Posted on September 9, 2022
Two groups–one of South Dakota investors, the other tied to Texas cattle ranchers and feeders–are preparing to spend a collective $1.8 billion on two meatpacking plants that they say will be so innovative each will pay cattle suppliers more for their cattle and bison than any of today’s Big Four packers.
Most meatpacker pros, however, think […]
Posted on August 17, 2022
Each of my parents had an unwritten list of essentials to take when our family–of, holy cow, eight–left the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth on our annual August vacation.
For example, my mother never crossed the state line without a wide-mouth quart jar filled with soapy water and a washcloth so she could keep […]
Posted on July 15, 2022
From 35,000 feet, the white ring that marks the high level of Lake Powell looks just like the ring of an emptying bathtub. The only difference is the chalky top mark on this big tub, once the second largest freshwater reservoir in the U.S., is an unscrubble 1,900 miles around.
And Lake Powell, the upper reservoir […]
Posted on June 15, 2022
Despite spending every day of my southern Illinois youth on what at the time was a very large dairy farm, I never really had a clue of what made one Holstein cow or calf better or worse than the next Holstein cow or calf.
Most of that inability lay in my complete disinterest to show any […]
Posted on May 6, 2022
In a recent telephone conversation, a southwest Kansas farmer casually noted that he had stopped growing irrigated corn some years back because “it cost too much.” Curious, I asked what it cost to irrigate an acre of corn in his arid, cattle-feeding-and-corn-hungry corner of the state.
“It wasn’t the money,” he quickly explained, “it was the […]
Posted on February 18, 2022
For more than 40 years my father farmed within a mile of where the Kaskaskia River met the Mississippi deep in southern Illinois. That meant he had two, lifetime partners: the river and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, landlords of the levees that guarded our wedge of the Great American Bottoms.
Dad never argued with […]
Posted on February 11, 2022
The biggest gold rush in U.S. history is about to hit rural America and it won’t involve corn or cattle or even gold. Instead, the big money will be in pipelines.
That’s right, pipelines; pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) pipelines designed to carry CO2 from Midwestern ethanol plants to “sequestration” sites in either North Dakota or Illinois.
Posted on February 11, 2022
Of all the daily chores my father performed on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth, the most vital to me each winter morning was his rekindling of the banked fire in the tall, round wood stove that dominated my mother’s kitchen 60 years ago.
The stove was, no kidding, a Warm Morning model. It was as […]
Posted on January 3, 2022
It’s an ever more uncomfortable fact for journalists like me that 67 percent of today’s media-consuming Americans do not have one paid-for subscription to anything.
Even more striking, 87 percent of the Baby Boomer generation–we of gray hair and paid subscriptions–use free, electronic media like Facebook, Twitter, and podcasts everyday. Only Gen Z, the 18-to-25 year-old youngsters who actually remember […]
Posted on November 5, 2021
Every farm kid who grew up before the change-everything 1970s changed almost everything will recall Friday evenings meant quick chores, a quick supper, and a family night in town.
Back then, nearly every store in nearly every rural community remained open for business until 9 p.m. on Fridays so everyone–but mostly farm families–could shop, stroll the storefronts, or just visit […]