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.
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.
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."
Next week marks the 45th anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day celebration occurred April 22, 1970.
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.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available $332 million in financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). ACEP applications may be submitted at any time to NRCS however, applications for the current funding cycle must be submitted on or before May 15, 2015.
Pre-packaged, vacuum-packed, just add water.
Farming is a dangerous business. In fact, farming is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US. Every year, around one hundred youth are killed in farm work related activities. A lot of these deaths could have been prevented with better safety practices. Every year, Barton County, K-State Extension and Research provides a class in Hazardous Occupations Training to teach youth ages 13-18 about the Hazards of farm work, and how to create a safer working environment. Even though the class is offered for a larger age range, it is required for individuals 14-15 years old who will be ...
Before today's topic a brief update is in order. Temperatures the night of April 3 fell well below freezing ranging from the low 20s to around 30 over the area for several hours. Spotty freeze damage has been noted already in South Central Kansas and more will likely become evident over the next little while, especially under warm windy conditions. Leaf burn won't be a big deal but since wheat was jointing or jointed in much of the area, it will pay to keep an eye out for damage to the developing head inside the stem. Damage was ...
A Kansas State University animal health leader has been chosen to engage local, regional and national stakeholders in the development of strategic partnerships for the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF.
Can you believe that April is already here? I swear I just put up my Christmas items a week ago! Well, April is going to be quite the busy month here for Extension! So this week, I thought I would remind you of several opportunities that will be taking place for the community.
Each day, farmers and ranchers pull on their boots, roll up their sleeves and go to work outside rural communities across Kansas. They perform a litany of chores – feeding and doctoring livestock, cultivating their crops, pulling maintenance on machinery, paying bills – you name it and farmers and ranchers do it.
It's Easter weekend and this past Thursday night saw some fairly severe weather in the area complete with power outages. Spring is really here, especially after the extremely warm temperatures this past week. Today is April 5, so area producers should have wrapped up side dressing the 2015 wheat crop and corn planters are being readied to begin planting shortly. Alfalfa is greening up and in some parts of the state, including some fields here, wheat producers are assessing winter survival. Since not a great deal is going on just yet, let's catch up on what is known.
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