Under a bright blue, fall Oklahoma sky in a serene setting, cattle are doing what cattle do – quietly moving through a pasture looking for the next best thing to eat. As they graze, instruments are recording how much methane they are producing.
The good news is, Kansas consumers spend $7.2 billion on food each year. The bad news is, $6.5 billion of it comes from beyond the state's borders, obesity is on the rise, 56 percent of Kansas farmers require secondary income and only eight percent of Kansans have healthy diets, according to a 2010 survey by the Kansas Health Institute.
While food safety will always be the cornerstone of our production process, allegiance is making inroads into why and where consumers buy their products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is publishing a rule that outlines how it will improve the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), one of USDA's largest conservation programs. The interim final rule includes program changes authorized by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill.
Although women represented only 28 percent of Kansas farmers in 2012 and the number of farmers is declining overall, women are ramping-up their involvement in several of the state's less common forms of agriculture. The Kansas Rural Center is one organization in Kansas that continues to advance programs to better serve the needs of this historically underserved population.
We all know a century is a long time. In U.S. agriculture the changes make it seem more like a millennium. We are aware of the obvious changes in crops, crop yields, machinery and technology, demographics, and globalization. But where and why did those changes happen and how have these changes changed, or not changed, what a farmer has become?
Record crops and low prices have farmers embracing change in 2015, with acreage shifts continuing to move fields from corn to soybeans, according to the latest Farm Futures survey.
Well, 2015 is starting out as busy as 2014 ended! I have several more upcoming programs to tell you all about in Agriculture and Horticulture. As always, you can contact me at the Extension Office for more information about these exciting opportunities coming your way!
Before we all become buried in the new year, let's look at this new beginning with a bit of humor. Plenty of people trot out their lists of resolutions. Often, such lists are as long as their arms and last as long as their pinky.
As the holiday season comes to an end, so does the entry period for the 2015 National Festival of Breads. The festival, sponsored by King Arthur Flour, Red Star Yeast and Kansas Wheat, is a national amateur bread baking competition that hundreds of bakers enter. The entry deadline for this year's competition is January 16, 2015.
Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) and the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC) will host the eighth annual Be Ag-Wise professional development workshops early next year.
Happy New Year to everybody. 2014 is history and 2015 is officially here. The last year was interesting to say the least for crop and livestock producers. The drought, record high prices for protein (beef, pork, and poultry), significant declines in crop prices, record corn yields, and steep declines in fuel prices. The natural question then is what does 2015 have in store for agriculture? This list is in no particular order and accurately seeing into the future is tricky at best.
If temperatures are too hot in May and June, farmers could lose more than layers.
Do you ever drive by the USDA Service Center or the K-State Research and Extension Office and wonder what they do in there? Do you ever have a question, but aren't sure where to turn? What about wanting to improve your operation, and needing some financial assistance to help with the cost? Chances are these offices have the ability to help.
Many, many traditions are associated with Christmas – a decorated tree, colored lights, gift giving, parties and turkey and ham dinners. Most of these traditions are recent additions.
Many times when I go out on home visits, the homeowners concerns are with trees on their property. One reason for your trees being in distress may very well be your lawn. If your grass, (especially cool season grasses such as fescue) is allowed to grow up to the trunk of your trees, the competition for water and other nutrients may cause your tree to decline in health. Following is a report on research that has been completed by KSU with more information about the grass and tree competition issue many homeowners have faced.
The two previous columns briefly outlined reasons for the large changes in agriculture over the last century and the results of those changes for the society. Also discussed were the effects these changes had on the practice of agriculture. Now, let's wrap it up and discuss how these changes changed agricultural producers themselves. Please keep in mind these are general trends that don't necessarily mean everyone producing food, fiber, or fuel or that today is bad and a century ago was better or vice-versa..
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds livestock producers that the Jan. 30, 2015, deadline to request assistance for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014, is fast approaching.
Hype is a word often associated with advertising agencies, public relations firms and spin doctors who attempt to create, change or repair an image. Many people consider hype a dirty word, something to detest.
The 2015 Central Plains Irrigation Conference and Exposition will take place Feb. 17-18 at the City Limits Convention Center, Colby. The popular annual event focused solely on irrigation-related topics is hosted in Kansas every third year. Sponsors include Kansas State University, Colorado State University, the University of Nebraska and the Central Plains Irrigation Association.
All Kansas farmers are invited to the Kansas Commodity Classic on Friday, Feb. 6. The Commodity Classic is the annual convention of the Kansas Corn, Wheat and Grain Sorghum Associations, and will take place at the at the Hilton Garden Inn, 410 S 3rd St, Manhattan, Kan., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. It is free to attend and includes a complimentary breakfast and lunch; however pre-registration is requested.
With the advent of 2015, there's hope the Obama administration will follow through on its ambitious trade agenda. Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic agree a more open trade partnership makes sense.
A forester once told me that you know a drought is severe if you see Red Cedar trees dying. All around the county, you can see Cedars in tree rows and windbreaks dead and brown. If you are looking to replace your tree row, The Kansas Forest Service offers low-cost tree and shrub seedlings for use in conservation plantings. Plants are one to two years old and sizes vary from 5 to 18 inches, depending on species. Orders are accepted from now through the first full week in May each year, but order early to insure receiving the items you ...
Last week's column briefly discussed some of the reasons for the large changes in agriculture over the last century. Drivers for change included two World Wars, the Great Depression, economic conditions after WWII, and the Federal Government. One reader pointed out that the column almost painted war as a good thing for agriculture. That wasn't the intent. The fact is the driver for change and the development of new techniques and technologies is typically an event or events forcing and accelerating change. Now, how did events change farming over the last century.
Many authors have documented the rise and fall of civilizations throughout time. Reasons for this rollercoaster effect are numerous-from human-influenced changes such as conquest, culture or religion, to events that occur in the natural environment including changes in climate or the presence of natural resources, such as soil.
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