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80 Years in Agriculture – Two Brothers Spill the Dirt


I recently sat down for an interview on the front porch of my parents’ farmhouse just south of the Mason Dixon line, near Elkton, Maryland, with my father, Phil Johnson, 80, and his brother Doug, 83, to talk about the changes in agriculture over their lifetimes.

Phil owns Walnut Springs Fruit Farm and Doug is retired from the dairy equipment business.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen with farming in your lifetime?

Doug: There has been a phenomenal amount of conservation changes. Between here and the pond, there used to be a washout you could hide a tractor in. It was a good 10 feet deep.

Phil: That gully was the original road from the late 1800s. It went up over the hill toward Oxford. In 1917, every acre on this farm was plowed up. That’s how all the gullies got here. We got them all filled in and contoured.

I first learned about conservation when I won a trip to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1955 as the 4-H conservationist of the year for Maryland. Part of the trip out there was to show us how the Loess soils of northwest Iowa were erodible. They took us out on a farm and showed us a 30-foot-deep gully where the soil was the same at the top as it was at the bottom. You very quickly learned that there is a value in retaining your soil. That area of Iowa is all windblown soil. It was quite eye-opening.

When I started farming, there wasn’t too much concern about conservation, but I knew the problems with the soil on this farm. I made it a point the first year or two to work on all the waterways. Herb Ewing, the conservationist in Elkton, worked with me to figure out how I could save the soil. I had decided to go into strawberries commercially, and I think we did a pretty good job of laying out the terraces and waterways. We haven’t had to change much over the years.

Is conservation especially important because you farm in the Chesapeake Bay watershed?

Phil: This area is in the biggest estuary in the U.S. The Chesapeake Bay drains more ground than any other area in this country. We learned a good lesson in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes came through. We lost the crab population, the eels, the shad. We saw right quick what can happen if you don’t have certain conservation practices. Most of those animals lived on or in eelgrass, a very fine grass that grows in shallow water and requires sunlight. We used to go hunting and fishing on the Elk River where the eelgrass was so thick that you couldn’t run an outboard through it unless you took a scythe to cut it off so you had a path. After Agnes, the eelgrass got completely covered up with silt. That’s what killed the crabs and all the other seafood. It’s been many, many years getting back to the point where the flats of the Chesapeake Bay are now covered with eelgrass.

We have to help clean it up. Even though it’s a hassle to file all the papers for nutrient management, it is necessary. We won’t be able to 100% correct all the problems until Pennsylvania and New York go along with it. As long as they are not doing their share, we will still have nutrient-management problems coming down the Susquehanna River.

You both grew up on a turkey farm near Nottingham, Pennsylvania. What was that like?

Doug: In the 1940s, the turkeys were in fenced-in outdoor lots. We had a brooder house for starting baby turkeys.

Phil: When our friend Lou Neyman was in high school, he was supposed to watch the turkeys in the lot. A neighbor called his mother and said an awful bunch of noise was coming from the pen and asked if Lou was over there. He had fallen asleep in one of the little portable buildings. The dogs had gotten into the turkeys.

We marketed the turkeys direct to customers on the farm. Dad built a processing room and walk-in freezer that was state of the art in 1950. (Their father, Warren Johnson, shown below center with President Truman, was president of the National Turkey Federation in 1950.)

Warren Johnson turkey

Why didn’t you raise turkeys with your dad after college?

Doug: The farm couldn’t take much more participation by that time.

Phil: Dad made most of his money in the turkey business in the 10 years after World War II. After that, it took volumes and volumes of turkeys and you sold them to a processing plant. Dad always wanted to sell everything direct to the consumer. By 1953, the profits were less.

For one thing, we lost the feather market. Feathers were used in millinery products (hats) for women. They were very marketable and, in the 1940s, were high dollar. The feather merchants out of New York City would fight to see who got down here to get the bagged feathers we had for them. We hand-pulled the feathers. They were nice and fluffy.

Besides the turkeys, what else do you remember about the farm?

Doug: Everyone helped bale hay. We backed the stationary baler in the barn, turned the tractor around, and hooked it up to a belt that powered the baler. Four men worked at that job. Every bale that came out of the back was weighed, and a small wooden tag was slipped under the wire with the weight. They weighed from 120 to 130 pounds each and were tied with three wires.

Phil: We filled the 12x40-foot Marietta silo around Memorial Day with grass. We had a Papec engine-driven direct chopper with a cutter head. We never windrowed anything, just direct-cut it. The self-unloading wagons had a false end gate. There was a drum with cables on it that pulled the front of the wagon back, and a blower to blow it in the silo. We forked it out in the wintertime for the cows along with the hay. Dad bought a herd of Angus cattle in 1950. It was something to keep the hired help busy when they weren’t working with the turkeys. Doug and I both had Angus steers from Dad’s herd in 4-H club. 

When I started renting this farm from him, it was 100 acres tillable. It was half alfalfa and half corn. We picked the corn and put in the double crib with a self-propelled Massey picker. In the wintertime, we shelled all that ear corn with a John Deere sheller, shoveling it out into the sheller.

Dad was always a firm believer in feeding free-choice shelled corn and oats. He bought the oats in 100-pound bags. They were western oats, good heavy, clean oats. When he built the restaurant (, Fenwick Island, Delaware), he left Niven (farm employee) and me here to take care of the turkeys. The first thing we did was put a wooden feed bin in the feed room where we stored all the bagged feed. We bought a complete ration from Eastern States and eliminated the corn and oats. After that, it was always a complete ration that we fed with a pull-type feed cart with an auger on the back.

Doug: Dad’s first tractor was a Fordson with dual wheels, but it was a horrible thing to operate, so he still used mules. He got an F20 in 1938 and that is when the mules went.

Doug, why did you end up working in the dairy industry?

Doug: Starting at age 11, I went to the Burt’s and milked their cows each evening except Sunday. They had 10 Jerseys. That was for $2.50 a week. I did that until I was 14 and then I did the same for the Barretts on their Holstein farm. They also had 10 cows. I operating the milking machines.

After college, I was working for the farm co-op Grange League Federation, which later became Agway. They had taken on a milking machine line to sell. I was the only one dumb enough to say that I had milked a cow. In that whole organization, I know some of those other guys had milked a cow, too. That was in 1958. I became the milking machine man and physically put the machines in the back of the truck and sold them to the people who still were hand milking. You might have thought you turned the light switch on when you let those guys get an extra bit of time.

Two years later, a competing company approached me to be an independent agent for them. I moved to western New York, the best place in the dairy industry as far as efficiency. We had snowdrifts 18 feet high and they pushed through those snowdrifts to market the milk. Milk tanks were small, and bulk milk was being handled by a straight truck, not a trailer, that came to the farm every other day and picked up the milk.

A few years later, I got tired of snow and moved to Florida. The efficiency of dairy farms in Florida compared to New York was absolutely horrible because they were getting paid so much for their milk. They didn’t have to be good. When it came to milking cows, they always had hired help. In Florida, 400 cows produced the same amount of milk as 100 cows in New York, and yet they had four times as much equipment.

I should mention a unique area in the dairy industry called Lower Marion, which was everything within 80 miles of Philadelphia. They had their own milk inspector and were paid $6/cwt for milk when New York farmers were paid $3.80/cwt. The New York dairy farmers were phenomenally more productive per unit. I always admired them for their efficiency in a tough market. There was another market around Washington D.C. that also had a special situation, but it wasn’t as lopsided. There was a farmer revolt in 1970 that led to the downfall of the Lower Marion hierarchy. It was good for the whole dairy industry because the area became much more efficient.

What lessons did you learn in the ag equipment business?

Doug: I remember going to a conference where the speaker said, “Price for the value received for the end product, not the cost to make it. If you are marketing a product for $1.05 and it costs you $1.00 to build it, you better change your thinking.” That was significant to me.

I didn’t care what name the equipment had, as long as it made money. Some sold much better than others, but we learned from those that weren't good. Everything we sold was along the needs of a dairyman: manure pumps, liquid manure equipment, portable feeding equipment, and milking machines. Not all of them were winners and some were big losers, but in the process, we learned what worked and what didn’t work.

We sold bedding choppers like they were going out of style for three years and all of a sudden the market stopped. I couldn’t understand why. Later, I realized that everybody who wanted one had one. I had already sold it to them. There was no more market for that particular product. So we got another product and another product.

We were always dealing with the progressive customers; we weren’t dealing with the poorest customers. It was easier for me to move to selling in another area if I had saturated one area. We often got into things not by design, but by accident.

Not very many names have survived in farm equipment. John Deere is about the only one that has survived in its same parentage. John Deere created customer loyalty unexcelled. Nobody else has been able to do that.

I have a nephew and a grandson selling dairy equipment today.

Dad, why did you get in the pig business for 40 years?

Phil Johnson pigs

Phil: Mum (Jane Johnson) always had pigs for spending money. Dad had her on an allowance to buy food and so on, but she always kept a few pigs for spending money. Down by the garden she had a shed for the pigs. With the pig money and various other projects, she was eventually able to buy a cottage at Fenwick Island.

When I was in the 10th grade, I bought a Hampshire sow, bred her, and farrowed out a litter.

Why did you decide to grow pick-your-own strawberries?

Phil: The first year after we bought this farm we grew tomatoes. That was before I expanded the hog operation. When you have mortgages to pay, you have to be proactive.

The first year I had the strawberries, I had to steal my customers from somebody else. We had 4 acres, and I did a pretty good job of taking care of them. The biggest difference between our fields and other farms was we kept the weeds out of them. One woman also pointed out that we didn’t have snakes. We assigned rows. When people came and saw how we were running it, they came back even though we were charging almost 50% more than other farms. We soon learned that price was not always the factor in why people come to pick.

How has the rural infrastructure changed here?

Phil: Growing up, the only paved road around here went by old man Duncan’s house, because he was a county commission. Each county commissioner got a certain amount of money for roads, and he spent all that money to pave from Nellie’s Corner to the Pennsylvania line in 1928.

When we were going to school, Blue Ball Road was dirt. The road to Leeds was dirt. I remember Mum getting stuck with the 1936 Ford in the middle of the road going to a church service at Leeds. Pennsylvania had township roads as well as state roads. Elk township was the poorest in our county, so not much was done with our roads. Maryland had county roads and state roads, and they were quicker to fix and pave here than in Pennsylvania.

The Amish have moved down into Maryland now. What do you think about that?

Phil: When we were growing up, the Amish weren’t around here whatsoever. It was an oddity. If you saw an Amish buggy, you really looked at it. That changed with the price of land. When southern Lancaster County got up to the $15,000- to $20,000-per-acre price, the Amish decided it was time to move somewhere else. They started buying up farms down here at $10,000 an acre, which we thought was one heck of a price, but now that’s the given price.

Any of the Amish who come into Maryland right quick realize that they have to have considerable investment in liquid manure tanks in order to meet our code; in Pennsylvania they are not concerned about that. They are very quick to adapt. If you sell hay to them, they will send their nutritionist to check the crop while it is still growing in the field. They are watching all the minute little details so they can pay for those $10,000-per-acre farms.

Over Half Of U.S. Farms Lose Money, USDA Study Shows


U.S. farmers that are losing money are not alone, according to data collected by the USDA released Wednesday.

The study analyzed data from 2015. Over half of U.S. farm households report losses from their farm businesses each year, the USDA’s Economic Research Service reported in a press release.

There is a caveat. Because net farm income isn’t the total contributor to the financial well-being of farm families, tax-loss benefits and asset appreciation pushes the share of households with positive annual farm returns rises from 43 to 70 percent, according to the release.

“Of the roughly 2 million U.S. farm households, slightly more than half report negative income from their farming operations each year. The proportion incurring farm losses is higher for house- holds operating smaller farms, where most or all of their income is typically derived from off-farm activities,” the ERS release stated. “However, many of these farm households do earn positive farm income in certain years; also, measures of farm income alone may understate the full economic value of owning the farm,” ERS release stated.

ERS stated that 'this report includes the returns that farmers—as small business owners and landholders—receive from tax law and land ownership.'
Here is what the ERS study discovered:

  • In 2015, the year analyzed in this study, farm households earned an average of $119,880. Average income for households operating residence farms (farms with less than $350,000 in gross cash farm income and where the principal operator has a nonfarm primary occupation) was $114,703. The average income for households operating intermediate farms (less than $350,000 in gross cash farm income and where the principal operator’s primary occupation is farming) was $70,338. And the average income for households with commercial farms ($350,000 or more gross cash farm income, regardless of the principal operator’s occupation) was $332,731.
  • While 82 percent of households operating commercial farms had positive income from their farming business, only one-third of residence farm households and slightly less than half of intermediate farm households earned money from their farming operation in 2015.
  • While the composition of farm household income varies by the size and type of farm, on average, farm households earned between $64,120 (intermediate farm households) and $115,337 (residential farm households) from off-farm sources in 2015.
  • Between 2003 and 2015, the value of total farm and nonfarm assets held by farm households increased by 40 to 57 percent. In 2015, the average farm household owned approximately $1 million in farm assets in addition to nearly $600,000 in nonfarm assets.
  • Many farms are labor-intensive, with considerable unpaid household labor put toward the farm operation. “Operator labor and management income,” or OLMI, is an alternative net income measure that accounts for the “opportunity costs” of unpaid labor and capital spent in farming, rather than in other pursuits. Once net farm income is adjusted for opportunity costs, it falls by an average of 52 percent across all family farms. Commercial farms had the highest average OLMI, while intermediate and residence farms had negative average OLMI. Returns were higher for experienced operators (more than 10 years of experience) than for beginning operators (10 or fewer years), even after controlling for assets.
  • Between 1990 and 2015, average farm real estate values increased every year except one at an average nominal rate of approximately 6 percent. Households owning commercial farms experienced average asset appreciation of an estimated $74,406 in 2015.
  • Farm households are able to offset their off-farm income with farm losses, thus reducing their taxable income. When tax-loss benefits and appreciation in farm real estate values are considered, average annual farm economic returns increased from an estimated $232,780 to $308,084 for commercial farm households in 2015, largely driven by asset appreciation. In addition, the share of farm households with positive returns from their farm operation increased from 43 percent to about 70 percent of all farms.

The ERS released stated that this study is based primarily on data from the 2015 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), a cross-sectional sample of U.S. farm operations.

“Conducted annually by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Economic Research Service (ERS), the survey is representative of the 2 million farms and farm households in the 48 contiguous States. The tax analysis comes from a model developed by ERS that uses applicable 2015 Federal tax provisions and 2015 ARMS data to estimate Federal income, Social Security, and self-employment taxes,” the ERS stated.

Industry Reacts to Announcement of $12 Billion for Agriculture to Offset Trade War


Almost immediately after the Trump administration announced a plan to spend up to $12 billion to offset the impact of the ongoing tariff war with China, members of the agriculture industry took to social media to express their reactions.

A number of companies and organizations released formal statements, while farmers shared questions and concerns. Leaders of grower groups spoke out. Elected officials weighed in. Twitter polls and lively discussion threads circulated widely among producers.

Ag Organizations React


Agribusinesses React


Farmers React


Elected Officials React


For more information about the $12 billion plan:

Administration Earmarks up to $12 Billion for Agriculture to Offset Trade War

USDA’s $12 Billion Farmer Relief Package

U.S. Authorizes $12 Billion in Farm Aid

Successful Farming has covered trade negotiations extensively. See more:

Trump Threatens Tariffs on $500 Billion of Chinese Imports

'Hi I'm a Soybean': In Trade War, China Deploys Cartoon Legume to Reach U.S. Farmers

'It's Really Up to China,' Says Perdue in Assessing Course of Trade War

Hometown USA: Langford, South Dakota


A scene from the Baltimore-based 1990s television drama Homicide: Life on the Street opens with a bird’s-eye shot of one its detectives. Frank Pembleton, readying himself to report back to his homicide unit after a stint elsewhere, peers upward at the police station’s doorway with a wide-eyed look of anticipation and angst.

I thought of Pembleton last May as I eyed the entrance of the Langford Area School in Langford, South Dakota. Nearly 40 years had passed since I graduated from my hometown’s school. Sometimes, it feels like 400 years. Other times, it seems like four years, or even four months – or four days.

Fortunately, any angst I had before entering melted when I thought of Mr. Wattier, the school’s superintendent from 1964 to 2000. I swear I could hear his cheerful whistle echo in the doorway, challenging me to a game of H-O-R-S-E. (That was just my imagination, not his ghost. For more about a real school ghost, read on!)

I visited Langford as part of our July Hometown USA cover story. Recent media reports of farm consolidation, drug abuse, and limited economic opportunities paint a sketchy picture of rural America.

There’s some of that in my home area, of course. Still, there are many positive factors I found occurring that aren’t initially apparent.

Farm Consolidation

Driving around my old neighborhood west of Langford, the reality of farm consolidation hits hard. The farmsteads within a 1-mile radius of my family’s farm – Gilbert and Leone Bistodeau, Herbert and Arlene Foote, George and Edith Hanson, and Joe and Annie Tunheim—are vacant or gone.

Bruce and Jean Likness
My old neighborhood fits Bruce Likness’s description of growing up in Langford in the 1950s and starting to work in his family’s farm implement business in the 1960s.  

“If somebody had four or five quarters back then, they were a pretty good-size farm,” says Likness, who with his wife, Jean, is a lifelong Langford resident. “There were a lot of one- or two-quarter farms that had chickens, hogs, cattle, everything.”

There wasn’t a better time to have been in agriculture than in the 1960s and the 1970s, he says.

“We sold lots of machinery,” says Likness. “It was exciting, it was fun.”

Agriculture’s go-go years in the 1970s were accompanied by one caveat: inflation. Inflated land values that many farmers borrowed against made them seem wealthier than they actually were. Paul Volcker, who then served as Federal Reserve Chairman, announced steps in October 1979 to break inflation, which at that time was running 9% annually.

Unfortunately for farmers and agricultural businesses, this came in the form of high interest rates.

“We were paying 21%, 22% interest,” Likness says. “It just absolutely devastated everyone.”

David Planteen
This was the environment that a former classmate of mine, David Planteen, entered when he began farming with his family in the mid-1980s. “Back when I started farming, we were really conservative with our farming practices,” he says. “If we couldn’t afford it, we didn’t buy it. With the interest rates and commodity prices back then, we just held together what we had.”

No-till – then a new farming practice – also played a part in Planteen’s strategy.

"One of the first things we noticed when we started was how much fuel we saved,” he says. “We also saved moisture, soil, and the cost of more machinery. We were dry in drought years like 1988, and we had some fairly decent yields compared with those who were using tillage.”

The 1980s also molded Roger Williams’ farming and ranching philosophy. He graduated from Langford High School in 1975, just enough to savor a few years of high commodity prices before the plunge.

“I’ll never forget this,” he says. “I had 500 bushels of wheat that I sold in the fall of 1975 for $5 a bushel. With that, I paid the tuition for going to South Dakota State.”

Timing played a role in Williams’ ability to persevere during that dismal decade.

Starting out, he hadn’t incurred the debt that producers who expanded years earlier had incurred.

“We just tried to keep our costs low,” he says. “I also had family support. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”

Looking back, he says the times made him more conservative from a business standpoint than he wishes.

“If I could change anything, that would be one thing I would change,” he says. “But it’s been fun.”

Even in tough times, opportunity awaits. Retiring farmers with no farming heirs present opportunity for those who have children wanting to farm. Likness recalls talking with two brothers with young sons during the 1980s who were deciding whether or not to buy a larger combine.

“They didn’t think they were big enough to have that combine,” recalls Likness. “I told them, ‘How many neighbors do you think there will be a few years from now in a 3- to 4-mile radius?’ Well, there weren’t going to be many, so they ended up buying that new combine. The land is there, it’s going to be farmed by someone. They had the manpower coming up to farm it.”

Mr. Wattier

Larry and Leona Wattier
School classes and the town’s population are smaller than when I grew up there in the 1960s and 1970s. Still, it’s stabilized. In the 2010 census, the population crept up a little, to 313, from 2000’s 290. Nearly 20 years ago, there was a big community controversy over building a new high school building. Since then, though, student population has remained steady, bobbing from the high-190s to the mid-220s for K-12 students.

Had I closed my eyes when I visited, I could have sworn the year was 1978 rather than 2018. The chattering of grade-school children’s voices at recess echoed down the street. The buzzer in the high school signaling a change in class rang as loudly as it did when I attended.

Upon my eyes opening, though, it’s apparent change has occurred. A new schoolhouse has replaced the 1926 building I attended. High-school kids going from class to class are still polite, but the dress is more casual than in my day. The omnipresent Mr. Wattier is no more, having retired in 2000 before he passed away in 2012.

If there ever was a Mr. Langford, it was Larry Wattier. There. I finally said it! Even though I graduated in 1979, I still have a tough time saying his first name. That’s indicative of the respect he commanded in the school and community.

Wattier came to Langford as principal in 1961, after a stint teaching industrial arts in Alexandria, South Dakota.

“When we came here, we said, ‘Well, we are only going to stay here five years,’” says his wife, Leona. “But we just loved it here so much. All of my four kids had their own special friends. And everyone here was just so welcoming.”

Kris Tobin and Leona Wattier
While the 1960s were peaceful in Langford, it wasn’t so elsewhere. Alabama Governor George Wallace turned state troopers loose on civil rights protesters on a Selma, Alabama, bridge in 1965. Police and Vietnam War protesters clashed at the calamitous Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.

Langford? Well, it had a more tranquil disruptor. One of my earliest memories viewed from my first-grade window were a dozen high-school boys exiting the building for having excessively long hair.

“A teacher could make those demands back then,” laughs his daughter, Kris Tobin. “He always wore white shirts and ties. I think he did that by choice, even when other people would come to work a little more casual and relaxed. Over time, he just kind of adjusted. He was not judgmental.”

He ruled the school with a velvet fist. During lunchtime, excessive talking by students was verboten. A chatty student would know they were busted when silence suddenly reigned at the lunch table. Turning around, the student would hear their name and the snap of Mr. Wattier’s fingers as he would point to the end of the table. There, the gabby pupil would turn glum eating in exile.

Chad Hardy
“What kind of shoes did he have?” chuckles Chad Hardy, who runs Langford Lumber. “You’d never hear him coming when he was behind you.”

Conversely, there are times I still break out laughing when I think about his razor wit. “Come again and bring more money,” was the cheery line he’d give students dropping off money for their school lunch meal ticket.

And the H-O-R-S-E games! During the summer of 1978 when I worked at the school house, I – and pretty much no one else – could ever beat him.

“He liked his work at the school so much that when he retired, he used to sit at the front window and watch the busses go out in the morning,” recalls Leona. “It took him a couple years before he didn’t do that.”

Student Connections

Athletic excellence at Langford still abounds. Tucked away on the gymnasium’s south wall is a banner for the 1976 nine-man South Dakota championship football team, of which I was a member. Complementing that team is the Langford one that won the 2015 9B football championship. The Langford basketball team has also appeared in eight of the last 11 South Dakota Class B basketball tournaments.

Equally heartening is the education level. “You look at how many doctors, lawyers, dentists, pharmacists, and high-level professional people have come out of this little school,” says Hardy. “It's pretty amazing.”

“The teachers instill that level of excellence,” says Paula Jensen, a Langford native and vice president of advancement with Dakota Resources, a nonprofit community development organization. “Kelly Weiser stepped in for Mr. (Trevor) Osborne as music teacher over 20 years ago. He was a tough act to follow, and she’s done a fabulous job. She raises the bar for those kids.”

Monte Nipp
Langford’s niche is its ability to form tight bonds between students and faculty, believes Monte Nipp, the current school superintendent, who succeeded Mr. Wattier in 2000.

“When we hire teachers, the first thing we talk to them about is developing a relationship and a connection with the student,” says Nipp. “You can have all the fancy technology, all the materials you want. It’s not going to matter to the kid if you don’t have a connection.

“I have always made the comment that if your child wants to fade into the woodwork and kind of just be a bystander, don’t come to Langford because you won’t be able to do that here,” he adds. “Here, you are going to be noticed, you are going to be called to participate, because that’s what we do.

Langford doesn’t have all the offerings of a bigger school. Still, it offers some things that the suburban school my children attend – with an average class size of 650 – does not.

“One of the things we started about 10 years ago is a buddy program, where seniors are matched with a kindergartener,” says Nipp. “Once a month, they do an activity together with them. Sometimes it’s a craft project, sometimes they go out and play a game. I just can't believe how strong a bond that forms. We were at a wedding in Langford last summer, and I remarked to my wife that I wondered why a sixth-grader was in the wedding because they (the girl and the bride) weren’t related. Well, it was her buddy from when she was in kindergarten.”


During my conversation with David Planteen, we both were thankful there was no social media in our day. We could do boneheaded things that would be forgotten about in time.

Today? Well, it’s on social media in minutes or even seconds.

“Basically, our students grow up in a world with a screen in their face,” says Nipp. “They are so in tune with it that it is second nature to them.”

From 8:30 to 3:30, though, all screens are off at the Langford school. “We tell them, if your mom or dad need to get ahold of you, they can call here, and we will tell you,” says Nipp.

Family backgrounds differ from when I lived there, too. Nipp commented in in our magazine story that just one student in his high school class came from a single-parent family, and that was because the father died. After I came home to Des Moines, I paged through my high-school annual, and I could only think of four students in our class of 37 who didn’t have two parents, or parent and a guardian. Two of them had a parent who died, while the other two were foster children.

“The world we live in has forced them to change,” says Nipp.

In Langford, teachers these days often double as unofficial counselors, he says. “It may be that high school girl who really likes English, and so she’s going to really stay after school to work on the yearbook and confides to her English teacher about a problem that’s been bothering her. We just can’t turn our back on that. We are here to help them.”

Opportunities Langford students pursue after graduation vary. “The biggest surge I’ve seen are tech schools,” says Nipp. Four-year schools, though, still are popular. South Dakota State University leads the pack (which warms my Jackrabbit heart), with some students attending North Dakota State University in Fargo. Over time, students have also enlisted in the military.

Rachel Hoops
Rachel Hoops, a 2018 Langford graduate, is heading to Black Hills State University this fall to major in elementary education.

“I actually was going to major in photography,” she says. “But in our senior year, we did K buddies (the senior-kindergartener program) and after doing that, I changed my mind. I also grew up with six other siblings, so I have a love for helping other kids.”

Hoops also won this year’s Fossel Brothers scholarship. The Fossels were four bachelor brothers (Eldred, Iden, Marvin, and Reuben) who lived 1.5 miles from our farm. It’s fitting she won it, because Eldred always wished he could have been a school teacher.

Mr. Fiebelkorn’s Ghost

Mr. Fiebelkorn’s ghost is still haunting the Langford school, just as it did when I attended. Gary Fiebelkorn taught and coached in Langford during the 1960s. His horn-rimmed glasses and crew cut mimicked comedian Drew Carey. He was killed in a car accident in the early 1970s after he left Langford.

His ghost, though, lives on.

Hardy says the late Roy Pulfrey, a 1972 Langford graduate and a coach, was in the gym late one night when a man came out of a door and said, “Hey, coach, how are you doing?” before disappearing.

“I only have one story,” says Nipp. “I was printing off some things to a printer in the lunchroom, and I went there and found nothing. So, I went back to the computer, printed it again and when I came back, not only was my second printing there, but the first printing was laying right beside it. I just looked down the hallway and said, ‘Fiebelkorn!’”

Busting Stereotypes

Todd Sell
There’s a stereotype about small towns being a dead end for professional jobs. I was heartened that there are opportunities in Langford and nearby communities. Todd Sell, Langford’s mayor, worked as a carpenter before he began working for Precision Wall Systems in nearby Britton. “I thought about going somewhere else, but I ended up right back here,” he says.

Ditto for local boredom. “Most of the school kids are so busy during the school year and the summer that they don’t have time to think about being bored,” says Jensen.

Her children are into hunting, fishing, and auto sports. The plays that retired English teacher Diane Hoines directs still pack the gymnasium.

“You may call my dad Mr. Langford, but she’s Miss Langford,” says Tobin.

Mark Nelson
“You see a lot more participation than in bigger schools where you just maybe pick one thing,” says Mark Nelson, a farmer and a loan officer with Grow South Dakota, a nonprofit economic development group. “Here, you’re almost expected to do just about everything, just to make it a viable program.”

Oftentimes, my wife will call me while I’m 200 miles away or farther while doing farm interviews and ask, “You aren’t coming home tonight, are you?”

“Well, of course,” I say.

Being able to drive long distances is wired into the DNA of rural residents. Planteen notes residents don’t flinch about driving to Minneapolis for shopping or a Minnesota Twins baseball game or Minnesota Vikings football game. “They can drive in for the day and drive back the same day if they want,” he says.

Nelson points out that civic organizations ranging from the Langford Community Foundation to the Britton Shriner’s Club are also a focus. Britton also sports a golf course. “There’s always something to do,” he says.


There’s a seamy side to rural areas, even when I lived on my family’s farm near Langford. A still unknown assailant robbed and killed Langford resident Arden Anderson at a rest stop near Webster, South Dakota, in 1983. If you wanted to buy marijuana, you could. A high-school classmate of mine is serving a life sentence for murder.

Still, I grew up in a simpler time. Dale Elsen started out his law enforcement career as a Marshall County deputy sheriff in Langford, mainly busting underage drinkers and drunk drivers.

Elsen now sees a sharper edge in rural crime. Some people moving into rural areas are running from a sketchy past in urban areas, says Elsen, who’s served as Marshall County sheriff since 1983. Whether you call them deplorables or undesirables, these folks can take advantage of the trusting nature of farmers and rural residents, he says.

Meanwhile, methamphetamine use is a scourge for rural areas. Meth has ancillary effects in that users quickly bankrupt themselves and steal property to fund their addiction, Elsen says.

Rehabbing meth addicts is challenging. “You can’t just take someone on meth and try and correct them within 30 days or 60 days or 90 days,” he says. “It can take up to two years of intensive therapy. Even then, users are still at risk.”

Challenges and Optimism

Churches have and still continue to support the spiritual and social fabric of Langford. It’s changed, though, with local churches relying much more on lay ministers.

“As the population shrinks and the congregations get small, it’s hard to afford a pastor,” says Planteen. “If you want your church to survive, you need to adapt and be able to change.”

Looming in the background, too, is continued farm consolidation.

“My dad and I were talking one day that when he started the lumberyard (in 1968), there were X number of farms,” says Hardy. “When I took over managing the lumberyard in 2000, there were half that. And if my kids take over, there will be half again. Will they (the farmers) live 50 miles away, and come in here and knock things out in 24 hours a day with big equipment? My biggest concern isn’t so much population of the community or the school, but the rural population on the farms.”

Langford likely won’t grow much in future years, believes Sell. But he sees it maintaining very well, five, 10, and 15 years into the future. Even with consolidation, agriculture and surrounding businesses in other towns help economically anchor Langford.

Roger Williams
“I think that a lot of people also like to live in a small community,” he says.

Kris Tobin concurs. “I love being in Sioux Falls (South Dakota’s largest city) for a few days, but I don’t want to live there,” she says. “I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else but here."

Over lunch at The Front Porch, a new restaurant and bar started in 2015, Roger Williams reflects on his lifetime of living and farming in Langford.

“I’ve had a very good life,” he says. “I got to raise a family (two daughters and a son) here in this little town. I got to spend 40 years with several very good friends.

“You know, that’s priceless,” he says. “How can you not enjoy that?”

The kitchen sink – the heart of every kitchen

A full line of devices, consisting of refrigerators, ovens as well as stoves, contemporary dishwashers and also microwaving units are all readily available. The total cooking area design services including free style appointments as well as configurations are offered every day other than Sunday.

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Participants of the style personnel have all been educated as well as function carefully with huge cooking area as well as bath companies such as Wentworth, Pronorm, Omega and also Secondly Nature to offer full plans. These sets will consist of all the appliances, cabinets and also cabinets, sinks, counter tops as well as devices to fully furnish a kitchen.

Worktop products consist of the most long-lasting timber surface areas to add a classic touch to a kitchen area. These counter tops are made from a make-up of primarily quartz and also a trademarked polymer modern technology that brings vibrant colors never before offered into the cooking area or bathroom. These non permeable surface areas could stand up to the hefty usage of a business kitchen area while keeping a stylish appearance.

No kitchen could be complete without a kitchen sink. From sales to installation of kitchen area sinks every little thing is readily available at kitchen-sinks. Whether it is an undermount sink, a top install or a moulded sink that is incorporated into the job surface in one important piece this site has everything. The most effective of the U.K. and European makers are stood for. Sinks from Avalon, Shaws, Franke, Blanco and Lansdowne are all offered for quick distribution. In enhancement kitchen area sinks from American manufactures such as Koehler are readily available. Water taps from every significant manufacture will complete the look and also design.

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One stop cooking area and bath improvement services are readily available at kitchen-sinks. From the floor to the ceiling whatever that is needed to build a dream kitchen or bath could be located here. Flooring, illumination, devices, fixtures and also home furnishings could be purchased online and also shipment will be set up so that every little thing shows up in simply a couple of days.

There are so numerous kitchen area sinks, faucets, cabinetry and also accompanying devices readily available on today’s market that confusion could easily reign. No kitchen area could be total without a cooking area sink. From sales to setup of cooking area sinks every little thing is offered at kitchen-sinks. In addition cooking area sinks from American manufactures such as Koehler are available.

Hometown USA: Is the American Dream Still Alive in Rural America?


“Have you ever read the book, Hollowing Out the Middle?” asks Paula Jensen in a tidy office just off the spacious Main Street of Langford, South Dakota. 

The 2009 book details the reasons young people leave rural areas. Often, it’s the community’s adults who encourage it.

“Basically, the straight-A students are told to go away and never come back. It’s only the losers who stay, right?” says the Langford native and vice president of advancement with Dakota Resources, a nonprofit community development organization.

Paula Jensen
“I never felt that way,” says the 1985 graduate of Langford High School. “I always felt like I had a place here if I wanted to come back. My husband had an opportunity to buy an auto repair business, and it just seemed like a natural fit. I always knew that if I had a family, I wanted to raise them near their grandparents and aunts and uncles.”

Jensen’s not alone. Each spring, she speaks to rural South Dakota high school students and asks how many of them would choose to live in their communities if they could. 

“I was in Langford a few weeks ago, and 80% of them raised their hands,” she says. “When I go across the state, it’s always more than 50%. In some smaller communities, it’s 98%.”

Mark Nelson
Mark Nelson, a loan officer with Grow South Dakota (a nonprofit economic development group) and a Langford farmer, sees similar responses when he speaks to Langford students. 

“I find it interesting that the seniors also express their ideas on projects that will affect Langford’s future,” says Nelson, a 2005 Langford Area High School graduate. “Our youth are willing to come back. The future is promising if we can retain them or give them an opportunity to come back.”

Farming is Still Key

On a typical day, farm equipment rumbles down Langford’s streets. Farmers grumble about crop prices, and a split-second later, they smile about how great their corn crop looks. Folks drink coffee in The Front Porch café and talk sports and politics. 

In short, it’s akin to the thousands of other small towns that dot rural America. (Full disclosure: Langford is my hometown.) 

Many such towns face a turning point. John Ikerd, a retired University of Missouri agricultural economist, sees the rural mood as “a growing sense of impotence and dread.” Ultimately, a positive rural future hinges on rural residents taking the future into their own hands and working together for their community’s common good, says Ikerd.

This isn’t easy. Through the years, farm consolidation has clipped population, school size, and businesses. Bruce Likness recalls a packed Main Street on Wednesday and Saturday nights in Langford when he was a teenager in the 1950s. 

“You couldn’t find a parking place on Main Street,” recalls Likness, who, along with his wife, Jean, is a lifelong Langford resident. 

Still, change happens.

“I don’t know how we would have prevented or slowed down the transformation in agriculture,” adds Likness, whose family owned a farm implement dealership at Langford and nearby Britton locations from the 1940s into the 2000s. “You would like to go back, but no one wants to go back to an (International) M tractor or a John Deere 70 tractor. The American psyche of having the biggest and best comes into play.” 

David Planteen
Yet, Langford has been, is, and will always be a farming community. David Planteen started farming in the mid-1980s after he graduated from South Dakota State University. 

“When I got married, our farm was not big enough to support two families,” says the 1979 Langford High School graduate. 

So, he started working as a loan officer at the First State Bank in nearby Claremont in 2002 before transferring to the Langford State Bank in 2009. He also sells crop insurance, serves as the school board president of the Langford Area Public School (LAPS), and is starting his 33rd year of officiating high school sports. 

“My dad had the foresight to say that even if you’re coming back to the farm, get an education,” says Planteen. “He said your farm can be taken away from you, but your education can’t.”

School is an Anchor

Bill Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Farm Credit Mid-America, says school consolidation that leaves small towns without their school plays a sad but predictable role. “Other businesses then consolidate, and over time, the size of the community decreases,” he says.

Langford faced this dilemma around 20 years ago. Its junior high and high school building – built in 1926 – was falling apart. Langford’s population had steadily eroded from a peak of 510 residents in the 1920 census to a low of 290 citizens in the 2000 census. 

After considerable debate, Langford residents swallowed hard and built a new school building. 

Skeptics abounded. 

“I was working at the bank at that time, and I had a lot of people who would come in and say, ‘Your kids are never going to get to graduate from high school in Langford. There won’t be any school here in 20 years,’” says Jensen.

Fortunately, the population decline stopped. In the 2010 census, the population actually rose a bit to 313. The student population since 2000 has remained steady, bobbing between 188 to 222 for K-12 students. Some high school classes have had only eight students, while others have had 24. 

Geography helped. “We’re a bridge between three bigger towns: Britton, Groton, and Webster,” says Planteen. Students who prefer a smaller high school often opt for Langford, he says. Langford has also picked up students when smaller area schools closed.

Langford’s faculty also helps, says Jensen. “I think the teachers here instill a level of excellence,” says Jensen. She cites Kelly Wieser, the school’s longtime music teacher, as an example. 

“Just yesterday, a little boy came in here who was raising money to go to music camp,” says Jensen. “She encourages students to do those kinds of things to make themselves better.”

Attracting teachers isn’t easy, as South Dakota often ranks at the nation’s bottom for teacher pay. One factor that helps Langford battle this is its school’s reputation. 

“There is a really strong commitment that the community has to this school,” says Monte Nipp, LAPS superintendent. “We had a teacher retire at the Newport (Hutterite) Colony School (in Langford’s school district), and I was worried about how many applicants we were going to get. Well, we ended up interviewing six. The word is out that people want to teach at Langford.”

This year, 68% of the school district’s voters passed a $3.4 million project for an addition that will include a new music room, a student and community wellness center, a multipurpose gym, a special education facility update, and facility maintenance. This time, few – if any – negative voices spoke at five public meetings regarding the addition.

“Instead, it was a message of ‘Let’s make our facilities ready for the future because we want to keep attracting those families and students who want to come to a small school setting,’ ” says Nipp.


Building Businesses 

People once thought we were going to become a buffalo-roaming community because there’d be nothing left,” says Nelson. “I think we have more businesses and investment on Main Street than when I graduated from high school 13 years ago. We embrace our local entrepreneurs.” 

Chad Hardy operates a thriving lumberyard. Stuart and Krissa Samson started County Line Seed in 2012, and they market inputs like seed and precision farming equipment to area farmers. Meanwhile, Jordan Deutsch founded a hunting camouflage business called Fallin’ Fowl Camo.

Several steps taken in the past 15 years have helped sustain Langford’s businesses, says Jensen. Glacial Lakes Area Development helps support local individuals and industries with tools like business development goals. In 2008, Langford started a foundation that earns $10,000 annually for community project grants. The Front Porch, a 5,000-square-foot facility, opened in 2015. It houses four new businesses, including a restaurant and bar. Funding came in the form of loans from economic development entities, local bank funding, cash donations, and stock purchases from 110 area investors.  

A daycare spawned from a 2000 state program also supports the community. 

“I think it said something to the community; namely, we care about families, we care about our kids, and we want to keep people here,” says Jensen. 

It’s challenging, though, to maintain traffic for businesses. “It might be packed in The Front Porch for dinner on Mother’s Day,” says Likness. On some nights, though, just a handful of customers are present, he notes.

Housing is another hurdle. On the surface, cheap housing sounds great. Dig deeper, though, and these often-dilapidated houses create a transient population. 

“They are often not community-minded citizens,” says Jensen. 

Nelson says new people and former residents want to move back, but often they have no house to move back to. Meanwhile, someone has to incur the cost of tearing down dilapidated houses to make room for new ones. 

“I would say the vast majority of South Dakota is not overbuilt, but under-demolished,” says Nelson. 

The New Rural

I think the philosophy of the new rural is that we can’t re-create what we grew up with or what our parents or grandparents grew up with,” says Jensen. “We don’t remember those crowded Wednesday and Saturday nights when people would come to shop on a packed Main Street.”

On the plus side, a Langford Area Lions boy’s high school basketball game – featuring a team that’s made it to eight of the last 11 state basketball tournaments – still draws a crowd. Fans typically have to park their cars up to four blocks away from the rafter-packed gymnasium. 

“We need to be thinking about the future and look to our younger generation about what we need to create for this community,” says Jensen. 

Off-farm Income Is Key

Susan Wismer remembers an economy largely based on independent businesspeople like farmers when she grew up on her family’s farm near Britton, South Dakota, in the 1960s and 1970s. 

These days, wage earners are a much larger part of the rural economy. Factories like Britton-based Horton, a manufacturer of engine-cooling solutions, are economic lifelines for the area.

“So many farmers in the 1980s (agricultural downturn) went to work at Horton so they could buy groceries and have health insurance,” says Wismer, who represents four northeastern South Dakota counties in that state’s House of Representatives. “It allowed them to stay on the land and farm it.”

Off-farm income is vital in helping rural areas retain farmers and residents. David Peters, an Iowa State University Extension rural sociologist, summarized income trends for Iowa farms and farm families from 2003 to 2015. He found off-farm income was vital for two types of farms.

Intermediate farms represent 29.6% of all Iowa farms. They account for 11.8% of production values, but have lower sales and smaller acreages (220 acres per farm).

Residence farms account for 46.1% of Iowa farms. They produce only 8.3% of sales and have small acreages (118 acres per farm). 

What keeps residence farms in business and with high incomes – $115,941 in 2015 – is well-paid, off-farm work, says Peters. Meanwhile, household income for intermediate farms was $83,138 in 2015. Of that, 66.2% was from off-farm work.

“A struggling farm economy only highlights the need for nonfarm employment opportunities for all farm families,” says Peters.

Broadband Boost Is Needed

Lack of rural broadband costs rural areas big bucks. Darrington Seward, who’s a manager for the Seward & Son Planting Company in Louise, Mississippi, noted in 2016 U.S. Senate testimony that broadband disruptions during planting can lead to improper seeding prescriptions or missed planting windows. In 2016, he estimated such events could cost the farm 5 bushels lost per acre, or $20,000 per day of lost revenue. 

That’s something that the 37% of rural residents face who don’t have adequate or any broadband service, says Brian Cavey, CoBank’s senior vice president of government affairs. 

Much confusion exists about which rural areas are broadband-deficient. The Federal Communications Commission uses a color-coded map showing which areas are eligible for federal broadband support. In reality, the map misses areas that could be eligible for federal funding, says Steve Berry, chief executive officer of the Competitive Carriers Association, which advocates for competitive wireless carriers and stakeholders. 

The omnibus spending bill (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018) has $600 million in new funding that could help fund rural broadband, says Steve Censky, USDA deputy secretary.

Berry remains skeptical. “We have $600 million in the omnibus package, but still we still do not have a map that (accurately) shows unserved and underserved areas,” says Berry. Meanwhile, $7.4 billion in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, that was supposed to go toward rural broadband service served just a few areas, he says. 

Still, public money will be needed to do the job, believes Cavey. “If we wait for for-profit entities to bring it to rural America, it will be a long wait,” he says.

Stabilizing Schools

Monte Nipp
One day, Monte Nipp thought back to his high school class in the farming community of Cresbard, South Dakota. 

“I had 35 in my class, and I can only remember one of them who didn’t have the standard nuclear two-parent family,” says Nipp, who is now superintendent of Langford Area Public School in Langford, South Dakota. “That was because one of the parents had passed away.”

Now, children with the standard nuclear family are in the minority in some classes. That’s changed the way Nipp and faculty manage students. 

“We have one student who is tardy all the time,” says Nipp. “At first, you want to say, ‘Where’s your responsibility?’ But then, we found out his mom leaves for work at 6 a.m. He is the only person at home. Had I not had my mom or dad to get me out of bed in the morning, I probably would have been tardy quite a few times, too. He’s doing the best he can, and we are working with him.”

Student work has also intensified. “We have students who work 30 hours a week while they are a full-time high school student,” says Nipp. In the past, students may have worked just for spending money. Now, the money goes for car payments, paying for car insurance, or for gasoline for the car, he says.

“My mom and dad took care of every one of my needs while I was in high school,” says Nipp. “Some of these kids now are taking care of their own needs. We try and normalize their lives as much as we can. At least from 8:30 to 3:30 during school, we can be the stability they need.”

Seamy Side

Dale Elsen
Rural America is filled with images of 4-H kids showing purple-ribbon winning steers, high school heroes scoring touchdowns, and lazy days at the lake. There’s a seamy side, though, that pervades the countryside.  

Methamphetamine ravages rural areas. “It’s the biggest drug problem we have,” says Dale Elsen, who has been Marshall County, South Dakota, sheriff since 1983.  

Other cases Elsen encounters are just plain evil. Last October, Marshall County was rocked by a report of five residents charged with multiple sexual abuse charges, including rape and possessing, manufacturing, or distributing child pornography. 

So how can rural families keep their children on the right path? 

One advantage small schools have is that they often need students in order to make school activities go. This keeps students busy and out of trouble while giving them a sense of belonging, says Monte Nipp, superintendent of Langford Area Public School in Langford, South Dakota.

“Diane Hoines (play director and a retired teacher) makes it her goal to have every senior in the senior class play,” Nipp says. “She doesn’t care if you can’t sing, act, or dance, she will find a place for you.”  

The Unfitted Kitchen Area: Why Inconvenience?

If you have actually been associated with developing or building a new kitchen in the past Twenty Years, you have actually most likely heard the terms ‘unfitted kitchens’ or ‘kitchen workstations’ or simply ‘kitchen area furnishings’. These terms don’t describe a dinette set, but instead to an entirely various way of arranging a kitchen area using a few particularly created furniture as opposed to installing continual lines of kitchen cabinetry and kitchen counters. For some people, a ‘provided’ kitchen area is an intriguing concept, however others might say “Why trouble repairing something that ain’t broke?”

Innovation has a method of pushing us ahead, but sometimes we require to take a break to find just what type of progress is the most proper. It took a person with simply a bit of insight to realize that hiding all the power lines underground was a much better method to go.

Kitchen style that utilizes cabinets has actually advanced right into the widely accepted method to develop a cooking area. Hopefully, by showing how cooking area layout has evolved, you will certainly start to discover ‘Why’ cooking area furniture can be a great alternate to developing kitchens with kitchen cabinetry.

In the days prior to power altered every little thing in our lives, family members cooking areas in modestly sized residences were big however just appointed spaces. The family members kitchen was the main work/social location of the residence also where household participants, often in the firm of good friends done most domestic chores and also socialized with each other.

Power brought several timesaving tools right into the cooking area, as well as many developments that drew us away from the cooking area. Due to the technologies in the kitchen area, less individuals were needed to prepare dishes, so the kitchen lost a lot of its social value and also came to be a smaller, super-efficient working area.

Now, existing planning has opened up the kitchen to incorporate the social spaces once more. New homes often have a breakfast/family area entirely in view of the cooking area. The Great Area idea is merely a big social area with a kitchen area in it. Walls between the kitchen area and various other spaces are being torn down in older houses in the effort to create multi-task, live-in cooking areas. We have actually gone full circle, in a little over 100 years, by creating a contemporary version of a pre-electricity social/working kitchen area.

With the advancement of the 2 career family members and single head-of-household families, there isn’t sufficient time in the day to devote a lot of it to cooking. Once again, innovations (i.e., microwaves, pre-prepared as well as icy foods) have allowed us to spend less time food preparation during the workweek. On weekend breaks, we could unwind in the kitchen/family space by enjoying TELEVISION or also amusing pals by food preparation intricate dishes.

But typically, the kitchen part of the fantastic area still appears like as well as is organized like the incredibly reliable, work-only kitchen mentioned above. It is lined with horizontal bands of kitchen cabinetry and countertops that are disturbed only by subjected hi-tech home appliances. Developers promote this ‘research laboratory’ appearance since it is simple to layout and also it genuinely is the only cooking area design principle that most individuals recognize. The majority of kitchen area formats are produced by drawing the line 2 feet out of every wall surface (to show kitchen cabinetry) and after that if there is space, an island (the bigger, the much better) is drawn to serve as a buffer in between the cooking area and living room. The area’s individuality is determined by the layout of the backsplash, as well as it relies on the shade harmony of the kitchen cabinetry as well as devices to hold the style theme of the space intact.

On the various other hand, the family space, or the social location of the great area is developed in a totally different method. The wall surfaces of the space are divided right into upright segments rather of continuous horizontal bands. At space wall surface areas and in the center of the area, eclectic items of furniture produce seatsing setups, while the wall-hung artwork and sculptural collectibles on display determine the room’s character.

The concern is, why not develop a multi-task, live-in modern-day open-plan kitchen/family room by equipping it instead than setting up kitchen cabinetry? Why not blend the kitchen into the family room making use of upright instead of horizontal style? Why must half of the room look like a clean and sterile laboratory, while the other half of the area is full of the personal touches that bring you comfort?

The rooms enable the wall, ceiling and flooring treatments (the architectural finishes) to promptly fuse the kitchen area as well as household space into one homogeneous space in a means that is difficult to do with horizontally designed cabinets. A provided cooking area permits the logs to be seen between each item, which assists to unify the open-plan space whereas a horizontally designed cabinetry filled up kitchen area covers up all the logs. In an open-plan loft space style where the cooking area is constantly seen, a provided cooking area can mix seamlessly right into the other laid-back seating groupings by permitting all the building finishes to meander in between all the items as well as hold everything with each other.

There are a few easy design policies to think about when making the individual pieces of furniture, but that is a subject for afterward. There are also various other reasons ‘Why’ to utilize furnishings instead of cabinets, such as using it to replicate a particular style or period like the pre-electricity styled kitchen. However it is in today’s open-plan kitchen where furnishings can make its most global effect. Will it ever change cabinets? Absolutely not, but also for anyone that is involved in creating a kitchen area job, properly developed furniture could be one of the most appropriate layout principle to use, one that is well worth the trouble!

If you have actually been included in designing or constructing a brand-new kitchen in the previous 20 years, you have actually possibly listened to the terms ‘unfitted kitchen areas’ or ‘kitchen area workstations’ or merely ‘cooking area furniture’. With any luck, by showing how kitchen design has actually advanced, you will begin to find ‘Why’ kitchen furniture can be a wonderful alternative to developing kitchen areas with cabinets.

Wall surfaces between the kitchen and also various other areas are being torn down in older houses in the initiative to create multi-task, live-in kitchens. Many kitchen layouts are created by attracting a line 2 feet out from every wall (to suggest kitchen cabinetry) and also then if there is room, an island (the bigger, the far better) is drawn to act as a buffer in between the cooking area and household space. An equipped kitchen enables the logs to be seen in between each item, which assists to link the open-plan space whereas a horizontally designed cabinets loaded kitchen covers up all the logs.

Places To Discover Kitchen Island Designs

During brand-new construction or a remodel, the kitchen area is one space that could greatly gain from the latest products as well as attributes. Energy-efficient home appliances, sleek brand-new cupboards that immediately close, as well as a kitchen island are a few of one of the most preferred functions. The island, which is positioned in the middle of the kitchen area, can be found in different sizes and shapes. Kitchen area island layouts could be located in several locations- one just has to know where to look.

Some cooking area island layouts mean to develop a food preparation surface that functions as an eating area within the kitchen. Others are inhabited by a stove top or a sink, maximizing counter room in other locations of the room. Depending on space and preferred function, the excellent new location can be developed. The space below the countertop can be occupied by drawers or left as an open storage space. Opportunities are basically limitless and also are primarily figured out by consumer preference after a detailed evaluation of the options.

One of the best places to locate kitchen island styles is online. A Net search will disclose the different Web sites established for this purpose as well as pictures published by real house owners. Customers can also locate ideas and also various other details that will certainly confirm useful during the design stage. If this is the very first time producing this location in the residence, it is easy to overlook some aspects, so take the suggestions of those that have been via the procedure.

Some websites enable site visitors to submit the dimensions of their cooking area as well as do an online design of the location. Individuals could experiment with various kitchen area island creates to see if expanding the island to create extra seating area would certainly be an opportunity.

Publications offer as great motivation when thinking about different styles. Several of these feature extravagant designs, with a little creative thinking they could sometimes be scaled down to fit the area and the spending plan.

Pay a visit to a house enhancement shop and also there is most likely to be a little area devoted to design cooking areas. There are bound to be some with islands, so obtain a real-world view by analyzing these. Also if a version does not showcase an island, it is typically possible to personalize the dimension and also layout of the materials to produce one. In addition to viewing what is on display, be sure to assess the examples as well as style books present in the shop. Make the most of personnel offered to offer support, inquiring for their input.

Though the intention ought to not be to duplicate another person, have a look at the cooking area island designs in the houses of pals, household, and neighbors. Anybody that has actually just recently built or redesigned a house will certainly be happy to show off the make over. If a desirable shape is located, take dimensions and also see if it could be fine-tuned to accommodate the offered space. Checking out the cooking areas of others could likewise offer beneficial details concerning recommended kitchen counter surface areas and also closet materials. No one understands much better concerning what is most ideal compared to a person that is in fact using the things daily.

House component shops are another great area to discover sample islands. These are primarily showcasing items like knobs, handles, as well as faucets, these components need to be secured to something as well as in lots of instances, they are located in a cooking area. Take a look at exactly how the sample kitchen areas are set up and some ideas like integrated wine fridges or multiple counter elevations might be found. Check out numerous of these stores, assembling the preferred functions on a checklist that could later on be made use of to develop the best design.

Numerous brand-new houses have cooking areas with islands so take a trip of these when considering a remodel of the house. The innovative strategies used in the new frameworks can often be quickly incorporated into an existing house.

Whenever there is a need to locate something, going right to the resource is typically a good idea. Locate some companies that manufacture kitchen cupboards as well as visit their showrooms. Salesmens exist to discuss precisely just what is required as well as if dimensions are provided, they could have a few concepts of their own. A person that does these designs on a full time basis is typically able to swiftly develop some creative solutions to exactly what could seem like an overwhelming spatial restriction.

Structure service providers are injuring for company these days and even if they do not generally get in touch with on such problems, they could be willing to so as to get some added work. Call a couple of in the town and ask to come by the home to supply some suggestions. This process could actually kill 2 birds with one rock if the home owner will certainly not be executing the setup. Compare the concepts and also estimate of numerous specialists to get the best offer.

House owners can locate cooking area island layouts and ideas in these and many various other areas. In a couple of weeks, the brand-new island will be mounted, supplying the locals with additional food prep work or eating area within the cooking area.

Kitchen area island designs can be found in many places- one just has to recognize where to look.

Some kitchen island designs mean to create a food preparation surface area that increases as an eating area within the kitchen area. One of the finest places to discover kitchen island styles is online. Individuals could experiment with various kitchen area island develops to see if prolonging the island to create additional seating room would be an opportunity. Home owners can find kitchen island designs as well as inspiration in these as well as lots of other places.

Farmers Share Weekend Storm Damage on Twitter


Weekend rains were welcomed in many parts of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri over the weekend.

But heavy rains and strong windstorms damaged crops and farm structures in central Iowa and parts of Nebraska late last week. Meteorologist Nick Vita of Commodity Weather says central Iowa received between 5-10 inches of rain on Saturday night. Winds in excess of 60 MPH were reported in Nebraska.

Farmers took to social media to share weather updates from their area.

If you experienced flooding over the weekend, check out these disaster recovery resources compiled by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

6 Ways to Make Your Dining Table Design Worthy

We, Indians, like luxury as well as dramatization in every possible motif. May it be our movies or our stories, we dig for whatever grand as well as larger than life. However when it involves enjoying a meal with people, we choose a calming ambience with an easy-on-the-eyes arrangement. A dish is a time when we open our hearts to liked ones, regardless of where we are. It acts as a bonding tool for generations ahead with each other and also exchange tales as well as experiences. Why go for a boring table setting when the discussion is so fascinating? So make every meal a terrific experience by setting up a table. Regardless of what you are offering, allow the table designs include splendor to every food. Add dramatization to the table with little ornaments.

1. Chalk Out a Strategy!

Before you obtain all your cutlery as well as serveware, provide your table 5 mins. Observe your dining table and recognize just how it could act like the epicentre of the dish that you are hosting. Develop a psychological strategy to make certain that every person really feels comfy with it. If you are holding a soiree, after that ensure that you have sufficient area on the table to put everything you want, without needing to relocate points around at each program.

2. A Refined Centrepiece

Every table deserves a story! Plan your table establishing around a remarkably curated centrepiece. Provide your table a conversation starter by placing a centrepiece between. If you have a big table, then you can constantly opt for two pieces. For a small-size table, you can go with a longer-than-usual centrepiece to save on area. You can experiment with blossoms, candle lights, lights, mason jars, as well as a lot more. For authentic Indian design configuration, use tea lights as well as brass devices covered in vibrant strips of fabric. You could likewise position a lengthy strip of a mirror in place of a table runner and leading it with tea lights as well as wood pet figurines.

3. Tale of Crockery and also Cutlery

Positioning of cutlery and also crockery plays a crucial role. This not only supports table decorums however additionally aids you in maintaining a tidy setup. Cultivate a practice of making use of different plates for keys and also bread or chapatti to make certain that the bread does not get soggy. Present table linen to the entire setup to remove the possibility of unintentional spillage. Spruce up these napkins with captivating holders. You can additionally link these napkins with dry bamboo yard or bows. When it pertains to spoons as well as forks, always ensure that every plate is partnered with an adequate number. If you are offering Indian foods, after that you should position a few spoons beside a plate. In situation of continental, place a collection of forks, spoons as well as a knife. The sort of dishware as well as cutlery you pick will itself make a large distinction to your table setting. You could make use of authentic copper as well as brass plates and also utensils to give a genuine Indian feel, or you can pick very vibrant ceramic plates to provide a bohemian individuality to your supper celebration. When it concerns flatware and tools, the selections are countless.

4. Little Shiny Trinkets

To keep a style on a table, you can present little trinkets. These trinkets ought to assimilate the entire set up yet likewise keep distinct identifications. You could have metal birds holding salt and pepper shakers or a thin rock slab with paper napkins put under a glass fish.

5. Mismatched Table Settings

Occasionally the charm remains in not attempting too difficult! You could produce a really easy relaxed yet posh table setup by blending and also matching a variety of colours as well as design styles. This dash of colour will certainly reveal your uniqueness and will likewise develop an easy going, fun nourishment.

6. For those Official Suppers

Some suppers are very formal, for instance, calling your or your spouse’s employer for supper or having your mother-in-law consume in your brand-new home for the first time. We suggest that you maintain the table setups at such times easy, timeless and sophisticated. For one, it will certainly display you as an advanced host or person hosting who has excellent taste and also if you maintain it easy, you could accomplish more without adding much more tension to on your own for this vital event. We suggest you opt for elegant white laze paper napkins, premium crockery in classic pastel colours and some simple blossoms for the centrepiece.

If you want to unite your household every night, even then aim to spruce up your dining table. As, human beings, we crave for something brand-new each day. After that why not give your eyes little deals with on a daily basis through creatively done dining tables. It could likewise work as a bonding exercise if you include your youngsters, brother or sisters, mother, or any type of enjoyed one in the design procedure.

5 Smart Ways to Beat the Summer Warm

Summer season always comes with the warm and also progressively rising utility bills. It is not budget-friendly for every person to pay a/c costs and appreciate the cool wind also when the sunlight is at its ideal. High power price can put an intolerable stress on your wallet. Nevertheless, your concerns are over now since every cloud has a positive side. This indicates you could beat the summer season warmth and take pleasure in all the advantages regarding summertime without investing too much on a/c. What follows are some simple tips as well as cost-effective accessories that can help you figure a much better option

1. Obtain some interior plants

There are certain interior plants that keep the air around them awesome as well as fresh. Plants utilize a procedure called photosynthesis where they use sunshine and also water in order to expand and also make it through. This process makes plants consume power or warmth present in the surroundings. Have you ever really feel that area around a number of trees is commonly chillier than regular? It is because plants soak up warm from the air which causes a healthier atmosphere.

2. Shield your windows

We understand that the sun rises in the eastern and sets in the west. Windows encountering those instructions can take in a great deal of direct sunshine which can turn your house into a warm room where it is difficult to take a breath and remain comfy. To stop this, keep the east and also west dealing with windows shaded during the day so that tones can block the sunshine.

Installing power outage curtains is additionally a great idea because drapes not just block the warm but likewise make your place look visually appealing. So, always remember to cover the sunny side of your doors and windows. It will certainly maintain the temperature level of your area reduced and acceptable. Besides, open up the color as well as take off the drape at night to ensure that fresh air could go through.

3. Make a good use your cellar

In a lot of the structures, the cellar is the coldest component. It would be a smart idea to make use of cellar a great deal for all sort of activities. In summer, cellar offers a trendy atmosphere to invest some excellent household time. If you haven’t yet established your basement, exert to earn it extra liveable. Summer season warmth is probably a good reason that you must finish up your basement and make it a much better hang around room for the summertime. This will additionally include value to your house.

4. Wear breathable clothes

It is really vital to wear breathable garments in order to remain amazing in the summer warmth. High-grade summer season clothing is usually created to be breathable. Most of the workwear gears are made to maintain the user cool. Linen, as an example, is made out of the flax plants. The linen fibers come straight from the stalk of the plant.

5. Use cooling down cushions

Heat could make it really tough to obtain an audio rest. This is where cooling down cushions and cushions come into play as well as assist us get good rest at night. The air conditioning cushion is a relatively new strategy to combat the heat. They are made with an unique gel that makes you really feel cool in the summertime.

Unlike a/c and other cooling down tools, cooling pillows do not put worry on your spending plan. They develop amazing ventilation without consuming power and also making noise. Experts suggest that we ought to use environmentally friendly techniques to make it through warmth. It would be tough to locate something extra eco-friendly compared to cooling down cushions. An insightful write-up suggests a checklist of ideal air conditioning that you can acquire to earn your summertime season a lot more pleasant. Following are some of the benefits of utilizing them:

Cooling down cushions make you fall asleep quickly pillows
They help fight sleeplessness and also other rest problems
They sustain the body and supply a high degree of convenience
One of the simplest techniques to defeat the warm inside your residence is changing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents light bulbs which discharges up to 70% much less heat. Usage plants that naturally cools your house. Also, mount a ceiling fan as well as location it counterclockwise so the air impacts down at you.

High power bills in the summer season could truly disrupt your budget, but if you make use of clever techniques such as shading windows and using cooling down cushions, you could invest a really warm period while keeping your a/c on a reduced setup.

Leading 4 Ways of Forming Plastic as well as Their Advantages

Plastic manufacturing has become among the greatest sectors today. From product packaging material to heavy-duty industrial components, uses of plastic are widespread. To a basic observer, the majority of sort of plastic products may look the very same. Yet, their core product as well as Plastic Manufacture processes may vary considerably. Provided listed below are some of the Plastic Production Processes as well as their advantages.

Shot Molding

Injection Molding is just one of one of the most preferred approaches made use of by Plastic Manufacturers. The biggest side of Plastic Molding is in its cost-effectiveness. Plastic Production Companies could create goods at a big range in the lowest costs. It also generates the least amount of waste as well as hence it is a suitable procedure for Plastic Manufacturing Firms. From tiny kitchen area devices to big shower room installations, this procedure appropriates for producing all sort of Plastic Profiles.

The procedure

The process is really easy. Resins are warmed to their melting point. Then they are pushed right into the mold. The molten plastic is pressed to take the form of the mold. It is an optimal process for making a big quantity of product at low cost. Nevertheless, preparing the mold and mildew is extremely expensive. This process would not be practical if the amount of products needed is low.

Blow Molding

This is an extremely versatile process used in the Plastic Industry. It is generally utilized for making bottles, containers as well as various other type of hollow sizes. It is a quick as well as cost-effective procedure for making thin-walled hollow forms. You could obtain complicated shapes with this procedure

The procedure

Air pressure is utilized in this procedure to broaden the liquified polycarbonate right into the wanted shape. It is a good procedure for getting smooth hollow forms.

Custom Plastic Extrusion Molding

Custom Plastic Extrusion is a suitable technique for getting Plastic Profiles with strict tolerance. You can collaborate with a variety of products and forms in Custom Plastic Extrusion technique. Accuracy and also uniformity are the largest plus points of this technique.

The procedure

The plastic resins are melted and also passed through a die. You could obtain fixed plastic shapes with preferred IDs and ODs. You will also have full flexibility to choose the shape and size of the product. The process utilizes dies and tools as well as therefore it is extremely cost-effective if the amount of the order is high. Preparing the dies and also tools is expensive and for this reason it could not remain a possible choice if the order size is little. Yet, if accuracy as well as uniformity are your prime requirements after that this process is for you obat penggemuk sapi.

Rotational Molding

The rotational molding technique is additionally made use of for making hollow things like blow molding. Nevertheless, the raw material used in this procedure is different. It utilizes plastic powder rather than plastic materials. Nylon, ABDOMINAL MUSCLE, polyethylene, as well as PVC are some of the usual materials made use of in this procedure. This is a suitable process if you are attempting to develop huge, hollow or concave forms. It creates smooth and worry-free finished items. The procedure makes use of straightforward and inexpensive devices, however, the tools have to be replaced frequently. The quality of ended up products obtained through this process is average and also it is not an optimal process for accuracy forming.

The procedure.

In this process, the plastic powder is positioned in the mold as well as heated up on a heating system. Once hot, the mold and mildew is continuously turned to assist in thorough finishing of the mold and mildew’s within. As soon as done the mold and mildew is gotten rid of as well as cooled in a controlled setting. Both home heating and the cooling down processes have to be kept track of with terrific accuracy as fast temperature distinctions can bring about the development of bubbles and warps.

Plastic Manufacturers utilize several other approaches also like vacuum developing, compression molding, as well as thermoforming for making Plastic Profiles. The selection of process mainly relies on the sort of form, uniformity and also order amount required.

Bold New Mural Tells Colorado Agriculture Story


As drivers zoom through Colorado on 1-70, a colorful new mural on a large grain bin outside Limon tells potential visitors the story of agriculturalists who live just off the interstate.

Staci Beauford grew up on a farm in Colorado not far from the site of the painting she recently completed near Limon. Although she now calls Arkansas home, with the help of her sister, a cousin, and a friend, Beauford brought a massive scene depicting a man and a little girl filled with a rural Colorado landscape to life.

Beauford’s artistic talents were first noticed after she painted on her parent’s propane tank several years ago. The propane company appreciated her abilities so much they asked her to paint on their large storage tanks. A few years later, the city of Limon was looking for new ways to tell its story and attract visitors.

“Limon is about 100 miles out from Denver and the interstate goes right by, but most people go right on by to get to Rocky Mountains,” Beauford explains. “They wanted to get some art in the area and they approached me about it.”

The Limon painting, called Heart of Harvest, is about six times larger than anything Beauford has painted before. The team was surprised, but with help from local businesses the larger than life artwork took just one week to complete.

Painting Process

Before the ladies broke out paint or paintbrushes, they carefully prepared the surface of the grain bin. They power washed, cleaned, and scraped the galvanized metal.

Next, an outdoor movie company from Denver helped the women project the 60-foot-tall silhouette on the side of the grain bin. “We laugh a little bit, but we just took Sharpies and outlined that image that night,” Beauford says. “We had some glow sticks, so we could give hand signals, and they could move the bucket truck after it was dark. It sounds crazy, but we had fun with it.”

Without missing a beat, the next morning, the team started applying primer. A local hardware store helped them find the right primer for the galvanized metal of the grain bin. The grain bin owner lent the ladies a bucket truck for the week.

When local people started seeing the white silhouette of primer, they got excited. It started getting attention on social media, too. Some people thought the project was done, but the magic of Beauford’s talents were just starting.

From the arm of the bucket truck, Beauford and her team started adding details of a night sky, mountainous sunset scene, and combine harvesting wheat from top to bottom of the silhouette.

While the city of Limon was primarily interested in motivating people to pull off the interstate for a visit, Beauford says she and her sister were also inspired by their roots when they sat down to design the mural.

“We wanted to say, ‘hey, you know there’s people out here and we have a story.’ That was a big part of the goal. But then my sister and I, as we were going through the design process, we really felt a strong desire to represent a wheat farmer. It is such a big part of our life,” Beauford explains.

She continues, “We do have the Rocky Mountains and we are about 100 miles out from Pike’s Peak, and my entire childhood, where ever we were farming, it’s very flat and you could always see Pike’s Peak off in the distance on the horizon. And usually, as you’re coming in on the interstate, Limon is one of the first places you get a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains, so it was definitely very important for us to get the Rocky Mountains in there.”

Behind the carefully painted mountains, a colorful sunset unfolds. “Out here in the eastern Plains we have beautiful, beautiful night skies. It is very, very clear, so we put some constellations up in the little girl’s hair where it turns to night sky. It was very fun for us to put in those little details. They probably mean more to us locals than anyone else.”

Learn More

After people started reacting to her work, Beauford started a Facebook page, Some Girls and a Mural. Although they are uncertain what the future holds, the ladies aren’t ruling out the possibility of more painting projects.

Beauford adds, “Our family keeps saying, you never know, this might be bigger than what you expected.”

The Ag Highlight Reel: Hail, Tornadoes, and Thunderstorms, Oh My!


Welcome to The Highlight Reel. Here you’ll find a recap of recent lighthearted or unusual news. These aren’t the headlines, but the funny, inspiring, or touching stories from across the agriculture industry.

Last week World Pork Expo took over the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky made stops to visit with farmers and youth in Wisconsin this week.

A new mural painted on a grain bin outside Limon, Colorado is gaining attention across the country. Farmers and ranchers on Twitter have been sharing photos and videos of recent severe weather across the Midwest.

Keep reading to catch an interesting look at how people in the United States have been searching for farm bill and trade news this week.

Last Week: World Pork Expo in Des Moines

About 20,000 people visited Des Moines, Iowa last week to take in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the pork industry at the 2018 World Pork Expo. Organizers say 500 exhibitors filled 360,000 square feet of trade show space and 2,800 head of hogs were exhibited as part of the Junior National Show.

Successful Farming published World Pork Expo 2018 Highlights and 4 Takeaways From World Pork Expo to recap the event.


This Week: Steve Censky in Wisconsin

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky was in Wisconsin on Wednesday. His first stop was Crave Brothers Farm near Waterloo where he participated in the Green Energy Showcase Program. Later in the afternoon the deputy secretary addressed students attending Wisconsin State FFA Convention in Madison.


Facebook: Heart of Harvest

Pictures of a bright, bold mural on the side of a Colorado grain bin have been circulating on Facebook this week. According to KUSA-TV the city of Limon commissioned the artwork from Some Girls and a Mural in hopes the masterpiece positioned along I-70 would encourage drivers to pull off for a visit. The piece is called Heart of Harvest. You can see mural from start to finish on the Some Girls and a Mural Facebook page.


Twitter: Dramatic Weather

Hail, tornadoes, and thunderstorms! Oh my! Agriculturalists from across the Midwest took to social media this week to document severe weather impacting their crops.


Trending: Farm Bill, Trade, North Korea

The farm bill and trade news continues to dominate headlines even in mainstream media, but Google search traffic for North Korea edged out both topics for three days in the past week. President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, 2018 for a historic summit in Singapore. Meanwhile, the farm bill passed the senate ag committee.


Grassley’s Farm Bill Challenge: Limit Subsidies to Actual Farmers


Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) wants to tighten down access to U.S. farm subsidies, a lightning-rod issue as Congress tries to update ag and public nutrition programs this year. “Why can’t we require farmers who collect huge sums of money from the government to actually work on the farm?” said Grassley on Monday, arguing for a “hard” cap of $125,000 per person in annual payments and restricting payments to farmers, their spouses, and one manager per farm, regardless of size.

“I do not believe in unlimited subsidies, like are in the House farm bill,” said the senator during a speech at the think tank Heritage Foundation. The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to vote on its version of the farm bill on Wednesday. It does not address farm subsidy limits beyond a provision to limit payments to people with less than $700,000 adjusted gross income. The limit now is $900,000 AGI annually and is doubled for a married couple. Grassley said he will offer his payment limit amendment at the committee meeting.

Lawmakers have tussled over so-called payment limits for decades. Large operators collect the lion’s share of subsidies because the payments are based on volume of production. If these large farms also have many people declared as “managers,” multiple people can claim a payment in the operation. Grassley, however, believes the payments should be directed to family-size operations. Defenders say crop subsidies are a small part of revenue for farmers and assure production of cotton, grains, and soybeans.

“The Heritage Foundation has made it perfectly clear that it opposes any safety net whatsoever for America’s farmers or ranchers because Heritage denies any unique risks to farming and ranching,” said Farm Policy Facts, a proponent of “a strong farm policy” in a recent essay. The group represents cotton, rice, sugar, wheat, and some corn growers, as well as farm equipment manufacturers.

The USDA has weak rules that allow operators to evade the nominal $125,000-a-year limit; they also allow payments to people, often relatives, who declare they are managers but provide little input. The Government Accountability Office reported last month that a corn, soybean, and rice operation active in the South and Midwest collected $3.7 million in 2015 through a web of two individuals and 32 corporations. The operation included 25 people plus 10 spouses who said they provided “active personal managment.”

“I am working with my fellow senators to fix this egregious loophole,” said Grassley, referring to USDA’s rules on who is “actively engaged” in farming and, thus, eligible for subsidies. During debate on the 2014 farm law, the House and Senate approved language similar to the new Grassley amendment, but it was deleted during the final round of negotiations on the farm bill. “You can’t make that stuff up, can you?” said Grassley wryly.

The Republican-written House farm bill, defeated a month ago, expanded the list of people eligible for subsidies to include cousins, nieces, and nephews and removed the $125,000 limit on payments to particular types of corporate farms, allowing each member of the entity to claim a payment. The House has until June 22 to try to revive its bill.

Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group called the House bill “the23andMe bill,” a play on the name of a company that traces ancestry. Faber and Joshua Sewell of Taxpayers for Common Sense were panelists in a discussion following Grassley. The 2014 farm law made federally subsidized crop insurance the largest part of the farm safety net. “Let’s embrace it,” said Sewell. “Why do we have them (crop subsidies) at all?”

To watch a video of Grassley’s speech and the panel discussion that followed, click here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.

World Pork Expo 2018 Highlights


Pork enthusiasts from around the world gathered in Des Moines, Iowa this week for food, seminars, and pig shows.

National Pork Producers Council hosted World Pork Expo June 6-8, 2018 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. The organization says more than 20,000 ag professionals and pork producers attend the expo every summer. It is estimated that 1,000 international attendees from nearly 40 countries participated in the three-day event this year.

Show Ring Highlights

In 2017, 2,500 live hogs were displayed in the swine barn. National Pork Producers Council was expecting another record setting year of hogs again this year.

This year 1,350 youth from 32 states participated in the World Pork Expo Junior National this week. Youth competed in a Skillathon, judging contests, and live hog shows.

Notable Presenters

Government officials and industry experts shared remarks throughout the event. Ten busines seminars were held Wednesday and Thursday. Pork producers and their employees gathered at PORK Academy seminars to learn about nutrient management, understanding consumers, and data collection.

Did you know, about 550,000 U.S. jobs are supported by various aspects of the pork industry? More than $40 billion is contributed to the nation’s economy each year by U.S. pork production. In 2017, more than 60,000 pork producers marketed more than 121 million hogs.

In addition to hosting the World Pork Expo, Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the nation. Approximately 45 million pigs are raised in the state each year.

Delicious Pork

During the event approximately 10,000 lunches were served at the Big Grill.

Interesting Exhibits

About 500 companies from around the globe gathered at the 2018 World Pork Expo to display their products and services. Several of them had outdoor exhibits and 60 hospitality tents were open for networking opportunities.

For more information about the 2018 World Pork Expo read 4 Takeaways From World Pork Expo. The 2019 World Pork Expo will be held June 5-7 next year.

Week In Review: Ethanol and Trade


As President Donald Trump heads to Canada to meet with leaders of the world’s biggest economies, then to Singapore to possibly declare an end to the Korean War, farmers in the Midwest are left scratching their heads over a week that seemed momentous for agriculture. But was it really?

It was for ethanol.

Early this week President Trump rejected a deal that would have allowed year-round blending of 15% ethanol (E15) in exchange for allowing ethanol exports to count against requirements for oil refiners to blend ethanol.

“Unfortunately, E15 wouldn’t have been enough to offset the damage caused by allowing biofuel exports to count toward the annual blending quotas,” Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday.

Although E15 sales are rising rapidly in some states, the higher ethanol blend is sold in only about 1% of the nation’s gas stations. Ethanol exports set a record of nearly 1.4 billion gallons last year and may be on track to break another record. But other nations say that giving blending credits for exports would be an illegal export subsidy. The critics include Canada, the second-largest buyer of U.S. ethanol after Brazil.

“A WTO (World Trade Organization) challenge was coming, had that gone through,” Hart, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University, told

Allowing exports to count toward blending quotas would also have taken pressure off domestic oil companies to use ethanol, significantly lowering blending below the 15-billion-gallon-a-year mandate under the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard. That’s something that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has already done by granting hardship waivers from blending requirements to large, profitable refiners. Grassley said domestic demand under the RFS is now down to 13.8 billion gallons.

Grassley said he’ll continue to fight for year-round sales of E15 being allowed by EPA, although getting Pruitt to push that through the agency “is going to be very difficult.”

He’ll also push to restore the 15-billion-gallon RFS, getting the 2019 blending mandate “nailed down” and making sure “that any waivers are not going to detract from it.”

“That’s just maintaining the status quo, more or less,” he said.

Grassley has help. Ethanol trade groups, the National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union have filed a lawsuit challenging the blending waivers that Pruitt secretly granted to large refiners.

University of Illinois agricultural economist Scott Irwin recently told that he thinks such efforts will ultimately succeed. “Pruitt's fun and games will get wrung out of the system. It may take a few years through the courts, but that eventually will happen.”

Meanwhile, trade war saber rattling has started to draw blood.

Just as the ethanol industry dodged a bullet in Washington, Mexico fired another one, imposing a 10% tariff on unprocessed pork that rises to 20% on July 5. It follows China’s imposition of a 25% tariff on U.S. pork in April.

“China went from fourth on our export list down to about seventh because of tariffs being put on them,” economist Hart says.

The newest tariff from Mexico is in retaliation for the Trump administration’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Tariffs on pork are already hurting prices paid to farmers. But the threats of other tariffs are less clear.

China has threatened a 25% tariff on soybeans, but prices for that commodity have so far fared better than pork.

“The worst that it got was that first day China announced soybeans were on the list,” Hart says. “Within an hour we saw significant recovery.”

That’s partly because in the real world of farmers’ fields, weather threatens yields from South America to Texas and Oklahoma.

“You’ve got weather and international supply propping prices up,” Hart says. “Every day I can give you a positive news story or a negative news story to balance out the markets.”

Still, Hart believes farmers should take these new tariff threats seriously.

“You want to pay attention. If these tariffs go into effect, there’s going to be a pricing impact,” he says.

Hart has studied the effect of tariffs imposed on some commodities, including grain sorghum, when tariffs were imposed in the past. Generally, prices fall then start to recover, but not to the level before tariffs were imposed.

“You’re not going to like that first six months after tariffs go in place,” he says.

Cheers to the End of #Plant18


According to the latest USDA Crop Progress Report corn planting has finished in Illinois and Missouri. In Iowa, Nebraska, and North Carolina farmers have just 1% of corn planting remaining. If favorable conditions continue farmers in Indiana, Minnesota, and Tennessee may also be done planting corn by the time next week’s report is published.

Here’s how farmers in North America have celebrated the end of the planting season.

1. Praying for rain.

2. Thanking the team.

3. But first, let me take a selfie.

4. Get the boat out.

5. Chocolate.

6. Crack a cold one.

Parents of #Plant18


Parenting is hard. And the stresses of planting season certainly don’t make it any easier. However, parents across North America are making the most of it and soaking up special memories with their children this season.

Crops aren’t the only things growing in the fields this spring. The imaginations and skills of farm kids all around the country are growing too as they watch and work with their family.

These kids will treasure memories of heading to the field in their pajamas for years to come.

Planting traditions last for generations.

It's all fun and games until something breaks.

It’s the little things now that become big things later on.

You’re never too old for a tractor ride with Mom or Dad.

Who knew having kids would come in so handy during planting season?

Sometimes kids are the best excuse to take a little break.

After all those years of making their lunch, sometimes they return the favor.

There’s no shortage of teaching opportunities during planting season.

The littlest farmers’ smiles keep everyone’s spirits up during the stressful times.