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Market snapshot

Grain prices - April 17, 2014
Courtesy Cargill Grain, Hutchinson

Wheat – $7.43 bu.
Milo - $4.60 bu.
Soybeans – $14.76 bu.
Corn - $4.73 bu.

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Ag Blogs
Ethanol answer
Guest Columnist
Thursday, 02 January 2014 09:09

A war is brewing between the ethanol industry and the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA wants to reduce the mandated amount of biofuels that go into the nation's fuel supply, while the ethanol industry understandably doesn't want that to happen.

An experiment on the farm
Mark Pettijohn
Saturday, 28 December 2013 12:30

Every year I try something new. 

This year I copied an idea that I learned about through a webinar.  The idea was to grow a cash crop within a cover crop. The cover crop and the cash crop would work in tandem, cooperate and allow a cash crop to be harvested. The production would be cheaper and hopefully profits would be higher. 

Family lives here
Katie Sawyer
Thursday, 19 December 2013 08:26

The holiday season is synonymous with family, and, for years, mothers, fathers, siblings and cousins gathered to celebrate and give thanks. However, just days before the start of this year’s holiday season, The New York Times released a lengthy, in-depth look at the size and shape of the American family – and how it no longer resembles the families of past generations. 

What direction will lawmakers steer the rural Kansas ship?
Donn Teske
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 09:31

As we approach the 2014 Kansas Legislative session, one has to ponder the direction our lawmakers have chosen to steer the tiller of the ship that is called Kansas and the Kansas economy.

Their vision of taxation, their vision of our stewardship of our natural resources, their vision of morality, their vision of social responsibility, their vision of economics, etc., are our future. How do these decisions affect rural Kansas? Let’s take a look from my twisted point of view.

A greener meat - call it Blue
Steve Kinser
Monday, 09 December 2013 09:22

It seems very popular to be green these days. 

Cody Barilla
Friday, 06 December 2013 14:52

Sustainability seems to be a word that is thrown around on a daily basis and most of the time agriculture is the topic when it is used.  I am sure there are as many definitions of sustainability as there are people in Kansas. I prefer the definition of “Producing nutritious, affordable food, caring for animals and land, by multi-generation farms that give back to their community.”

In reality a farm cannot sustain or continue unless it is economically, environmentally, and socially acceptable.  The livestock industry and specifically the beef segment have taken the heat from several groups including HSUS and PETA.

Time to reflect, then be productive
Steve Baccus
Friday, 29 November 2013 12:04

Here we are again ready to celebrate a holiday season. We should stop for awhile, get off our cultural and business merry-go-round and take advantage of this wonderful time to give thanks, spend time with family and celebrate faith.

While we should do these things regularly and not just wait for a holiday season, it can be hard in a world that seems to speed up each year. It’s also hard because each coming year will always bring new challenges.

There is plenty to give thanks for, including for farmers
Amy Bickel
Thursday, 28 November 2013 07:28

It's Thanksgiving, and there is a lot to be thankful for this holiday.


That includes the farmer.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are 2.2 million farms that dot America’s rural landscape – and 96 percent of them are family operations.

Here's more: Farmers are the direct lifeline to more than 21 million American workers who produce, process and sell the nation’s food and fiber. They are an essential component in keeping the nation secure. The residents who live across rural America are vital in the nation’s future.

They help export more than $115 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products around the world.

So, thank a farmer when you have dinner today. Americans enjoy an abundant, affordable and safe food supply, largely thanks to the efficiency and productivity of America’s farm and ranch families.



Party’s Over
Vance Ehmke
Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:40

Wheat and More….or Less

According to a number of ag economists and market analysts, the high income party we’ve been enjoying for the past few years is over.

Decreasing Risk and Building Trust: Conservation Compliance and Crop Insurance
Jim French
Tuesday, 19 November 2013 10:56

US farmers and ranchers can have an attitude of independence that borders on sheer contrariness. When farm organizations and leaders representing US agriculture speak there is often an underlying message that farmers know what we’re doing on the land, how to do it, and as long as we’re doing our job, don’t ask too many questions or put demands on us.

From the Field: Stay informed
Amy Bickel
Thursday, 14 November 2013 16:56

It’s a reality – some Americans still view the American farmer clad in overalls living on a small acreage complete with a cow, a few chickens and a big red barn filled with hay.

We in Kansas all know it’s quite different picture on today’s high-tech farms and ranches. But still, there is a perception – a population – that needs education.

I recently interviewed Ken McCauley, a White Cloud, Kan. farmer, about an Associated Press investigation about ethanol. The longtime leader in the corn industry says the piece is missing several key facts and takes many aspects of the industry out of context.

His neighbors are concerned, he said, and have asked him what the corn industry is doing in response.

But when he asks what they’re doing, it’s very little.

Get the Facts Right
Guest Columnist
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:24

Robert White: Ethanol is One of Our Most Environmentally Sound Energy Options 

The Associated Press wrote a factually flawed, biased article on ethanol and what they perceive to be the negative environmental impact of increased corn demand. The article uses disproven myths, skewed data, and outright fabrications to suggest that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and biofuels have not lived up to their promise. Here are the facts. 

Tractor Seat Math, and How I Feed the World
Bill Spiegel
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 09:01

Like thousands of other farmers in Kansas, each fall I carefully plant wheat seed into soil that we work hard to protect, conserve and prepare. I consider it a miracle that the wheat seed I’ve planted sprouts, pushes through an inch or more of soil, emerges above-ground and eventually becomes a golden field of wheat that Kansas is known for.

For more than 5,000 years, farmers around the world have cultivated wheat. Yet, I’m sure I’m not alone in breathing a big sigh of relief when I see those green shoots emerging from the ground.

Where is the farm bill?
John Schlageck
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 08:58

To say the farm bill has moved like molasses through Congress the past three years is a gross understatement. This branch of our federal government continues to be mired in the mud of partisan politics.


Congress seems hell-bent on infighting while this nation’s business is left undone. Kansans and other farm-state lawmakers are urging their colleagues to look back to more bipartisan times and do something Congress hasn’t done much of lately – pass a major piece of legislation.

Remember the old axiom: politics is the art of compromise?


Autumn harvest comes to and end
Michele Boy
Thursday, 07 November 2013 08:53
We have just come to the end of a very very long harvest.  We started in late September and are ending in November.  By the sounds of things you would think we had thousands of acres to cut.  But due to the frost, small rains, dewy mornings, breakdowns, and other unforeseen issues, it was only 880 acres.  
It's time - for milo
Michele Boy
Thursday, 24 October 2013 17:16

One thing about being a farmer’s wife that is difficult is getting “me” time.  And by me time, I don’t mean a vacation in the tropics. I mean remembering to get enough water and electrolytes, prepping nourishing meals, rest, and having spiritual time.  Late fall to early spring is not too bad.  My husband is home early enough and I can get some time to run to the store by myself or time to think about what I need.  But by late summer, caffeine becomes my medication, water is forgotten, and remembering what meals to fix goes away as well.

In most years, farmers write ‘big’ crop insurance checks
Guest Columnist
Monday, 21 October 2013 08:06

Art Barnaby

Lost in all of the screaming headlines of the national press by crop insurance critics is the fact that in most years, farmers write premiums checks.

Rain gets no complaints, but as for lack of farm bill …
Mick Rausch
Thursday, 17 October 2013 12:51

altBy Mick Rausch

What a summer this has been. We have seen every extreme of weather so far.

Spring was very good to us here in SedgwickCounty: We had some very beneficial rains to get our fall crops off to a good start. It also helped our wheat crop. We had one of our best crops ever, but if you go west of here, yields and conditions were dramatically different.

Harvest was ideal: No rain! I think I only had to kick in the four-wheel-drive on the combine once or twice. We were able to start some field work and get some double-crop milo and beans planted and hay cut before Mother Nature let us know who is in charge.

We got rain and lots of it, but not that I’m complaining. We were able to fill ponds that were dry. Cheney Reservoir was able to go from a big mud puddle to having to release water. But if you have allergies, the hogweed and ragweed began to grow and we couldn’t get into the fields to spray. But I’m not complaining, mind you: It was nice to receive the rain. I just wish I could fine-tune the ordering of rain.

Now it has turned off dry, and we have been able to catch up with field work. Everyone is getting into wheat-planting mode, picking corn and waiting for milo and beans to mature so we can begin harvest. The crops look good from the road, but we will not know until we begin to cut.


Now for politics

On the political side, we are still waiting for a farm bill.

Sept. 30 is supposed to be the day they have one in place or we go back to the old farm program. Not knowing is the hardest part, as we are trying to make decisions on the next year’s crops, and still we do not know what rules we will have to play by.

I encourage everyone to contact their elected officials and get to work writing a farm bill we can live with and still let us farm with some direction for the future. I would also encourage everyone to look up the Bloomberg articles on crop insurance. There was some very misleading and damaging press on the value of crop insurance.

I guarantee you it will make your blood boil, but it tells me that we need to keep our urban friends informed on why we need crop insurance.


Small farms

 squeezed out

After selling the dairy herd this spring, life has been good. I really worry about the long-term future of family dairies in south-central Kansas. Within the last few months, three family dairies have quit. Nobody wants to be tied down 365 days a year for little or no return on their investment.

Kids just want to have more free time than a dairy will allow. I really can’t blame them. Looking back, I remember how much I missed kids’ ball games, music concerts, teacher conferences and the like.

Now, when I go to visit my granddaughter I can stay for supper and not have to leave early to start chores.

So, all in all, I am at peace with the decision to sell the herd.

As we go into fall and early winter, remember to be careful. I realize we are in a hurry to get crops planted and harvested, but be careful.

And best wishes on a good harvest.

Fix obstructions to world trade
John Schlageck
Thursday, 17 October 2013 11:09

By John Schlageck

 Kansas Farm Bureau


   U.S. agriculture depends on world trade for its continued viability. More than $141 billion in agricultural goods were exported last year.


   Still U.S. port facilities and waterway infrastructures are decades behind international competitors due to lack of funding.

Art on the farm
Guest Columnist
Friday, 04 October 2013 12:52
Kathie Rogers
Pretty Prairie, KS

Today Mark and I were down at the Old House (a designation of place, not structure, since the house doesn't exist anymore and when it did exist, hadn't been lived in since the advent of the automobile. The place is in the middle of a section on the Ninnescah River that floods and could only be accessed by horse and wagon or tractors.)
Sleepless in a Colorado national park
Michele Boy
Thursday, 03 October 2013 10:22
I spent this past weekend at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.  It was the first time my husband and I had been there in five years.  We were bringing our two year old to a National Park.  We were doing the “American” thing to do.  I grew up part gypsy and camping was not an interest of my family, moving was.  Spending time in the outdoors is a priority for me and my husband.  And it is something we want to pass on to our daughter. I didn’t know it would be the last time for a while.
Time to hide Christmas cactus
Kathy Hanks
Monday, 30 September 2013 08:14
For those who believe it's too early to think about Christmas when the Halloween candy has barely been on the store shelves, I apologize. But I must mention the Christmas cactus.
Rain, dust and poo
Michele Boy
Thursday, 26 September 2013 13:17

About halfway in to wheat planting, we got rain. 

A connection imbued with hope
Michele Boy
Thursday, 19 September 2013 13:40
After a year of drought, the new wheat year has begun
By Michele Boy

Wheat planting has begun at the farm. Interestingly enough, at least to me, our wheat planting coincides with a holiday that normally comes later in September/October. It is Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish new year.
Why are the flies so bad?
Michele Boy
Thursday, 19 September 2013 13:34
By Michele Boy
It is early afternoon and I am hunkered down weapon in hand. I keep one eye open as I try to doze. But I can't sleep. I must protect my baby and the enemy is charging at me in a relentless pursuit of my flesh.

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