Not more than a mile from where thousands of wheat, corn, soybean and sorghum farmers have gathered for the annual Commodity Classic in downtown Tampa, Florida, another segment of America's food industry was represented at Tampa's Downtown Market.
In driving around the neighborhood recently, I noticed an increasing number of wheat stubble fields that were harvested with stripper heads rather than conventional platforms. New technology, for sure, but is it any better?
Research shows the media has an effect on consumer perception. Recent media attention on animal welfare issues has triggered consumers to purchase less meat, and to lose confidence in the way our food is grown.
Rick's Ag Roundup Bull sale season is under way, and producers will have many opportunities to buy bulls from now through the end of May. With all of the options - sale dates, breeders, cow families and sires - to choose from, the decision of which bull to buy may not come easily.
A device rolls across the field, with giant flotation tires and metal wings reaching 70 feet across. Is this something out of science fiction? A landing from outer space? No, this device is the newest in fertilizer applicator systems. It’s being utilized by an innovative agribusiness firm in rural Kansas. Now the general manager of this company is playing a national leadership role for his industry.
On a recent shopping trip, with my super-hip, fashion
merchandising sister, Molly, I bought my first pair of leggings. Well, I
owned some when I was twelve, but this was my first pair of leggings for my
adult body. My sister provided plenty of encouragement to jump on board
this fashionable leggings bandwagon.
When you get an opportunity to get a big event in your own background, you need to be sure and come to the party. Often the large conferences in our state are in Topeka or Manhattan or even Kansas City. Here’s one right here in Great Bend, America.
The USDA and HHS (United States
Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services)
released the 2010 Dietary Guidlines for Americans earlier this week.
They're the folks who make sure the food
pyramid is posted in every school cafeteria across the country, among other
Every five years, they revise their recommendations, and those new
recommendations were released to the general public this week. You
probably haven't heard because headlines from Egypt
and the Midwest blizzard blanketed the
news. Or maybe it's because the entire report was, umm,
uninspiring. Uninteresting. Unable to tell me something I (and you)
didn't already know.
Let's begin with the "selected messages for consumers." Reading
this is like listening to my mom tell me to eat my vegetables. Except I'm
31. And I now know that for myself.
Enjoy your food, but eat
Avoid oversized portions
Make half your plate
fruits and vegetables
Switch to fat-free or
low-fat (1%) milk
Compare sodium in foods
like soup, bread and frozen meals - and choose the foods with lower
Drink water instead of
This is truly what was printed
and posted for you and I to read. When Michelle Obama,
and Secretaries Vilsack and Sebelius hit the road this month to promote the new
guidelines, these will be their talking points. And the crowds will roll
their eyes - all teenager like - reach for their cell phones and catch up on
facebook until the speech is over.
There is a little more meat, err, in the form of fish, to the story. If
you read the entire report, (I'd highly recommend the executive summary if your
toddlers don't often allow you the freedom to read for hours uninterrupted)
you'll quickly see the driving forces behind these new
recommendations are poor diet and physical inactivity. Haven't I said
Still, if you're not into reading government documents, I've taken the liberty
of breaking down some key recommendations into tips that make sense for
mommies, my beloved Vice President's of Grocery Shopping:
1. Eat less salt. A great place to start is canned soups. Cream of
"whatever" can be a handy-dandy meal-time helper, but it's loaded
with sodium. Look for brands labeled "reduced sodium" or
"healthy choice." And, beware of store brands. I have
often found that store brands - while cheaper - are higher in sodium content.
2. Butter is good, but butter is bad for you. And so is lard.
Making stir fry, roasted potatoes or sautéed chicken breasts? Try olive
oil or soybean (vegetable) oil. Save your butter for the really good
stuff, like chocolate chip cookies. The stuff you eat in moderation.
Moderation. Moderation. Moderation. I just don't think
the report used this word enough. Now I feel better.
3. Reduce cholesterol. I love my cured pork products (bacon,
sausage, ham) as much as any red-blooded American. And I love my cured
pork products with a side of eggs. But I respect them. That means,
sausage and eggs are made for breakfast in moderation. One egg per day is
a good thing. (Eased me through the first
trimester with baby #3.) Three eggs and a side of bacon every day is
bad. Again, what's the take home point? Cholesterol - whether from
eggs, dairy, poultry, pork or beef - should be consumed in moderation
4. Avoid over-processed foods. Thirty some years ago, my mom knew
that Hamburger Helper was bad stuff. She was way ahead of her time.
If your food comes from the middle aisles of the grocery store, or if it comes
in a box and you just have to "warm it up," it's probably over-processed
and un-healthy. Read the ingredients, ladies. If the label sounds
like things you have in your pantry, it's good. If it sounds more like a
chemical formula, it's bad.
5. Make half your grains whole. Whole grains that is. Whole
grain bread is pricey. My thrifty husband introduced me to bread store
outlets. We can usually get three loaves of whole wheat bread for $4.00.
Check it out. And, start adding whole wheat flour to your baked
goods. I use half whole wheat flour / half all purpose flour in nearly
every bread, muffin, pancake, waffle, or cookie recipe I make. (With the
exception of snickerdoodles and sugar cookies - they don't take well to whole
wheat flour.) And I almost always reduce the sugar called for by 25%.
I promise, you'll never miss it.
6. Fill up on fruits and veggies. There was a day in our house when
I could serve steamed broccoli and brussel sprouts and my kids wouldn't
flinch. They loved the stuff. But somewhere around age 4, Noah
decided she didn't like much of anything besides cereal, bread, pasta, and
applesauce. So, I tried deceiving them by hiding
vegetable purees in recipes. And that still works some of the time,
but it can be pricey to hide vegetables and serve them as a side
dish. So, when I have vegetable leftovers, I sneak them into whatever
we're having. Today, I had a leftover 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin (from a
yummy pumpkin muffin snack) that I dumped into turkey and rice soup. No
one noticed. I don't quit offering a variety of fruits and vegetables -
there's one of each at every meal. My theory is that eventually they'll
come back around. (Shh! Monday morning we'll be having pink heart shaped
pancakes for Valentine's Day. The pink comes from pureed beets.
Don't tell. The kids love them!)
7. Choose lean protein. Instead of barbecued meatloaf, go for
ground beef burgers with barbecue sauce on the side. Add some variety
with plant based protein from beans. Not to mention, this can stretch
your protein dollar given the rising costs of animal based proteins
presently. I made a large batch of vegetable beef soup the other
day. But instead of using two pounds of ground beef, I used only one
pound and added a can of (rinsed) lima beans. Beans are a great source of cheap
8. Switch to 1% or low-fat milk. Growing up, we always drank
2%. In college, I weaned myself down to skim milk. I gradually
stepped down to 1% and then to skim. It was an easy transition, and I
still love to drink milk. I buy 1% now - that keeps everyone in the
family happy. As for cream cheese and sour cream, I stick with the good
stuff. Again, these are foods used in moderation, so I don't mind
using "full fat." (Oh, and my husband can sniff out low-fat
sour cream from a mile away.)
9. Eat more seafood. I can respect this recommendation on its
nutritional merit, but this one is hard to put into practice. I live in
the middle of Kansas,
thirty-five miles from a major grocer who carries fresh fish, and thousands of
miles from the actual supply of said fish. My husband fishes in the
summer and we do consume his catch - deep fried. Of course. Mostly,
I have a hard time understanding this recommendation (especially for pregnant
women) because it suggests you eat more seafood but also take an iron
supplement. Why not eat lean beef - which has an excellent source of iron
- and forego the supplement? But what do I know? I'm not a
nutritionist. I guess I do have a few things to learn.
with your fruits, veggies and grains.
10. Exercise. Eighty years ago, our ancestors didn't need to
exercise. They were up at dawn milking the cow, tending to the garden,
and caring for the livestock. They ate sausage, cooked with lard and
drank whole milk. And they burned off every extra calorie.
Unfortunately, driving the mini-van to the grocery store isn't yielding the
same results for me. Ergo, I exercise. And so do my kids. We
take walks, we get outside as much as possible, and we play at the parks around
town. And we all feel better because of it. Well, I do. You
can ask my three year old about our walks and he'll just tell you about all the
puddles he stomped in along the way. Furthermore, my household is
"Wii-tarded." I'm firmly holding my ground on video games -
even the get up and move kind. There's simply no replacement for actually
getting outside and running around.
There you have it, folks. That's my spin on the latest food buzz.
Whatever you're thoughts, you get what you paid for here. Otherwise, you
can read the government's report. It only cost us $587,000.
Greenspan, Alan -- his retirement piece “Age of Turbulence” He and politicians wanted to elevate the number of homeowners. He was successful in taking this from 66 percent to 69 percent while bringing down the financial community.
As a young farmer, I have seen the sorghum industry
change significantly over the course of my life.Today, I am faced with even more risks than 10 years
ago. Each crop season brings something new, and at
this stage with higher cost of production, managing
those risks is key to a successful farming business.
There was a time when one could legitimately argue that there was a lack of scientific agreement over the issue of the role of humans in global warming and even whether we were in a cooling or warming period. Today, the question is a settled one.
Over the years as we have talked to farmers about their
health care coverage, we find that they fall into four groups. A large number of
farmers have a spouse who works in town and has access to health insurance
through an employer-paid group insurance program. When asked, these farmers
often acknowledge that the health insurance coverage is more important than the
Even the old timers say they’ve rarely seen it this dry.
But one thing for sure, the drier it is, the higher the market goes. Some market
analysts are already talking $10 and $12 wheat.
Larry Hixson from Wakeeney KS remembers it being this
dry before—back in ’55 and ’56. “We didn’t even plant wheat that year. This
year, though, we had a good rain in September and as a result, we have good
Although it’s easy to tell when you have put in a hard day’s
work in the summer hayfield by the amount of hay bales put up, the fruits of a
hard summer’s labor are exhibited during the winter feeding season. It is essential to put up high-quality feed
for your cowherd to utilize during the winter.
In a normal summer, we’ll put approximately 2,000 round bales and 6,000
square bales. This summer’s production
was lower than a typical year and was around 1,700 round bales and 5,900 square
bales, which is approximately 1.5 tons/acre on our brome ground and almost 4
tons/acre on the alfalfa ground.
Every morning in the rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine from mid
to late October until May 1st, Paul,
average temperatures, melting polar ice caps, sea level rise, more extreme
weather events, increased drought–
daily headlines tell readers a lot about the projected global impacts of
We all expect to find bills in the mail box at the beginning of a new year. And, at this time of year, we all expect to be surrounded with information about how to improve our health. But would you expect to find both in the same envelope on the 4th day of the new year?
RICK'S AG ROUNDUP Where were you when _____? Many of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about: the events of 9-11, 2001; the assassination of President Kennedy; when Elvis died; Pearl Harbor; and in my case, the Kansas Day Centennial.
I have been fortunate and blessed over the years to have known many fine people. One of those is Bill Vanskike. I say "is" because I am sure he is still around, I just can´t see his physical form anymore.
By John D. Montgomery/The Hutchinson News Kansas Agriculture Secretary Josh Svaty's presence will be missed in Topeka as he takes leave of politics and the Democrat makes way for a new Republican administration. At the age of 31, however, we expect Svaty won't be gone from state politics for too long.
The causes of the quick run-up, peak, and current price of grains and oilseeds that is well above the levels of just five or six years ago are of interest to many. In the US the farm sales of crops increased from $122 billion in calendar year 2006 to a forecast of $173 billion for calendar year 2010. Crop farmers are hoping that the underlying causes indicate a shift to a new plateau in prices, well above the prior plateau that began in the early 1970s. Livestock producers, having been hit hard by the sharp feed price increases of the last couple of years, are hoping that prices will become more predictable. A number of grain importing nations have been leasing land or looking into leasing land in developing nations as a means of protecting themselves against a surge in prices like the one they saw from 2006 to 2008 and beyond.
By Rick Snell On Jan. 5, Bob Wolf from K-State ag engineering will be here to conduct a sprayer school at the old 4-H Grounds north of Great Bend on Highway 281. We will be in the big 4-H building with plenty of heat. Wolf is retiring soon, so this maybe the last sprayer event that we have for a long time.
Let’s go to Mount Vernon,
George Washington’s historic estate near Washington,
D.C. The historic farm there
needed rye berries for processing. When the curator of the Mount
Vernon estate was seeking this special grain, would you believe
that the request was taken by a woman halfway across the continent in rural Kansas?