Author: Renae Vander Schaaf

A Great Place to Visit: The Valley of the Green Giant

A couple months ago, business took us to our northern bordering state of Minnesota. Since we have gotten pretty good at combining business with pleasure, once our work was done, we pulled of I-90 into the town of Blue Earth which happens to be the center of the United States longest highway. The town’s name actually comes from the greenish-blue clay found along the river banks of the Blue Earth River which surrounds it. The mineral Illite gives their soil its blue hue. The famous Jolly Green Giant welcomed us. This sixty foot giant pulled me off the interstate...

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Stockyards: A True Ag Experience

As time goes by, I am becoming more aware of the fact I am getting older. It’s not just that person who looks back at me in the mirror or the fact my high school class is planning its fortieth class reunion for later this year. The real moment of truth dawned on me recently, with the dedication of a new museum, of which its past activity was a big part of my childhood, now existing only in my memories. Jim Woster, a former commission man, rallied the troops so that on March 1, 2017, a museum dedicated to...

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Prairie Life is Not Always Nice to Chickens

Midwestern winters can be notorious for its subzero temperatures, blizzards, bitterly cold and powerful winds and short days with little sunshine. That lack of sun sometimes causes lethargy in all creatures. One bright spot for me each day is the few minutes I spend taking care of my chickens. Right now, I only have nine older hens and one scrawny young rooster who has just learned to crow. Since this winter has been a mild one, my chickens get to enjoy the outdoors. They are so happy when the door is open, and they can go out and do...

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Who Should Determine Ag Policy?

A new year has begun, and with it, a new presidency – nothing new as that happens in America every four or eight years. But this time it’s something a bit different as this man has been a business owner, an investor in his personal livelihood just as you and I have been as farmers and business owners. As Donald Trump begins his presidency, he is putting together advisors and selecting people to serve on various committees and boards. Just imagine you were him—what would be the qualifications you would demand of the people you will choose to be...

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The ‘Farmer’ Barbie Doll

Recently, a friend posted on a face book that there is a Farmer Barbie Doll. It was easy to see they didn’t use me as the model. No matter how hard I try, my hair will never bounce like that. My coveralls and sweatshirts are leftovers from our growing farm children. I am pretty good at not wearing competing implement or seed dealer apparel at the same time. With a bit more research, I discovered ‘Barbie’ has a lot of agriculture related items. Interesting… But when you think about it, all Barbies ever designed encompasses the many different roles...

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