Farm Forum

That peculiarly American event is just around the corner, the day when we encourage — nay, reward! — outlandish behavior. It’s OK, on this particular date, for people to say, “Gimme what I want or else!”

Farm Forum

“February” is one of the finest essays in Sand County Almanac, the 1949 book of superlative essays on nature and mankind’s role in it, by forester and conservationist Aldo Leopold. In it, Leopold, the father of wildlife ecology, tells the history of his Wisconsin “sand farm” and its natural …

Farm Forum

USDA in conjunction with its Risk Management Agency recently unveiled the Dairy Revenue Protection (Dairy-RP) program in August of 2018, which is designed to insure against unexpected declines milk sales on a quarterly basis at a guaranteed coverage level. The revenue will be based upon futu…

Farm Forum

10/15/18 — While USDA continues to dream about record large yields in the U.S. this year, crop conditions and yield models for corn and soybeans continue to decline for the third week in a row. Once again, it appears that USDA will have to cut yields into the final Jan. report — after hiking…

Farm Forum

In the unseasonable heat of mid-September, the yard’s many black walnut trees began shedding their heavy fruit. Now, a month on, the stately trees are bare of nuts and most of their leaves weeks earlier than any year I can remember. Does that suggest an early winter? A long one?

Farm Forum

The essentials of financial recordkeeping on modern farms and ranches has grown with the need to track income and expenses to determine a profit in a business with very tight margins. In several instances the present record keeping system, which may still be shoe box filing and hoping for a …

Farm Forum

October blew in on a wild bronco of bone-chilling rains, a killing frost and a spiteful spattering of snow thrown in for good measure. The tenth month continues to maintain its reputation as a mass executioner of gardens.

Farm Forum

Food Safety, including food recalls and alerts, is one of the more important issues that we cover in this column. The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) is responsible for recalls involving meat (including fish of the order Siluriformes), p…

Farm Forum

10/09/18 — Prices are relatively stagnant, with the markets not going much higher, but not going lower, either, as we plow through harvest of record yielding corn and soybean crops. That’s usually not the case that record crops don’t push prices to new lows at harvest, but this year was unus…

Farm Forum

Getting a nationwide group of notoriously independent and private people to voluntarily turn over information to the government can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. USDA made a major push to identify and track livestock in 2007, back when South Dakota native Bruce Knight was undersecreta…

Farm Forum

I have a teal dinosaur that sits on my desk. It’s an unusual office ornament, but he serves a valuable purpose. When plans change, when the unexpected pops up, when I’m tempted to say “we’ve always done it this way,” he’s my reminder of what happens when we fail to adapt. We go extinct.

Farm Forum

Gustavus Adolphus is a picturesque little college that sits upon a hill at the edge of the picturesque town of St. Peter, Minn. When my wife and I recently visited Gustavus, the autumn trees were turning gold and scarlet and a dozen clean-cut college students were playing volleyball on an em…

Farm Forum

10/02/18 — Grains are grinding away at or near the bottom as we harvest another very large crop. USDA says both corn and soybeans are record large yields, and so far many areas are indeed harvesting very large crops. But whether or not we shatter the previous record is yet to be seen. Meanwh…

Farm Forum

Due to low commodity prices, many of you are planning on storing grain until prices get to a profitable level. Some elevators and grain facilities are telling producers no grain will be taken unless it was contracted with them. Storing grain, however, creates problems with cash flow and cove…

Farm Forum

A popular question nowadays is, “If you could talk with any person, living or dead, who would it be?” Many would name such history-altering figures as Washington or Lincoln or Weird Al Yankovic.

Farm Forum

Gardeners probably have been digging and enjoying new potatoes several weeks ago now. The tubers start to form about the same time as the plants flower (four to six weeks after planting), but flowering is not required for the tubers to form — that’s just coincidence. Sometimes the flowers wi…

Farm Forum

9/25/18 — We’re now into fall, and for us in agriculture that means harvest of fall crops, with the corn and soybean harvest now well underway across the U.S. Yields so far have been good to outstanding, with some areas incredulous over the yields, and others somewhat disappointed after all …

Farm Forum

This summer is done for and fall came in a hurry. There’s a lot to do and not much time before the snowflakes tickle our noses. I thought you readers might appreciate some positive vibes to ruminate over as you go about your daily tasks this harvest. Enjoy the fall weather and stay safe. And…

Farm Forum

Every state has at least one food festival, and they often showcase the foods grown or caught in the region. Sometimes festivals also highlight the ethnic heritage of people in the area. Supporting your community and everything that makes it unique is a memorable way to connect.

Farm Forum

09/18/18 — As we start another week, it seems the rhetoric has turned up a notch between China and the U.S., with many developments the past few days. News has broken today that the Trump administration will impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods on Sept. 24, and will ra…