What Do You Want to Know?

I’ve been part of agriculture for eleven years now, and I’m still amazed at all there is to learn!  I’ve been in St.Louis this past weekend,  and in less than 48 hours My ALOT class visited Monsanto’s research facilities, BUNGE’s national headquarters, listened to a Congresswoman, attended media training, and learned about an ag PR company, visited a fertilizer facility, heard from the Army Corp of Engineers, saw an animal feed research center, and visited a winery!  It really is amazing when you think of the chain of events that leads to food on your table!! 

 
(Isn’t this room beyond cool!)

Anyway, that got me wondering- what questions do you have about agriculture?  What do you want to know?  What good issues have your attention?  

So leave me a comment and let me know.  

I don’t know everything, but I’m betting I can find out a lot.  

I’ll also be working on a few posts about the the places we went.  (Can’t wait to share my pictures of the Monsanto research facility!)  I’d love to know what you’re interested in so I can make sure and get it in!

Categories: Science | 2 Comments

A Visit from Dusty Crophopper

I’m assuming you’ve seen Disney’s Planes.  Besides being yet another fun movie from the World of Cars it’s also a terrific film because it features a farmer!  Well, okay, a crop duster, but still.  And while Dusty leaves the farm behind in search of fame and fortune, anyone can tell you he got his work-ethic and moral principles working in the corn fields!

At any rate, he’s a favorite around here.

Which is why it was lots of fun when Daddy stopped by the airport and commissioned a crop duster to drop nitrogen fertilizer on our fields!

A crop duster visits the farm!

All the extra rain we’ve had is causing the chemical nitrogen (and when I say chemical, I mean all-naturally occurring element number 7 on a Periodic table) to go deeper into the soil where the corn’s root system can’t reach it.  Since corn depends on nitrogen– think Squanto adding fish to the Pilgrim’s garden– this is a problem!

Nitrogen is usually added before the fields are planted…

anhydrous original

(like this ^)

but this little hiccup called for Plan B.

A crop duster visits our farm!

It really is pretty amazing to watch a crop duster work.  They fly SO LOW!  Then the loop and roll at the ends; it’s kind of our very own air show.

To go with our vey own Dusty Crophopper.

Categories: Farming | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Because Only Chandler Bing Doesn’t Like Puppies

After reading this post you’ll know that I both binge watch F*R*I*E*N*D*S on Netflix and that I brought home a puppy.

The cutest puppy ever!

We've added a puppy to the farm!

I can remember Brian talking about how much he wanted a black lab before we ever dated.  In 1998.  Just before our wedding (in 2004, if you were wondering) a half-grown yellow lab showed up at his paren’t farm in the way that animals do when you live in the country.  Brian’s plan was to move the dog to our house once we got married, but since we live so close to his parents Ben just kept finding his was back “home.”

Ben is still keeping Brian company when he goes to the farm to work, which is a large portion of his time, so I’ve not thought much about him needing another dog.

Until friends posted pics of their (sort-of black lab) puppies to Facebook.

And Brian wanted one.

And I got to thinking that we take care of two goats, a sheep, 20+ chickens, a dog and two cats as it is.

What’s one more animal, really?

So the kids and I went and picked up the puppy as an early Father’s Day surprise.  I’m so glad we did!

After a few days Brian settled on the name Case, although Thor was a close contender.  This face just doesn’t say “Dog of Thunder,” no matter how funny a labra-thor was.

We've added a puppy to the farm!

Give it time and I’m sure he’ll eat a few chickens and probably my favorite flip-flops and end up on my naughty list, but that’s just the price you pay for this much cuteness!

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

A Real Disney Princess

You know how as a parents sometimes you just smile and nod and say “Sure sweetie”?  These certianly aren’t our more stellar parenting moments, but when you’re home with kids 24/7 it happens.  There are just certain instances when this has more consequences…

For example, the other day when two of Baby’s therapists were finishing up their visit, in walks Anna, just like this.

Anna's dream came true.  She caught a bird!

Since it’s hard to tell in the photo, I’ll tell you.  That’s a baby barn swallow in her hand.  Which would be interesting enough as a parent, except for one small thing.

For the past four weeks that background chatter, the constant flow of conversation as been, “Can I please try and catch a bird?  Princesses can catch birds.”

The conversation typically continues something like “Maybe someday we’ll get a pet bird.”

“But if I catch one can we put it in that bird cage?” (points to Hobby Lobby decorative bird cage)

“Um, not really.”

“But can we get a bird cage?”

“Sure.”

“Can I pray to catch a bird?”

“Okay.”

“Yay! I’m going outside right now to get one!”

“Uh, huh.”

Never.  Ever.  Did I expect to see her walk in with a real, live, baby bird.  And, I should add, neither did the therapists.  Holding it bird out with both hands she exclaims, “All of my dreams have come true!”

Prayer is powerful stuff.

She and Brett were playing in the shed on Daddy’s old Chevy when she found this baby bird on the ground.  When I went back outside with her I found half a nest on the roof of the pick-up that had evidently fallen out of the rafters, another fledgling still inside.

Anna's dream came true.  She caught a bird!

We took lots of pictures and then a broken hearted Anna left both birds in the nest, certain I was thwarting God’s ultimate plan for the universe and denying her her royal birth-right.

Anna's dream came true.  She caught a bird!

There’s little hope for the poor things; I didn’t see any sign of the parents all morning and there are too many predators around here for birds to survive on a truck.  But leaving them there is probably their best bet.

And Anna is praying for them.

Categories: Animals, Family | Tags: , | 3 Comments

How Spring Planting is (not) Going

I’d like to tell you how spring planting is going, but it pretty much takes just one word.

Wet.

rainy day1

We were hardly in the field at all in the month of May, and have spent less than 48 hours planting since June began.

It won't stop raining and we can't start planting! {DaddysTractor.com}

Not really our ideal situation.

And sadly, the rain isn’t even all that great for the crops we planted in April.  Several of our corn fields have large patches of yellow-tinged leaves where the plants are water-logged and roots don’t have oxygen.  Even without standing water, the corn is drowning.

rainy day2

Thankfully, most of the corn is likely to pull out of this and be fine (oh please, oh please, oh please be fine), but the irony!

It won't stop raining and we can't start planting! {DaddysTractor.com}

So Daddy is spending his time fixing equipment.  There’s been trouble with trucks, several of the farm pick-ups and also the semis.  Once we get a couple of working pick-ups I should be able to borrow one and leave my mini van in the shop to fix a nasty scratch. 😛  So there are silver linings.

Categories: Farming | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Even More Daddy’s Tractor! (Aren’t you Excited!)

Because I have nothing else to do, (oops, excuse me while I pull the little guy out of a pile of noodles I put in the trash this morning) and I am other wise bored (except for where I had to stop right here to put my little girl’s shoes on) I am starting another project!  (Right after I make lunch.)

I’ve created a Daddy’s Tractor Facebook page!

Daddy's Tractor now had it's own Facebook page!

I honestly try not to alienate all my Facebook friends with constant posts about how much chemical really goes on an acre of soybeans, and for those of you who don’t know me in real life, well, I probably haven’t accepted your friend request. 😛

So if you need a daily does of science, facts, reassurance, or cute animals, now you’ll know where to find me.

And tell your friends.  (Right after you clean up the tea your toddler spilt while you were reading this.)

Categories: Agvocacy | 1 Comment

How a Vietnamese Picnic Ties to Agriculture

This weekend I went to a Vietnamese picnic- all in the name of agriculture, of course!

Agriculture in Viet Nam

My Ag Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) class focuses mainly on the agriculture of Missouri, but in the global world we live in it’s really not that simple!  Every class takes a trip to DC, as well as one overseas trip at the end of the program.  My husband when to China; next year I’ll be visiting VietNam!

To prep for the trip the Vietnamese Student Association at MU put together a presentation and picnic for us!  We heard from professors, PhD candidates, and a post-doc student about the agriculture in VietNam, as well as subjects closely related, like geography and finance.  (But truly, between the accent and the topic, I have no idea what the nice professor of international finance was talking about…)

Agriculture in Viet Nam

VietNam has gone from a third world country to a developing nation in a rather short amount of time.  They still have many challenges, which is why many of the students we met were post-grad.  The country is looking for highly educated people to help move the nation forward– and ag tech is going to be huge for them.

Agriculture in Viet Nam

This was my favorite slide of the day.  These are pictures of their “new” technology.  Top left is a “harvester,” not even a combine.  In the pic on the top right the pole in-between the two workers is actually a tree limb.  Still, even with their ag looking like this, they are anxious for the advantages of genetically modified crops.

Agriculture in VietNam

And since food, of course, is what we’re working for in agriculture, it was an important part of our education to eat some!

Agriculture in Viet Nam

I’ll admit to being worried, but actually I loved it!  It’s not spicy like Tai food, and not as… similar as all Chinese dishes seem to me.  There were many flavors, lots of them fresh veggies with herbs like mint.  I din’t quite understand how the dishes were supposed to go together- the noodles went in a sauce which made it like soup which was for dipping the little rolls in the bottom right corner, as well as adding to the veggies in the top pic? But I loved all of it, and even braved the dessert (very center pic) which was like tapioca with coconut milk along with boiled peanuts, corn, and mushrooms.  Confession, one of my mushrooms was julienned so long and thin it looked like a worm.  I did not eat it.

Our trip is scheduled for July of 2016, so I’ve got a year to add to my Pinterest board of Vietnamese culture.  And if you want to follow me on Instagram and Twitter (both @daddystractor) I promise I’ll post lots while we’re there!

I can’t wait!

Categories: Farming | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Detox Diets and Monsanto; Why You Should Think for Yourself

I’m pretty big into helping people make choices by giving them correct information.  I spend a lot of time researching topics for people who just want to know their food is healthy and safe.  I’ve invested a lot of personal energy in debunking myths and misconceptions.  Even with all that, sometimes I fall for it too.

Detox Diets and Monsanto: Why We Should Think for Ourselves  {DaddysTractor.com}

This is my juicer, bought for more money than I’d like to admit.  Another thing that’s a little hard to admit?  I purchased it as part of a fad-diet detox plan.  An unscientific, un-researched, unproven detox plan.

Because I’ve done it too.  I wanted something to be true.  I was counting on the idea that eating a special diet of veggies and whole grains could clear my body of all the pizza and pop and mini Twix bars.  I was a tired new mom and I needed this to work.

I bought the book of some guy; not a professor or scientist or nutritionist but the maker of a health food product he wanted you to buy.  I ate tofu, for which my only excuse is that it is made of soybeans.  I spent SO much money on vegetables that I ground up into juice and drank by the gallon.

Then I sugar-crashed.

And the diet I needed didn’t work.

Because I didn’t do the research.

I’m not going to present the research here because this blog isn’t about detox diets, but if you want to know, Fitness Reloaded does a great job laying out the facts.

The point I’m trying to make is that we have all believed the hype–listened to the thousands of voices selling something.  We have all forgotten to think for ourselves.

Yesterday I was on a Facebook thread with a person who stated “Monsanto is evil no matter what you think about GMOs.”  I responded with one word.

“Why?”

She didn’t know.  She had heard a lot of hype, so there must be something.  She just didn’t know what it was.

If you believe organic must be better for you because it just must, well, I get that.  If you want non-GMOs because “genetically modified” is scary, well, I can see that too.  But don’t let it get in the way of thinking for yourself, of finding out the facts, of knowing what you believe and why.  (But for the love of all that is good and decent, check your sources!)

And if you should still decide you want organic, hormone-free, paleo food, then go for it.

I have a juicer I can sell you.

Categories: Food, Science | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

And Repeat

I really didn’t see that coming.  In fact, I didn’t quite believe Brett when he first told me.  But it’s true; one of our hens actually hatched a chick of her own!

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

We’ve had several broody hens this spring.  (Broody means instead of pecking and scratching in the dirt the hen sets on eggs all day.)  Last spring I put our mail-order chicks under two setting mamas–and was as shocked as anyone when it worked!.  But it’s always seemed tenuous at best.  Any mama hen who forgets which egg box she’s setting isn’t likely to be successful.  But this little bantam hen made it happen!

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

I did find the egg the chick hatched out of, and this little one is actually from a hen that lays blue-green eggs, not biologically this banty’s offspring.  But she did the work and she’ll get the credit.  The baby follows her every move like, well, like a baby chick.

Aaaaaaand, because I am either such a push-over or I just really love chicks too, I bought a few more baby chicks for her to raise as well.

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

The problem is that two of our other little girls were recently…lost.  Probably to a dog.  Which leaves us only one of the three I bought for pets and Anna is SO worried.  I might have promised her that if all three perish we could get more.  Well, the farm store is in its last week of selling chicks, so if we get more after this point we’ll have to mail order them and pay three times what the chicks cost in shipping.

Momma hen and baby chick!  {DaddysTractor.com}

And since this mama is raising a chick anyway…

So far, so good.  The new chicks all went right to the hen, despite being four days old, and the mama lets them cuddle under her, despite this odd feeling she seems to have that they aren’t really hers.  This banty is one fierce mommy too, so everyone should be safe and secure.

But wow.  I did not see that coming.

Categories: Animals, Family | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Home Team

Despite being a fan of the hashtag #ForeverRoyal, I’ve never really jumped on the  bandwagon of our championship Kansas City baseball team.  But even though sports aren’t my thing, you will find me cheering loudly for a farmer’s “home team.”

In the world of agriculture the rivalry between Case IH and John Deere is as hotly disputed as the Yankees versus the Red Socks.  I’ve never posted a picture of my family proudly posing in Case IH red without receiving a few helpful comments from people who would take up arms for John Deere’s signature green.

If It Ain't Red It Stays in the Shed

My blog. My rules. 

And like sports rivalries, it’s all in good fun.

Mostly. 🙂

While there are other players on the field, (Kubota, New Holland) John Deere and Case IH represent the two largest makers of farm equipment.  They manufacture huge tractors to lawn mowers, combines, planters, etc..  They also often represent different ways to solve a problem.  Like a few years ago when the big push was to reduce emissions in tractor engines the two companies went in very different directions.  But often as not a farmer’s allegiance has more to do with what his grandfather bought!

Case IH vs. John Deere

John Deere is a great American success story, with a bankrupt blacksmith opening a new shop and solving a major problem for Midwestern farmers.   When demand for his self-scouring steel plow outgrew his little shop he opened a factory– then another and another.  During the depression, the story goes, John Deere did not repossess a single piece of equipment from farmers going through hard times.  And thus John Deere loyalty was born.

Case’s following was earned in a different way.  The company began as a maker of steam engines and has bought and acquired various companies like Farmall and International Harvester along its not-quite 200 year journey. The history isn’t as easy to trace, but its commitment from customers can often be found in its prices.  Most often you’ll hear farmers saying “I can’t afford to pay more for green paint.”  If John Deere is Apple then Case would be Android.

Case IH vs. John Deere

Actually, I’d say the rivalry between farm companies is even more intense than sports teams.  When was the last time you invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on a sports team and then depended on them for your livelihood?

So root for your home team.  Leave a comment and tell me to whom are you #ForeverLoyal.

#IAmCaseIH #NothingRunsLikeADeere

 

Categories: Family, Farming | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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