Irrigation pipe/finding a friend

Picking up irrigation pipe, you never know what you may find, at least not a skunk…yet.

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Wordless Wednesday/ride

Jamison telling grandpa, ride, ride.

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Wordless Wednesday/Art by God



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Summer of 2011 on the farm

I got reminded that I have not been doing very well at this blog so I thought I will just insert a few pictures of my summer to get everyone caught up.

Planting got started late but finished on time thanks to two weeks of good weather and running very long days.

Ridging corn for furrow irrigation was a job in June.

 

 

 

 

Putting out irrigation pipe, one of my least favorite jobs.

 

Starting irrigation

 

Problems irrigating

 

All to be rewarded with this

So we can feed the world.

 

And of course, we do take a littel time for R&R with friends like everyone else.

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Things we takes for granted, even tires, to put food on the table

I’ve been servicing center pivots the last two days.  While pumping up tires I got to thinking, how many tires are on our pivots? This is taking a long time.  Doing a little simple math I soon figured, around 260.  What? 260 tires on our pivots? That got me to thinking, how many tires does it take for us to farm?  Lets see, 20 on one semi, 18 on two others, three more trailers at 8 a piece, 8 on a couple of tractors, 6 on a couple more, 8 on the planter not counting the 48 that don’t hold air, 6 on combine plus I’m guessing well over a 100 more I don’t want to bore you with.  I’m going to say I could come up with a tire count over 500 very easy.  Bottom line, it’s the little things most, not even I always think about that bring food to the table.

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Water quality “priceless”

I recently took part in a water tour put on by Hastings, NE city utilities.  They took board members of the Little Blue NRD and the Upper Big Blue NRD to look at the pollution control  facility, lagoons, power plant, some of the city wells and a local feedyard.  We were also given many maps of known contaminated areas of our ground water and the direction these waters are moving.  We were informed of the projects in place to help clean up some of these problem areas.  Most of these contaminated areas were done by industries before we knew better .

One big problem that just started to show is a high nitrate issue from over application of nitrogen by farmers decades ago, again before we knew better.  It has taken some 50 years for this problem to show up and I expect it will take another 50 years of good faming practices for the problem to go away.  That leads to the question; what do we do while we are cleaning up this problem?

I have to give the city high marks in their efforts to solve the problem reasonably.  We know the problem is on the surface of the aquifer. So one of the things they are testing is a well to see if they can separate the high nitrates from the low. They put two pumps in the same hole using only the lower well for drinking water. The water from the upper part of the well could be used for irrigation water or other industrial uses if this test works out.

If low cost tests with reasonable approaches like this are not successful, water treatment plants will have to be put in place at a cost between $52 and $72 million.  Keep in mind this is a relatively small community with the water system serving between 25-30,000, depending on how far out they reach to help other smaller communities in the county with quality issues.

I find this as a very expensive solution but how can we ever put a price on clean water?  Now that we know better, let’s take care on our water. Clean water is “priceless”

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The anti-ag

It seems the ag industry can’t do anything right.  We either get too much gov’t help, too much from the market place, plant too many GMO crops, use too many pesticides, grow too much, create too much demand and I could go on and on.

With the complaints coming from so many directions, I’m thinking we may have things about right.  What could be any other reason for such a wide range of complaints directed at one very important industry? The producers of the safest, most abundant food supply in the world seem to keep taking the heat.

Why are so many complaining?  Is it fear? A movement? Jealousy? Anxiety from the world unrest? Maybe, all of the above?

One thing I noticed about many of the complainers is they don’t post a picture of themselves with the complaint they post.  That leads to more questions.  Are they ashamed of what they write? Is this group of anti-ag people really not that big and they are actually the same people posting over and over with different names?

We may never know or even care to know the answers to these questions but the thing I am proud of is the fact I am part of the agriculture community.  The same group that produces the safest, most abundant food in the world.  I am also proud to say most of us also put our face next to our word.  We take pride in telling the truth about our industry.

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Politics are like a bad marriage.

Over the last number of years I have been getting more and more irritated with our politicians.  It is the “I am always right and you are always wrong” or “you spent $ on that so I’m going to get this”  that is really getting under my skin.  This is the exact attitude that gets a marriage into BIG trouble.  What ever happened to listening and negotiating with the other side for a good middle of the road solution that benefits everyone?  I’m not talking about the lowering of taxes and spending more money solution that Washington came up with in December either.  That was a “how can I buy votes” bill the way I see it.  How can a country with such financial problems seriously think it is a good thing to keep adding to and putting off “real” solutions to “real” problems.  Don’t get me wrong, I will benefit greatly from this latest tax bill short term but long term I’m sure we will all pay greatly down the road.

So, how do we fix this?  I don’t have any great solutions anymore. Eight years ago I thought I knew how to fix it but the administration went in the opposite direction and now we have a big mess with tensions really high.  The new administration is only acting like the old and adding to the problem at an accelerating rate.  When tensions get this high in a marriage it almost always ends in divorce.  How do we file for divorce in congress?  Sadly we may find out if things don’t change soon.  Wisconsin may be the leader to watch how it is done.

The attitude is what will have to change now before any solutions can happen.  Politicians will have to establish the attitude of looking at the big picture,(marriage) working with the other side (partner) to relieve tensions and then work on the problems. (house mortgage is defaulting) We will never solve anything with the me, me, me attitude…marriage or politics.

 

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My take on “organic” food

The last couple of days I have watched on the news how “organic” food is being projected by some as being the fix to all of our health problems.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against organic food but I think this way of thinking is a little exaggerated.

Fact of the matter is we have the safest food of all time in this country right now, organic or not.  We also enjoy the fact we have a very plentiful supply at a very reasonable price when looking at percentage of disposable income we spend on food.  I do question whether farmers could keep up with the growing demand for food if we would all convert back to raising food organically as they did almost a century ago.  Technological has helped organic farmers increase production over what our grandfathers could raise but it is still very difficult for organic production to keep up with standard production practices today.

Will organic food help solve our health problems?  I don’t have a scientific answer for that, I don’t think anyone does.  I do know some organic foods can be better for us just as I do know some organic foods are not as safe for us to eat because they are not tested or processed in a way to make sure of there safety.  Looking at it this way I think we will solve some problems while creating other problems with organics.

I guess I didn’t really give much for guidance but the thing I wanted everyone to come away with here is the fact we have a choice of two plentiful types of food and I am very grateful for that. You should decide yourself when you buy, which safe type of food is the best for you.  The markets will then tell us farmers what to produce.  The system does work.

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Extended Warranties

I am not a big fan of extended warranties, always turn them down when ask if I would like to purchase them and now I have good reason.  Kathy and I traded campers two days before or yearly trip to South Padre.  The camper we purchased came with a short term extended warranty as part of the deal from the dealer. (yes I was ask if I wanted to purchase a longer one)  After we got to Texas I notice the refrigerator is not working so I make some phone calls and a VERY accommodating dealer (United RV Center in Fort Worth)  has a new one and can put it in right away for us.  They explained I may have to pay the difference between the complete refrigerator and the cooling unit, which was the problem, as the warranty would not cover a new fridge. I accepted the $200 difference and started the process.  The dealer called the warranty company and to make a long story short the warranty company would not pay for a new cooling unit either.  They found some oddball reman cooling unit to put in for $400 less than a new one.  The part would take three weeks to get, I need it NOW!  This leaves me with no other option than to put in the new refrigerator for a difference of now $600 plus $100 deductible.  The short term complimentary warranty the dealer gave me did save me a $1000 but I am darn glad I did not purchase the longer version.  Bottom line, the law of averages will come out in your favor if you don’t purchase the extended warranty.  Even if you need the extended warranty like I did, they will not pay like they should.

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