Filed under: Farm, Farm Bureau, food, food safety, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics, travel | Tags: farm, Farm Bureau, Food, food safety, Minnesota, politics, travel
Part of March was spent in the halls of politics for me.The 8th of March my bride and I went to D.C. to visit our daughter who is in grad school and see what life is like for her this year. (http://minnesotafarm.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/into-another-land/)
While there the rest of the Minnesota Farm Bureau delegation arrived. We got a chance to visit with American Farm Bureau President Stallman and see D.C. from his 10th floor office.There were 20 of us from Minnesota and we usually split into two groups to visit with congressional members and all 20 of us in a senate office.
The week we were there was the time that Obama was pushing congress and the senate to do something about the budget. That meant that our pre-arrainged times could be changed if the president decided to visit. We were lucky to get to the offices of 7 of the 8 representatives from Minnesota. We presented out requests, tried to add in a few personal stories, and left hoping they would get something done.
Until the “Sequester” is figured out there is really going to be nothing that can be done in Washington. One of our concerns was in the meat packing industry. Because of lack of funds, meat inspectors were going to have their work weeks shortened. This could mean a lack of inspection and possible problems for our food supply. That issue seems to have been taken care of, but the concerns about paying for government services are still there.
I was only back a few days and I was off to St. Paul for our Ag Week visit to our Minnesota legislators.
Farm Bureau members from several areas of the state were in town to express our concerns about future legislation. These visits rarely do much more than help out representatives put a face on a name. It will be our future contacts on behalf of upcoming bills that will really have an impact. I always enjoy the visits and the chance to be brought up to speed on what is happening in politics. I hope to see you someday on one of my visits.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Biofuels, ethanol, Farm, farm animals, Farm Bureau, food, food safety, genetic modification, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics, travel | Tags: Agriculture education, biofuels, ethanol, farm, Farm Bureau, farm bureau members, Food, food safety, government, Minnesota, minnesota farm bureau federation, politics, travel
Filed under: cars, church, Farm Bureau, Politicians, travel | Tags: cars, D.C., Farm Bureau, machines, politics, POTUS, presidential motorcade, travel, washington national cathedral
Whenever you visit Washington D.C. you hope for a sighting of the President. Needless to say very few do catch sight of him without a planned event invitation. Our Farm Bureau members could not get that far. I’ve heard stories of close and unplanned sightings of presidents of the past. There are those who saw a president several years ago at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, popularly known as Washington National Cathedral. Or story of the jogger who would see a former president out for an early morning round on the National Mall, and found himself face down in the grass when he reached for a camera. Most people in D.C. will never get close enough to be sure he is even there. Our encounter was not even close, but we know he was there.
During our week in D.C. President Obama was actively out visiting with senators and representatives to get something going on a budget and get the “sequester” settled. That meant a presidential motorcade. We were walking back to our hotel after one of our meetings one afternoon when we noticed that the street was strangely bare of all but police cars. No one was even being allowed to cross the street on foot. Thencame several motorcycle cops, a whole string of black limos and some black suburbans, what looked like a armored Hummer, an ambulance and then more police, and it was over.
There were some squealing girls across the street who thought they saw Obama through the car window, but I never saw him. Security was impressive, those folks know what they are doing. It’s no wonder that it is cheaper for the president to fly in a helicopter than drive.
So, no visit with the POTUS, just a few pictures of the motorcade driving by.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, Politicians, Politics | Tags: Agriculture education, Farm Bureau, farm bureau federation, farm bureau members, Minnesota, minnesota department of natural resources, minnesota farm bureau, minnesota farm bureau federation, minnesota pollution control, politicians, politics
It’s been a long week. But one of the most interesting days I had this week was spent in St.Paul at the Farm Bureau Council of County Presidents meeting.
Each year the Minnesota farm Bureau’s county presidents get together to find out what is going on in our state and national politics. We have people from many different state, and if we can get them, federal organizations come in and brief us on the things happening in their area. It is a chance to get to know each other and to find out about issues we will be dealing with. Below is a picture of myself with some area Farm Bureau members as we greet our State Senator Bill Weber.The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) recently held the Minnesota Farm Bureau Council of County Presidents meeting on February 5 at the University Club in St. Paul with 120 Farm Bureau leaders, elected and appointed officials in attendance. County Farm Bureau presidents heard from state legislators, as well as Minnesota Agriculture Water Resources Center Executive Director Warren Formo, Minnesota Board of Animal Health Executive Director Dr. Bill Hartman, Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Douglas Knowlton, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner John Stine, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Dave Schad, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Policy and Government Relations Director Bob Meier and Minnesota Department of Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Jim Boerboom. Pictured left to right are Dave Van Loh-Minnesota Farm Bureau District III director, Kevin Bock-Redwood County Farm Bureau vice president, Mike Wojahn-Cottonwood County Farm Bureau president, Senator Bill Weber (R-Luverne), Susan Hansberger-Nobles County Farm Bureau, Tim Hansberger-Nobles County Farm Bureau president and Rachel Daberkow-Jackson County Farm Bureau president.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Biofuels, ethanol, Farm, Farm Bureau, science | Tags: Agriculture education, car, cars, compressed natural gas, diesel, diesel fuel, ethanol, ethanol producers, farm, Farm Bureau, gas, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, machines, transportation
One of the sessions I attended at the AFBF meeting in Nashville was a General Motors seminar on the future of motor vehicles. Since they were talking to a farm audience they mostly talked about light trucks, but automotive and heavy truck technology was also touched on. One of the items that they made plain was that the gasoline technology was not going away just yet, but they were gearing up for the future.
The biggest driver in the future of motoring was the higher mpg demands of both the public and government in this era if higher fuel prices. The problem with most of the new technologies is getting the fueling stations out for use. Although Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) are available for larger fleets where they can come to a base station every night, long distance motoring is still going to require a liquid motor fuel. The same is true of hydrogen and electric vehicles, we know how to make them, we just cannot keep them on the road once they get away from fast refueling connections. To bridge the gap until we get refueling stations set up for these fuels we are still going to have to rely on liquid fuels like diesel, gasoline and ethanol.
Despite where you stand on ethanol, the automotive industry is planning on using greater amounts of it in fuels for the foreseeable future. If they are to meet the government mpg guidelines they have no choice. Understandably the growers of ethanol feedstocks are all in favor of this increase.
While today we in agriculture are fighting a battle to keep E-15 approval, automotive manufacturers are gearing up for E-30. They are telling the ethanol producers that it will happen. Automobile manufacturers need the higher octane that ethanol gives to produce the higher performance engines of the future.
I don’t expect Big Oil to give up this battle without a fight. They want to keep us dependent on gasoline and diesel for as long as possible. They are already breaking down the gunkier oils that they used to throw away to meet demand. This costs more money, money they are getting from government subsidies and from us in higher prices. In the mean time, automotive manufacturers are planning for a future that uses less gasoline. They can already see a future of less oil usage, and it is something that I have waited for for a long time.
Filed under: Ag education, Corn, Farm, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, rain, snow, Soybeans, travel, weather, winter | Tags: Agriculture education, climate, Corn, drought, farm, Farm Bureau, Minnesota, Nashville, rain, snow, Soybeans, travel, weather, winter
The 2013 American Farm Bureau meeting in Nashville allowed me to make a drive across the corn belt from my home in southwestern Minnesota. Of interest to me, as to most farmers were the conditions along the way, specifically water conditions.
In our area we are still in the grips of a drought. We have had very little moisture since June of 2012. Although our surface soil has some moisture, our subsoil is dry. This is really evident in our rivers, creeks and lakes. The Des Moines River, which is only a few miles from my home, is a mere trickle in its bed, creeks are mostly dry and lake levels are low. It was these items that I looked for as I drove to and from Nashville.
When we left home on January 10 the conditions were looking up. We have had several inches of snow, dry snow, but snow, over the last few months, and there was rain in the air. The hoped for rain only amounted to 4 hundredths of an inch, not enough to make a difference and snow has also been absent this month. As we drove south across Iowa, the story was the same. Little snow, low lakes and rivers.
Conditions improved a bit as we crossed the northeastern corner of Missouri. There was evidence of a bit of rain, and the rivers seemed to be running a bit better than further north. As we moved southeast the evidence of rain increased and there were even some places in Kentucky and Tennessee where water was standing in the fields. Rivers in these areas were running bank full, a fact which bodes well for the early part of the cropping season for them. It has also helped out barge traffic on the lower part of the Mississippi.
We arrived in Nashville to some really nice weather, temperatures in the 60′s and 70′s and sunshine. After those first two days the weather changed. Our last days in Nashville were cold and rainy. Mornings were icy, and temperatures rarely got over the mid 30′s, not good sight-seeing weather. During our stay they received about six inches of rain.
The entire Ohio river valley has been getting a good soaking this winter, but folks further north are not quite so fortunate. I would say that unless conditions change soon Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas are in for another dry year. This will not be good news for those who want to buy corn and soybeans in the coming months.
End users of the crops raised in the corn belt need rain to reduce the price of corn and soybeans. We are bleeding demand with each month that the prices stay high. The coming months are going to be very interesting for all of us in the midwest and plains states.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, Farm Bureau, friends, Music, travel | Tags: AFBF, Agriculture education, american farm bureau federation, farm, Farm Bureau, friends, meeting, Nashville, Opryland Hotel, travel
We made the trip to Nashville for this years Annual Meeting. Since my sister lives just south of the city it was a dual event. Our weather started out really nice, and then went cold and rainy. Wish we could have brought some of that rain home.
Site of the meeting was the Opryland Hotel. It’s a huge place with 2881 rooms and 15 restaurants on 6 floors. Because of continued expansion and no understandable structural layout the hotel is bit confusing. Each hotel area has a central garden area that is really stunning, with each different in many ways. The attached convention area was also a bit confusing so keeping a map within reach was really helpful if you were going someplace new. They said we had almost every room in the place booked for Farm Bureau members.
Sunday morning started out for us with a Minnesota breakfast at 7:30 gathering. It was a place to get to see most of the folks who made the trip from Minnesota. It was also a chance for President Paap and his staff to give us our tasks for the event. Since I’m not known to be shy, I was assigned 4 radio stations to call back in Minnesota at specific times.
After breakfast we gathered for the opening session. Along with many awards and introductions of important people we all needed to know, we had an address from AFBF President Bob Stallman. Bob talked about the challenges and triumphs of the past year. Included in those challenges was the lack of a Farm Bill in the U.S. congress. This lack of a farm bill leaves a lot of uncertainty for all involved in agriculture. He also addressed some disturbing government regulations that we were able to stop. These included a regulation that would have prevented farm folks from employing their children on the farm, and threatened regulations on a small chicken producer that would have forced them to get a pollution discharge permit when nothing was being discharged.
We also got to spend some time at the trade show where they had displays from each state showing what they were doing to promote agriculture, as well as displays from several agricultural companies. We had our choice of seminars put on by companies and the Farm Bureau. I got to meet some old friends and make some new ones along the way. The evening was free to spend as we wished.
Monday included more seminars and demonstrations in both the morning and the afternoon. At noon I joined other county presidents for a luncheon and a speaker. Our closing session started at 3 in the afternoon and included more awards and contest winners. We also heard from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who spoke of the optimism he has for the future of agriculture. The real highlight of the day was Keynote Speaker Captain Mark Kelly. He had a great story to tell.That was the end of the sessions for the general public. Tuesday brought the delegate session and regional caucuses, wednesday was the AFBF Board of Directors meeting, none of which I attended.
With the rainy and cold weather, the rest of our time was mainly spent indoors checking out area attractions including one night spent in a country music bar, we just had to check out Vince Gill and It was a fun and restful trip, but it is good to be back home.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, farm animals, Farm Bureau, food, weather | Tags: Agriculture education, Breakfast on the Farm, children, family, farm, Farm Bureau, Food, princess kay of the milky way, weather
What can I say, Cottonwood County’s 2012 Breakfast on the Farm was a success. When you plan for 200 to 250 people and serve over 300, you know something went right. We stressed over having to get more supplies, but were happy to get them.The weather was perfect as temperatures and humidity dropped making for a comfortable morning. Our host family, Dean, Elizabeth, April, Chelsea, Jacob and Ethan Johnson could not have been better. There was a chance to see history as the Butter Heads of the only sisters to make finals of Princess Kay of the Milky Way in the same year were on display.
One of biggest draws was the milking demonstration. Some of the younger children got right in close to see this contented cow be milked.
The FFA and 4-H had activities for the kids including a cow pie eating contest where contestants had to find candy corn in chocolate pudding using only their face. The first one to find all five was declared the winner. Sorry, I missed the pie in the face picture, but I did get a picture of the cleanup.
One guest commented that very time he had driven by the farm, he had wanted to stop in to see what happened there. Today he got to see. It was obvious that many others wanted to see the Johnson dairy.
We had lots of help with event. Although the lead organization was the Cottonwood County Farm Bureau, the event also had the Cottonwood County Dairy Association, the Cottonwood County Beef Producers, the Cottonwood County Corn and Soybean Growers and the Windom Chamber of Commerce as co-hosts. It was a team event.
To the Johnson family, a big thank you for all you did. You made this event a success. Perhaps we’ll get to do it again some year.
Filed under: family, Farm, Farm Bureau, Fishing, food, friends, summer, Trees, weather, wind | Tags: children, farm, Farm Bureau, Food, hot, machines, record heat, summer, trees, weather, wind
It has been a hot week and I will be glad to see it go. I seem to be having troubles for the last week or so, one after another.
Last Thursday I called the doctor that was to do my knee surgery to get details. They said, “Oh, No, you are not scheduled for a week.” I said “I have an appointment card that says surgery tomorrow.”, and “Next Friday will not work.” Some how we got the surgery done. The knee is feeling much better now, Thank you.
We go to the cabin so I can recuperate without having any extra duties, spend time with my leg up, take it easy. No water in the cabin! I have to crawl into the basement and prime the pump so we can have water to clean up and cool off.
It’s hot, record-breaking hot,but I cannot go into the water too cool off due to my surgery. Lucky for me the crappies are biting just off the dock. I can at least sit in the sun and fish, and sweat!
A storm comes through and takes down some trees and takes out the electricity. Spend some time helping with the clean up. No fans, no air moving, it’s hard to sleep. The only running water we have is when someone goes down to the lake to carry it back in buckets. With no fridge and food spoiling, we come home early. Oh yeah, the fridge died when the power went out.
We stop at my aunt and uncles on the trip home for a bit. The electricity goes out at their house!
A message comes up on my phone as we near home. One of the items we need to serve for Breakfast on the Farm is not available, could you call back, like, two days ago. With some scrambling, and help from others putting on the event, we are a go.
Today, Friday, I go to open my shop door and nothing happens, motor is out. Looks like I need to do some repair there, and there are no parts available until Monday.
There have been a number of little things that have gone wrong this week, and the record heat and humidity are not helping us get things done. I just want to crawl into bed and stay there. Then, however, I would not get to see my granddaughters,
I would not have the feeling of a job done well, I would not have people looking at me and saying, “Wow, how did you get all of that done.”
So, I guess I’ll just keep on going. We have a big event planned for tomorrow, and thanks to all of those who are helping me, we are going to have a good time. Come on over and help fill the tent. We’ll be waiting for you!
Here’s to keeping going when everything seems to be going wrong!
Filed under: family, Farm, Farm Bureau | Tags: Agriculture education, farm, Farm Bureau
Life has been busy here on the farm. The crops are growing like crazy and the weeds are growing even faster. The rains really strung out the planting season right into the weed control and fertilizing times, we never did get to rock picking. We baled a little hay, and hauled the last of thee 2011 crop into town in there somewhere also. There were windy days and wet days, and days when work went from can see to can’t see. Throw in a funeral and a wedding in Colorado about a month apart, a little knee surgery with all of the doctor appointments and you have little time to yourself. There are so many things going on to keep me going, why would I want another job? Well, I’ve got one.
Saturday, July 7 our local Farm Bureau will be hosting Breakfast on the Farm at Dean and Elizabeth Johnson’s farm. This is a big event that should bring lots of folks out to see how a dairy farm works. The problem is that it takes a lot of work by a lot of people, and as chairman of the county Farm Bureau, I’m one of them.
There are details to be taken care of, jobs to portion out to other workers, donations to be asked for and meetings to attend to make sure that all of the details are taken care of. Yep, I’m one of those people doing things that others think just happen.
So come join us for Breakfast on the Farm to make all of our work worthwhile. We’ve been doing it all for you.