Alfalfa Fields Now For Winterkill

    Badger View

     by Fran O'Leary
     on May 3, 2013

    Now that alfalfa is finally beginning to green up after the winter that would not end, many farmers across Wisconsin are discovering that their alfalfa winterkilled or is suffering significant winter injury. Dr. Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin Extension forage agronomist, says he has been getting reports that damage varies from low spots only in fields to major portions of alfalfa fields. Short of plowing up all of your alfalfa fields and starting over, what can be…

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  • Lon Tonneson

    New Livestock, Specialty Crop Projects Proposed In N.D.

    Inside Dakota Ag

     by Lon Tonneson
     on May 3, 2013

    A new livestock auction, a new regional processing plant and new small market crops are among some of the new ag projects percolating in North Dakota. The North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) will review funding requests for seven projects totaling $381,065 at its quarterly meeting next week. APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota…

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  • Don McCabe

    Leopold Award: A Tribute To Private Farm Land Stewards

    Nebraska Notebook

     by Don McCabe
     on May 2, 2013

    I cover and report on numerous agriculture and natural resources awards given out each year in Nebraska, and all are well deserved. Commodity groups present them to members active in their associations, or to those who win yield or production contests. Farm organizations recognize people who contribute to Nebraska agriculture in general. One award that I especially appreciate is the Leopold Conservation Award. Nebraska Cattleman and Cargill partner with the Wisconsin-based Sand County…

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  • Josh Flint

    Let's Blame Monsanto's Glyphosate For Everything! (or not)

    Prairie Gleanings

     by Josh Flint
     on May 2, 2013

    Used to be, you needed a printing press and barrels of ink if you wanted to be heard in this world. Today, you just need an internet connection.  Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to this Reuters’ article that essentially says glyphosate is to blame for every health issue known to man. I surfed around and found the original paper, which was published in a physics journal called Entropy. Say what you will about journalists, but most of us are naturally skeptical. Maybe I…

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  • Holly Spangler

    Problem Solving 101 for Farm Kids

    My Generation

     by Holly Spangler
     on May 2, 2013

    Yesterday, I was in hammer-down mode to get my flower beds cleaned off, ornamental grasses cut down, roses, trimmed, etc., etc., before the impending cold and rain set in (again). After the kids got home from school, eight-year-old Nathan assessed the situation and sensed an opportunity. "Mom. Do you want me to hook up my wagon to my four-wheeler and haul this stuff off?" And just like that, it was as if eight years of food, water and shelter had finally paid off. I…

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  • Jennifer Vincent

    See Season Through Farmers' Eyes On Web

    Michigan Musings

     by Jennifer Vincent
     on May 1, 2013

    Growers are generally well aware of what's going on in their own fields. But, what about what's going on the other side of the state or in neighboring states? It can be raining in one area and dry just five miles down the road. Pests and diseases sometimes develop in patterns, and sometimes not. To get a sampling of what is happening in the Midwest, Michigan Farmer, Indiana Prairie Farmer and Ohio Farmer editors have teamed up and lured in, or more accurately roped in, a couple of…

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  • Jessica Lavicky

    May Day Brings May Flowers…And Snow?

    The Daily Dig

     by Jessica Lavicky
     on May 1, 2013

    Mother Nature is taunting us once again by bringing spring like days of 60s and 70 degree weather for a week, and then dropping a few 40s and 30 degree days and now a snow day. Colorado, Wyoming and the Midwest are seeing a round of wet snow. Some farmers were able to get into the fields, but not for long. In other news around the Nation: The Natural Resources Conservation Service's Conservation Stewardship Program will provide $175 in funding for up to 12.6 million additional…

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  • P.J. Griekspoor

    Custom Cutters Kick Off Wheat Harvest with Safety Focus

    Kansas Viewpoint

     by P.J. Griekspoor
     on May 1, 2013

    I was in Colby a couple of days ago as the U.S. Custom Harvesters kicked off the 2013 wheat harvest season with their annual safety seminar. This time last year, several of the crews were already headed into Texas to cut an unseasonably early wheat crop that continued to run ahead of schedule right through a Kansas harvest that was complete before Father’s Day. This year, the crop is as late as last year was early, with yet another freeze in the forecast tonight. But the…

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