Posted on April 10, 2023
Before a January “memorandum of understanding,” or MOU, on a farmer’s “right to repair” his farm machinery, U.S. equipment makers and their farm and ranch customers were locked in a legal and legislative fight over who could fix today’s complex ag machinery–the customer who owned or leased it, or the maker that designed, built, and […]
Posted on April 10, 2023
Rural America is just like the rest of America except it’s older, poorer, and often sicker.
Even worse, if you’re all three in rural America–elderly, poor, and ill–the odds that you will receive proper care from either a government agency or a private provider are dwindling with each passing year.
For proof, here’s how the non-profit National […]
Posted on March 3, 2023
Winter’s icy winds, stinging snow, and below-zero temperatures finally found our slice of the upper Midwest late last month. Unlike northern winters of the past, however, this Arctic blast was a quick slap of shattering cold followed by a warm, 40-degree hug of sunshine to melt its accompanying snow and icy heart.
A fast, almost 50-degree-turnaround […]
Posted on January 6, 2023
The Christmas tree was a scrub cedar hacked from the edge of the woods that bordered the farm.
Big-bulbed lights, strung in barber pole fashion, generated almost as much heat as the nearby woodstove. Yellowed Christmas cards, saved through the years and perched like doves in the untrimmed branches, served as ornaments.
“I believe this is the […]
Posted on December 13, 2022
As widespread rains begin to slowly refill lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, Thanksgiving thoughts turn back to the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth where the Mississippi River, just a mile from our dairy barn, was a constant, often dominating presence.
Except, that is, in the late summer months when everything around the farm–cows, hired men, […]
Posted on September 28, 2022
One certain way to raise my agricultural bona fides among farming friends was to casually mention my upbringing on a 100-cow, southern Illinois dairy farm.
“Oh,” they would say reverently, “that’s real work.”
Yes, it was, but mostly for my father who began his farming career milking cows by hand in 1950 and ended it in 1989 […]
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 […]