Not Quite Stranded in Washington D.C.

When I say I got out of Washington DC just in time this weekend, it’s not an exaggeration. We left out hotel at 3:15 AM to stand in line at Reagan National for much too long of a time with no caffeine, only to sit on the runway in Nashville when our connecting flight left AFTER they shut the airport down.

Conference 2

They’re calling for snow later today, but currently, it feels pretty good to be back in Missouri!

Regardless of the weather, the Common Ground conference I attended was awesome! Apparently it doesn’t take much to impress this farm girl because I’m pretty sure I told someone how much I liked the light pendants every time we entered the lobby of our hotel.

Conference 1

And despite being my third trip to the Nation’s capital, this is my first White House selfie.

Conference 5

Another first was attending a conference at the Smithsonian National History Museum!  That was pretty amazing, except that we were so busy all day I didn’t get to look around anywhere near as much as I would have liked.  (We made a three day event fit into two so everyone could catch flights out before Jonas arrived!)

Conference 3

I’m most excited about all the great information I got from this conference.  I have SO MANY ideas to share with you here on the blog, plus more information about areas of farming I’m not directly involved in, like dairy and pig farming.

Conference 6

Ask me your toughest food questions– I’m ready to share the answers!


Categories: Agvocacy | 1 Comment

Super Secret Farm Conspiracy

Ever wondered what these signs mean?

Summer sights along the highway are Queen Anne’s Lace in bunches in the median, cows standing in groups in a pond, and random signs posted by fields.  Ever wonder what these signs mean?

Ever wondered what these signs mean?

I recently spoke with a fellow blogger who’d had a conversation with a gentleman that insisted these signs meant the fields were owned by the company whose name is printed on them.  He was very concerned that all the farmland in his area was owned by major corporations instead of family farms.

It’s time to stop believing everything you read on the Internet people.

Ever wondered what these signs mean?

Despite her reassurances this wasn’t the case, this man was very insistent it was all a “Big Ag” conspiracy.  She was just a poor, deluded farmer who didn’t understand how things work.

Well, I may be poor 😉 and I may even be deluded, but I actually have a deed that shows we own our land.  So unless that’s a government conspiracy by my county courthouse, I’m telling you, these signs mean no such thing.

And since the idea of conspiracy within the farm community boggles my mind (Really?  Farmers who disagree on the color of tractors have ALL come to the conclusion that we should keep massive secrets from the general public?  Really?) I’ve decided to have a little fun with this one.

Leave me a comment and tell me what the purpose of these signs are– funny, silly, realistic, whatever.

And then come back Wednesday to find out for sure!

Categories: Agvocacy, Farming | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

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

Do Conventional Farmers Use Environmentally Friendly Practices?

Today is Earth Day which seems like the perfect time to answer a question I hear a lot.  Do conventional farmers use environmentally friendly farming practices?

Many people equate “environmentally sustainable” with “organic.”  I’m sure this is largely true, but organic is more about how you grow the plants than how you take care of the land.

But I’d rather not get out the boxing gloves with organic.  Instead I want to answer the question; what do conventional farmers do to take care of the land?

Actually, they do a lot.


Here’s a photo I snapped of Daddy’s tractor planting corn.  You can see the green of our cover crop, which, sadly, was supposed to be wheat.  And while the failure of our second wheat crop is disappointing, the nice thing here is that you can see the fresh marks of the corn planter clearly in the green.

Many people think of organic farmers as being more environmentally friendly.  What about conventionally grown food?  {}

The red arrow shows the marks from where the planter has just put seeds.  The yellow arrow shows the odd shape of untouched wheat grass between the planter rows.

Why in the world would we do that?

Well, it’s environmentally friendly.  Our land is hilly, so to keep soil from washing into streams we use terraces to keep the soil where it belongs.  Terraces are an awkward shape and they cut an otherwise rectangular field into weird shapes as well.  Farmers have to plant and harvest on one side of the terrace at a time.  We start planting by tracing the outline of the field (end rows) and then we trace both sides of the terraces.  Finally we finish planting by filling in those blank spaces the yellow arrow points out.

Take a virtual tour of a modern tractor! {}

The use of technology is also a major part of being a good steward.  The GPS monitor shows us exactly where the tractor has planted and what little triangle somewhere as been forgotten.  The planter also uses a pretty impressive system that shuts off each row individually as it drives over ground that has already been planted.  That saves us lots of seed, as well as confusion when it’s time to harvest double planted ground.

Planting with terraces is a pain.  However, protecting streams and our water supply is important to us (we drink water too) and it’s beneficial because soil that washes away is our best top soil.  Those are two big reasons you’ll find conventional farmers practicing soil conservation!

Here are other posts that describe why it’s always Earth Day on a farm.

Farm Ugly! How farmers are taking care of the land. {}

1.) Farming Ugly!  Cover crops help prevent soil erosion, control weeds naturally, and enrich soil.

Farmers taking care of the land {}

2.) Terraces and no-till, best practices on our farm.

Another way farmers are taking care of the land. {}

3.) Another farmer planting hay on terraces and waterways.

If you’re a farmer, what other practices do you use?  If you’re not, what questions do you have?

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

Ag Leaders take on Washington D.C.!

And we’re back!  The trip to D.C. was amazing, exhausting, educational, memorable… and germ-y.  My plane touched down a week ago, but I’m just now recovering from all of it!

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

Me standing at the Lincoln Memorial looking over the mall.

I’ve got a million photos (okay, 324) of our trip, but I’ll try to just share the highlights.  There were only two or three each day. 😉

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

We started with a night tour of the Monuments; Jefferson Memorial

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

FDR Memorial- this is actually one of my favorite memorials because of all the quotes.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

World War II Memorial, which was also beautiful but hard to photograph as most of the lights were out.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

The Korean Memorial which reflects your image in the etching of the faces of the soldiers.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

And the Lincoln Memorial.   Our tour guide said one of the “myths” is that Lincoln is using American Sign Language to finger spell his initials because Lincoln signed the charter for the deaf college, Gallaudet.  This annoyed me to no end because that would be some of the worst signing ever, and the letters would be backwards, and just no.  It’s not.

But moving on…

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

It wasn’t all play and no work!  This is us meeting with a staffer in the House Committee on Agriculture.  We met with our state reps and their staff, and spent time with one of our Senators.

We also met Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States.  If you don’t know about their scams, check out  (Hint, they aren’t taking care of puppies.)  Wayne was a little late to our meeting because he was busy lying to Congress, but let me tell you, the guy could sell snow to an Eskimo.  It was an enlightening experience!

The guy on the far right is Congressman Jason Smith.  He took us on a night tour of the capitol (as in we finished a little before midnight!).  We couldn’t take our cameras in, but we got to go onto the Senate floor and see the signature in the desk of former President Harry Truman.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

We also saw Mount Vernon, and thanks to a favor from an ALOT alum we got to visit Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery during the off season.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

Usually we learn about Washington the General or President, but he referred to himself as a farmer, and he was a good one.  He used every resource he had, sold every by-product made, and had a farm bigger than most in the US today- 8,000 acres.  For comparison Marshall Farms rents, owns, and sharecrops a little more than half that amount and it supports two families.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

This is the round barn Washington invented to thresh wheat.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

And the cleanest manure compost I’ve ever seen.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

The trip ended with dinner in a tavern frequented by Washington and other founding fathers.

As fun as it was, I’m glad to be back– missed ya’ll! 😉

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

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