April 14, 2021

Rural Issues: Make your voice heard

Although National Agriculture Week is in the rearview mirror, there is still time to celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean communicate and educate. There are many ways you can do that in your local community.


The Zipline: A shot at normal

“When we all get to a new normal” — I cannot tell you how many calls and meetings I have ended with that phrase in the last year. We have missed gathering, celebrating milestones and doing ordinary life together. Of course, some things haven’t gone virtual, like farm and ranch life.


How farmers are helping food banks feed America

My father spent 30 years in the rice business and I remember driving a “bank out” wagon to transport the grain before I ever drove a car. From those rural roots I came to appreciate that farmers are the foundation of our nation’s food system, providing the nourishing foods we all need to lead healthy, happy lives.


The Zipline: Time to grow biofuel use

As homegrown fuels, ethanol and biodiesel have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower gas prices, increase demand for corn and soybeans and decrease our dependence on foreign energy sources. But the road to success has sometimes been a bumpy one, so we must keep paving the way to ensure a sustainable future with renewable fuels.


Farm & Food File: The AltEn mess gets even messier

On March 1, Nebraska’s attorney general threw the book at AltEn, alleging the 24-million-gallon per year ethanol maker near Mead spent most of the last five years making an environmental mess of its biofuels plant and the surrounding rural community.


Rural Issues: Act would put ranchers out of business

It was only a few weeks ago that I was celebrating the fact that the 2020 general election marked the first time in many years there were no animal rights — disguised as animal welfare — ballot initiatives on the ballot in any state. It seems like the animal rights activists in the state of Colorado overheard me and said, “Watch this!”


Frye: How to evaluate opportunities, make decisions for your operation

The best farm leaders are always on the lookout for new opportunities for their operation, in many different areas and forms. Opportunity can be found in anything from evaluating a piece of land that comes up for sale to learning new marketing and merchandising tools to trying out a new production method to determine whether it’s right for the operation.


Let’s revamp rural bridges into a resilient system

Illinois has 26,809 bridges, with 2,273 of them listed as structurally deficient and in urgent need of being fixed or replaced. In addition, 1,191 bridges have posted restrictions on size and weight. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the infrastructure a grade “C” in its report card.


The Zipline: A year later #StillFarming

Over the last year, America’s farmers and ranchers have reached over 100 million people with #StillFarming. It started as a simple message, a year ago, to reassure folks that we were still on the job, committed to getting food to everyone’s tables when the American Farm Bureau tweeted: “Farmers & ranchers are #StillFarming — providing for the nation during these challenging times.”