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..
January 25, 2015|
Dr. Victor L. Martin
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.
January 25, 2015|
John Schlageck, Kansas Farm Bureau
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.
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.
January 18, 2015|
Dr. Victor L. Martin
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.
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.
January 11, 2015|
By Tom Parker, guest writer
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?
Lately, I have been getting many calls with people concerned with small mounds in their turf, making it difficult to mow, work or play in their yard. Most of the time, the issue is earthworms that are very active at this time of year. In my research, I came across this short piece of information on nightcrawlers, from the K-State Entomology department. I thought I would share this to give more infomation about these beneficial but sometimes annoying worms.
This week wraps up the discussion of "organic" foods before comparing them to "conventionally" produced foods. Last week's column briefly described what organic means in general terms. When you purchase a product "Certified Organic" what does that really mean?
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $73 million to rehabilitate dams across the nation in an effort to protect public health and safety and evaluate the expansion of water supply in drought stricken areas. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing in approximately 150 projects and assessments in 23 states. "Millions of people depend on watersheds and dams for protection from floods and providing clean drinking water," Vilsack said. "By investing in this critical infrastructure, we are helping to ensure a safe, resilient environment for rural America."
At this time of year, many gardeners are starting vegetables indoors, or preparing to buy small plants to transplant into their garden when the soil temperature is warm enough. To help with this process, it is sometimes a good idea to give the small plants a little extra fertilizer to help them get a good start. I found a column from the K-State Research and Extension's horticulture department that gives some good advice on transplant solutions and sidedressing to help you give your garden the best start possible.
The Kansas Flint Hills have served as a home and food source for stocker cattle since the mid-1800s, when cowboys drove longhorns up the Chisholm Trail from the southwestern United States to Kansas railways. Flash forward to today: research from Kansas State University on this staple resource could help ensure profitable years ahead for stocker producers.
K-State Research and Extension is offering 4-H Leadership Boot Camp on April 25 in Hoisington, available to all interested persons. Call 785-483-3157 to register. For more information about this, as well as more localized events, check with the local K-State Research and Extension office.
Last week's column explored in general terms what organic means to chemists and the scientific community and what it means to the "natural" foods community. This series of articles isn't intended to take sides but to provide information to help in making informed decisions. Now let's briefly attempt to get a handle on what exactly "organic" foods are. This involves several parts and it is important to note there are foodstuffs claiming to be organic and foodstuffs that have followed certain strict requirements and are certified as organic.