Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Who Dies?

I was reading the Ohio Country Journal this morning and read an article by Les Anderson at the University of Kentucky that sure expresses my life long sentiment. Who decides who dies?

It surely isn't the American Farmer who busts his tail producing the cheapest and best source of food in the world. It surely isn't Francis Childs who grew the best corn I ever saw in this picture. It sure wasn't me or any farmer I have met.

Why would we work in a profession that harms us let alone or fellow man? It never happened and isn't going to.

"Working in an academic environment is interesting for an "aggie". I grew up in the middle-of-nowhere Missouri on a family farm. My father worked his rear end off every day trying to forge a living from the soil; both crops and forage. Life was tough and we didn't have any "extra spending money". Life was also good and I wouldn't have traded my childhood for any other.

My background and love for agriculture makes my life a bit stressful today. Agriculture is under attack. We have the cheapest and safest food supply in the world; yet, our society seems to take exception to our methods of production. The media constantly bombards the public with "factory farm" concepts, mistreatment of animals, and how our current methods of agriculture are destroying the environment. The current trends in "thought" from the national media are that agriculture needs to return to its roots with the production of more "organic" foods and more "sustainable" methods of production. Many universities seem to support these ideas. Is there anything wrong with organic/alternative methods of agriculture?

No, I support any method farmers can use to help improve their profitability. But alternative methods of production most often reduce productivity. Basically, the prevailing theories seem to indicate that the world would be better off if we would go back to the methods of production in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Hmmm. Let's think about this for a minute.What will happen if we do return to the levels and methods of production from that era of agriculture?

Without the use of current methods of production, our ability to produce food will drop 50-60%. As Dr. Burris indicated in the previous article, one mechanized farmer in the 1960's could feed about 29 people whereas today's farmer can feed 129 people. The population of the world in 1960 was about 3 billion people, and today is nearly 7 billion people. What will happen if we return to the production levels of 1960? What will happen to food prices when availability decreases?

Currently, the US population spends the least amount of their yearly income on food than any country in the world. How many people could afford milk if the price went to $7 per gallon? How would your spending change if you had to use 30-40% of your salary to just cover food? According to the USDA, only 19 countries in the world spend less than 20% of their income on food; only 4 spend less than 10%.

If your food costs doubled, could you pay your mortgage, car payments, or go on vacation?Finally, what is nature's method of population control? Starvation. If we reduce the food supply, who suffers? Where will we get the food we need to survive? The Chinese have already stated that they will fight for food. Will you? A limited food supply will support a limited population. Who decides who dies?

Source: Dr. Les Anderson, Beef Cattle Specialist, University of Kentucky

That expresses the ag sentiment very well. Kyle and Matt and crew do a good job of reporting these things as well as all of my ag reporting friends. Kyle wrote and editorial on The USDA's report of what it costs to raise a child now, $222,000. Now that takes into account the house and expenses a couple would have anyway but raising a family does take all your energy and ability to make money, no doubt.

We have a vested interest here because we have six children and grandchild number eight is coming in October. We have all done everything in our power to do it right. Our farm roots run deep and it shows in our family. I am very happy about that but all we hear, too often, is the plight of the people due to their own stupidity. Ignorance can be fixed but stupid is forever.

Who decides who dies? You better ponder that one real closely!

Ed Winkle

Alice Musser at NoTill Farmer sent me a new video from Great Plains on how they will help meet the growing need for food with their new twin row planting system. It looks good across the country where I have seen it. At least this video is interesting and addresses the issue I discussed today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We were so blessed to get rain again this weekend. This farm had 1.2 inches in one gauge, 1.5 in another and 2 inches in another. Some had 3-4 inches, most received around an ince.

This wheat is in the hands of the miller who will mill it into flour for Nabisco and beome Oreo cookies and the like. That field is sprouting double crop soybeans today, the earliest I have got that accomplished. This weather is 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule.

I like the old windmill in the background, I got a few pictures of it Saturday. The weather is a lot less oppresive than it was Saturday. The rain broke that heat wave and the cooler weather is here.

I have met so many new people this last week with the harvest, grain delivery, soybean planting, and just driving from one place to the other. The chemical tuck driver was raised on a dairy farm near Wooster and we knew some of the same people. He was another displaced driver from the closing of DHL.

One man I met had just lost his wife, both in their seventies, and is taking it very hard. I pray for the greiving and confused people of the world.

The longer you work with the same person the more you get to know one another. I reinforced the fact that I live in a very good place and work with very good people I like.

I was invited to speak and participate in midsouth meeting next month and it will be a great opportunity to meet more people and learn and share ideas. One thing is for sure, I don't miss classroom teaching anymore, paid my dues and glad I turned it over to the younger generation.

I think all of you younger folks are doing a good job and I wish you well.

In two days it is July, this year is just flying by too quickly. I hope we can see some of the family this weekend.


Monday, June 28, 2010


I sent out a glyphosate article from AP to my brain trust and this reply was interesting:

Thanks for the Mercer AP piece, Ed. Wish all I had to do was respond to this type of journalism. Not much in it for that redeems it from the file "13" category. Reminds me of using a decoy when hunting geese.

His credibility went right out the window in paragraph six..." glyphosate, is absorbed through plants' leaves and kills them by blocking the production of proteins they need to grow. At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers it to have little toxicity to people and animals, and aside from the plants it's sprayed on, it's less of a threat to the environment because it quickly binds to soil and becomes inactive."There is so much half-truth and pseudo science in these two sentences i don't even want to begin. I'll simply commend the author and my fellows to the Huber, Means and Kremer work and a host of others from France, Russia and numerous other countries who do REAL research on glyphosate chemical. Just in case you don't take the time to read thru the content on the website, I'll mention just a couple of things. GLY blocks protein production alright. It does it by chelating micro and macro minerals in soil and plant tissues. The proteins which are interfered with are essential to plant resistance to disease organisms. The infection of the plant that results is lethal. The chelation goes on and on and is anything but inactive. The environment that is threatened by the GLY residue in soil, now documented to able to persist at least ten years is biocidal against aerobic beneficials and stimulating to pathogens including pythium, phytophthera, and fusarium.

Playing the erosion card..."Farmers also found they could cut back or in some cases eliminate tilling, reducing erosion and fuel use." A casual examination of soil erosion on no-till acres would quickly reveal to any but the biased observer that there is alot soil movement taking place. How many times have the formulae had to be changed to try to account for actual soil loss in no-till ?This is the most ridiculous assertion in the whole piece..."just enough genetic variation to survive what kills most of their relatives." This whole Darwinian deception has so many captivated by fuzzy thinking that the carnage goes on for a prolonged period before it is too late. When the University of Guelph finds the enzyme for GLy-Tolerance in the bodies of four different major genera of soil insects, doesn't it seem likely that the bio-type that resists GLY was not there in the field until it was created. And then that becomes a distraction to the real event which is the proliferation of genes in the rhizosphere that have nothing to do with herbicide resistance. If you haven't read the Engdahl book, Seeds of Destruction and Smith's book, Seeds of Deception or Genetic Roulette, you need to if you think this article brings anything of lasting value to the table.Quoting a man from down-under I assume is supposed to add credibility? In Australia, weed scientist Stephen Powles has been a sort of evangelist for saving Roundup, calling it a near-miraculous farming tool. Why not talk about the increasing problem of Head scab in wheat (fusarium) since increases the use of GLY. Talk to the Canadian Wheat Board if you want to get an ear-full about the problem since they started growing RR Canola in the wheat rotation. The problem with GLY is NOT REALLY resistant weeds. It is a pathogen load that doesn't just go away when one stops use of the chemical or the gly chemical that is contained in the harvested GM and non-GM crop. Secondly, it's about unidentified altered portions of the DNA which will be reproduced in the soil ( the healthier the soil, the more pervasive the genes become) that are destined to find their way into the normally healthy food stuffs and feed grains. Whatever they are, these extraneous enzymes in GM soy are now documented in independent feeding trials to induce sterility and increase infant mortality in hamsters, and rats. These DNA segments are in your soil now and being embraced and duplicated for incorporation into the genome of virtually anything that grows there after that day. Glyphosate tolerance development in weed species is the prima facea proof of something much more serious, than weeds that no longer die when sprayed with Roundup!!Does anybody smell the coffee yet??? It's been brewin' for quite awhile.
Jim Martindaledba Hunchun God's Soil Tillage Manufacturing Company Ltd.Park One Economic Cooperation ZoneHunchun City, Jilin, PR China 133315freight contact phone 1303-909-4603 and North American Ag-Gro Consulting17535 N. State Road #1 Spencerville , IN 46788 genesis821jim@yahoo.com verizon cell 315-408-2584 forwarded to Kathleen Gardner Direct from any phone, anywhere using Skype 260-918-0481 or jrmartindale China Mobile 1,303,909,4600 China Home Address: 228-2 Zhanqian Dong DaJieHunchun City , Jilin Province, PR China 133300 On 6/26/2010 8:07 PM, Ed Winkle wrote:

By DAVID MERCER (AP) – 5 days ago
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — When the weed killer Roundup was introduced in the 1970s, it proved it could kill nearly any plant while still being safer than many other herbicides, and it allowed farmers to give up harsher chemicals and reduce tilling that can contribute to erosion.
But 24 years later, a few sturdy species of weed resistant to Roundup have evolved, forcing farmers to return to some of the less environmentally safe practices they abandoned decades ago.

The situation is the worst in the South, where some farmers now walk fields with hoes, killing weeds in a way their great-grandfathers were happy to leave behind. And the problem is spreading quickly across the Corn Belt and beyond, with Roundup now proving unreliable in killing at least 10 weed species in at least 22 states. Some species, like Palmer amaranth in Arkansas and water hemp and marestail in Illinois, grow fast and big, producing tens of thousands of seeds.

"It's getting to be a big deal," said Mike Plumer, a 61-year-old farmer and University of Illinois agronomist who grows soybeans and cotton near the southern Illinois community of Creal Springs. "If you've got it, it's a real big deal."(Mike is a friend in Illinois)

When Monsanto introduced Roundup in 1976, "it was like the best thing since sliced bread," said Garry Niemeyer, who grows corn and soybeans near Auburn in central Illinois.

The weed killer, known generically as glyphosate, is absorbed through plants' leaves and kills them by blocking the production of proteins they need to grow. At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers it to have little toxicity to people and animals, and aside from the plants it's sprayed on, it's less of a threat to the environment because it quickly binds to soil and becomes inactive.

Monsanto's introduction of seeds designed to survive Roundup made things even better for farmers because they could spray it on emerging crops to wipe out the weeds growing alongside them. Seeds containing Monsanto's Roundup Ready traits are now used to grow about 90 percent of the nation's soybeans and 70 percent of its corn and cotton.

With increased reliance on Roundup, herbicide use on corn decreased from 2.76 pounds an acre in 1994 to 2.06 in 2005, the most recent year for which the U.S. Department of Agriculture has data. Spread that out over the 81.8 million acres planted in 2005, and it's a decrease of more than 57 million pounds of herbicides annually.

Farmers also found they could cut back or in some cases eliminate tilling, reducing erosion and fuel use.

But with any herbicide, the more it's used, the more likely it'll run into individual plants within a species that have just enough genetic variation to survive what kills most of their relatives. With each generation, the survivors represent a larger percentage of the species.

St. Louis-based Monsanto maintains the resistance is often overstated, noting that most weeds show no sign of immunity.

"We believe that glyphosate will remain an important tool in the farmers' arsenal," Monsanto spokesman John Combest said.

That said, the company has started paying cotton farmers $12 an acre to cover the cost of other herbicides to use alongside Roundup to boost its effectiveness.

The trend has confirmed some food safety groups' belief that biotechnology won't reduce the use of chemicals in the long run.

"That's being reversed," said Bill Freese, a chemist with the Washington, D.C.-based Center For Food Safety, which promotes organic agriculture. "They're going to dramatically increase use of those chemicals, and that's bad news."

The first weeds in the U.S. that survived Roundup were found about 10 years ago in Delaware.
Agricultural experts said the use of other chemicals is already creeping up. Monsanto and other companies are developing new seeds designed to resist older herbicides like dicamba and 2,4-D, a weed killer developed during World War II and an ingredient in Agent Orange, which was used to destroy jungle foliage during the Vietnam War and is blamed for health problems among veterans.

Penn State University weed scientist David Mortensen estimates that in three or four years, farmers' use of dicamba and 2,4-D will increase by 55.1 million pounds a year because of resistance to Roundup. That would push both far up the list of herbicides heavily used by farmers.

Dicamba and 2,4-D both easily drift beyond the areas where they're sprayed, making them a threat to neighboring crops and wild plants, Mortensen said. That, in turn, could also threaten wildlife.

"We're finding that the (wild) plants that grow on the field edges actually support beneficial insects, like bees," he said.

In Australia, weed scientist Stephen Powles has been a sort of evangelist for saving Roundup, calling it a near-miraculous farming tool.

Australia has been dealing with Roundup-resistant weeds since the mid 1990s, but changes in farming practices have helped keep it effective, Powers said. That has included using a broader array of herbicides to kill off Roundup resistant weeds and employing other methods of weed control.
Those alternative methods, such as planting so-called cover crops like rye to hold back weeds during the winter and other times when fields aren't planted with corn, soybeans or cotton, are the key, said Freese, the Center For Food Safety chemist.

Otherwise, he said, "We're talking a pesticide treadmill here. It's just coming back to kick us in the butt now with resistant weeds."

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Related articles
Roundup resistant weeds pose environmental threat The Associated Press - 4 days ago
Roundup resistant weeds pose environmental threat The Associated Press - 5 days ago
Super Weeds: Another Reason Why Organic Farming is the Solution Technorati (blog) - 4 days ago
More coverage (1) »

One friend said the big AP article was old news. For others it triggers the big news.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wheat Harvest

Wheat harvest is over. Double crop soybeans are in the ground. The last fields will be sprayed tomorrow. What an experience this was!

I got to the highest point on the farms again yesterday and the breeze kept me alive in the awesome heat. Good thing I left Sable at home, it was not fit for man nor beast. It sure was a beautiful view from up there, though.

Thinking about the crop since I decided to go ahead with it in October, so much has happened yet it seems like yesterday. Pay day finally came, not as good as I had hoped but not bad either. That wet spring hurt the yield then the heat we had the last two weeks killed all the wheat around here prematurely. Usually harvest is around July 4. One year it went into August and that is bad.
I should average 60 lb test weight according to the weigh slips. That would be a new record for me but I would trade it for some of that yield loss. The miller ought to be real happy.

At least this gives us a two week jump on the double crop soybeans but I think the weather is two weeks ahead of the calendar and it really won't matter unless you didn't get yours in yet.

Some forecasters says we will still get remnants of El Nino but Dr. Elwynn Taylor at Iowa State says there is a 70% chance we are in La Nina and it will be hot and dry the rest of the summer. That is reminiscent of 1983, a very bad year for many farmers. Who knows?
We went crop scouting last night and we started to see early fields in tassle so we had to go by ours and sure enough, it had tassles peaking out! That is record early for here, too, I never saw corn in tassle in June before.
It doesn't seem to matter what maturity corn it is, if it is planted before April 26 it is flowering. That tells me it is under some stress from little roots but also reflects the amount of heat and rain it has received.
It's only a portion of the crop in southern Ohio but it feels good to see it. The news we were watching told viewers that local sweet corn is at the markets already and it was the earliest for it, too.
I hope we get a shower tonight or tomorrow to break this heat as predicted and then it will be nice next week.
I am just thankful for everything today and I hope you are, too.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Don't Fall

Two of my elderly lady friends fell this week. One is out the hospital and in a nursing home and the other is using a walker. I hope they can recover to some sort of resemblance of a regular life. Falling down in elderly people is a big problem and often a major change in lifestyle.

The corn market fell down too as corn made a key reversal in the market this week. Crop conditions and weather is about our only hope on this crop for a decent price this year. I still have hope because this crop has lots of holes in it and other market factors could go either way. The crop report on Wednesday will have bearing on the price for awhile until the truth hits the market and that may take many months.

My tallest beans got sprayed so I hope they can make their full potential now. That is one field and it feels like one small step for one man but a giant leap in his work getting done.

We should be able to finish wheat harvest and double crop planting today. I can deliever beans Monday if I can get them out of the bins and we are down to the shoveling and bin sweep part to clean them both out so next week is booked already and that is job one now.

Everything needs to sprayed and mowed after that. My corn is laid by for the year, it is tall and everything has been done and one field of beans. Now every other field gets attention and that is all but six fields. There must be over twenty, I haven't even figured that up.

I signed up for faster DSL speed and online backup yesterday so maybe I will get our computer systems back to full efficiency again. Everything got so slow this week I had to do something.

We went to a big hogroast last night with 150 people and enjoyed the fireworks afterwards on a beautiful summer night. I was almost too tired to enjoy it but it was really good. I met a young man from the local Deere dealership and we graduated from the same high school and knew many of the same families. His wife had just taken a job with one of my grain buyers. It is really a small world when you get to know people.

Working around this heat is no small task the past two weeks. Hope you get rain if you need it and it stops if you don't.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Wheat Harvest

Wheat harvest is over half over. Yesterday when I visited the buyer, our grain milling plant, I had the highest test weight in the pile of slips the manager showed me. That makes you feel good when something turned out right.

I tried to do everything right from the day I decided to plant wheat on those erodible, rolling hills. The planting date was a week or two later than I would have preferred but farmers planted the lowest amount of wheat dating back to 1953 and even 1913. I remember the lines of wheat going to market past our farm in Sardinia.

The wheat line was short at Jeffersonville but they are set up to unload semi's fast. Much more grain goes through in an hour than 1953. And who would have imagined two combines with 30 foot plus heads cutting wheat for me and a 1100 bushel grain cart catching it?

The 36 foot air drill is planting double crop soybeans right behind those combines record early too. Since you only cut wheat with the sunshine out it is easy for it to keep up. I think the year is two weeks ahead of schedule for the date but I won't find out until this fall. At least all my ground will be planted and almost all of it had a good cover crop all winter.

All of my seed should have had T-22 on it. Some didn't. Those acres suffered and I had to kill some of the worst stands and plant back to beans last month. I know it added test weight and yield as it usually does. I average about 12 more bushel of wheat with it, 7 bu of corn and two or three bushels of soybeans.

The new form of it has been released and is called SabrEx. I got some to put on my corn and it looks excellent. These trichaderma fungi colonize on the roots and eat the pythium, fusarium and other diseases that hurt the crop roots. I want that on all my seed and plantings just like I have with T-22 since it came out in 1996.

The crew is tired and I am wore out. We need a break and I hope we can all take one next week but there is so much to do. I can't even keep my yard mowed.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Freedom to Farm

It's too damp to cut wheat so let's blog a little bit. What do you think of this piece from

Crops grow in dirt. Animals don't take showers or use toilets. Food is made from yucky stuff.

This means there is always the chance of contamination. We have greatly reduced that risk
but it is not yet possible to eliminate it. Attempts to make everything perfectly safe are Utopian fantasies that carry a high price in increased costs, reduced variety, diminished supply, and . . . increased risk.

The free market already provides you with multiple ways to balance risks and costs. You can choose between . . .

Organic and non-organic food
Locally grown food, or food from far away
Processed or non-processed food
Natural or genetically engineered food
The politicians want to reduce this variety, and your choices, in favor of their preferred scheme of top-down, one-size-fits-all regulation. But do such monolithic schemes really make us safer? What if the one-size-fits-all scheme gets something wrong, overlooks something, or has unintended consequences? Then everybody suffers, whereas . . .
The choices provided by the free market tend to limit the harm caused by mistakes. It's like having a diversified portfolio of investments. Sadly, politicians aren't fond of diversity. They much prefer their own arrogant dreams for re-engineering the world. Now here comes their latest one . . .
Some politicians want to exploit highly publicized food-borne outbreaks to remake American agriculture, from the top down. These outbreaks were generally the result of industrialized food production, but, as with 9/11 and the housing bubble, politicians like to use crises to grab the power to re-do everything. In this case the most infamous proposal of the 111th Congress was H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act. This bill would've created . . .
a vast new bureaucracy, the Food Safety Administration (FSA)
an army of inspectors with the power to seize the papers and effects of farmers without a warrant
a system to track every morsel of food from the farm to the supermarket, in combination with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)
a pile of reports for farmers to file
It also would've. . .
defined a regulated "food production facility" to potentially include backyard gardens
given FSA bureaucrats wide latitude to define "safety" so as to potentially ban organic farming
ined violators of FSA regulations up to $1 million per day with no judicial review
asserted federal jurisdiction even when food hadn't cross state lines
When we first launched this campaign back in April, we mentioned that House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman said "he intends to pass a strong food safety bill soon."
This bill we warned you about, the 109-page H.R. 2749, is here.
The good news is that some of the most egregious trial balloons from earlier bills such as H.R. 875 have gone by the wayside . . .
There will be no new Food Safety Administration bureaucracy
The bill seems to define "farm" in such a way that backyard gardens won't be included in the regulations
Direct farm-to-consumer, farm-to-restaurant, and farm-to-grocery store transactions will be exempt
There is no implementation or incorporation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)
YOU are to be thanked for this. DC Downsizers were part of a large army of concerned citizens that killed earlier bills.
But the bad news is still very bad. This bill . . .
authorizes warrantless searches of farms
imposes a $500 tax (or "registration fee") of all operators in all steps of the food production chain

Please oppose H.R. 2749, S.510, and all other so-called food safety bills."

Actually crops grow in soil but we can do it at greater expense without soil now. Farmers provide showers for animals and better waste disposal than most humans have on earth. Food is made from good stuff. You get the drift but I support the freedom to farm.

Mr. Ed Winkle
3308 Martinsville RoadMartinsville, OH 45146-9721


Pray for little Harper, please. Her grandpa is farmer and I think grandpa is pretty worried over her.

"Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:17 PM, CDT
Wow, summer is flying by outside this all too familiar hospital window! Today, we find ourselves anxiously awaiting 7pm so that we can be discharged and go home!Last weeks hospital stay of 6 days ended with a Harper's broviac:( Her IV line came disconnected from her broviac and when a nurse was flushing her line it popped!! Most likely it was twisted and kinked from her many movements but nonetheless the rest of that night was nothing short of traumatizing for Harper and I. We had to call the IV team for a repair.....yep that's the 4th repair to her line...unbelievable! Surgery was called in to check out the repair and considered booking her for a surgery to put a whole new line in but we decided NO WAY were we doing that at this time. She has enough going on and every single repair has been due to someone at the hospital breaking it...not Harper or I.

we'll see how this 4th repair holds up and deal with it as long as we dont have any infections in it.We were able to be home for 5 whole days before returning for chemo this last Wed and my did Harper rebound!!! She was so hyper and happy about everything all day! We spent alot of time outside splashing in grandma's pool (just the toes, she cant swim due to the broviac) and playing with cousins. Her personality and verbal skills really seemed to further develop which makes it very difficult to bring her back here for more toxic waste

She has actually done extremely well with this round of chemo compared with the nightmare 3 weeks ago. We started her on the Ativan and other anti-nauseau meds before the chemo was ever started and continued them around the clock. This definitely seemed to help her in a big way! She has puked a couple times but mostly just felt really icky and gaggy.

We are planning to do the CT scan in 2 weeks to evaluate the tumor size and will decide from there rather to continue these drugs or make changes in the plan or move forward with a stem cell transplant.....nothing is black and white....mostly a "wait and see" sort of thing.The last several weeks have been nothing short of exhausting in every way shape and form for our entire family.

Many of you have relentlessly remained close to our side and assisted in all ways imaginable. Laughs, food, cards, emails, calls, and simple "here if you need me"'s mean so much to all us. THANK YOU! Keep the prayers and support coming! Your efforts are proving to do wonders for Harper's treatment and our sanity!"

These little ones really tug at your heart strings. We cut 5000 bu of wheat yesterday between showers. Barley is done, wheat is start, double crop soybeans going into the ground.

Had some beautiful photo op's yesterday but wouldn't you know I forgot the camera. Gleaner R-65, 72 and 75 all running on the same ridge. Beautiful music.

We survived the heat and Who's Place in Greenfield will bring food to the field.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


It is getting such it is illegal to do anything. It is illegal to record a conversation without permission in 12 states. The news showed a guy with a mike on his motorcycle helmit and he could be sentenced up 16 years but will probably get off with probation.

When millions break a law, you just can't catch them all. I need to record a few conversations with people who tell me one thing and do another.

"The town of Fremont, Neb., voted in favor of a proposed law to ban the hiring of or renting housing to illegal immigrants. It’s making national news.

Indulge me for a moment, but this issue does take some actual thought that it seems neither side is even remotely close to thinking about and the talking heads on TV refuse to acknowledge. The views are divergent, but they are not “out there.”

First, why is it wrong to make it illegal to hire people who are not here legally? Isn’t hiring illegal aliens by definition, well, illegal?

If you travel across the globe you will see various responses to your visit to view agriculture. This has included several trips to Western Europe, multiple trips to Brazil and one trip to Ukraine. Everywhere I went, it was made very clear to me: If you’re an American, take your passport and your visa (if one is required in the country) whenever you are out. In other words, carry your papers so you are documented.

In Ukraine, we always felt the presence of the local police (armed with automatic rifles) walking the streets. They could tell our group was filled with Americans (passports at the ready), and they stared us down every time. The convenience stores were very modern, very clean. But the rifle-toting security guards did not allow us to use the restrooms each time we stopped. Why? Because they could. They had very large, very high-caliber rifles. We would find a tree or pay $1 to use much less-modern facilities.When I have visited Brazil, I have had to bring notarized letters stating that I am not going to Brazil to purchase farmland, I would not do any technical work while I was there, and numerous other promises under threat of criminal action. It is Brazil’s law and their rules. I even had to produce these documents at one point to a police officer. No big deal, I was there legally and doing nothing wrong.

Now, on the other hand, why does Fremont, Neb., need to pass a law like this? They have multiple meatpacking plants, which means multiple jobs. Thing is, I haven’t ever seen Americans pounding down the doors to work at these jobs, and somebody has to. If we continue driving people who are happy to get a paycheck out of our country, who will do these jobs? What could the future mean for agriculture if we suddenly have nobody in this country willing to work on the cutline at packing plants?

I can't even find anyone to shovel out a grain bin. I can't physically do it and I don't blame them on a day like today when it is miserably hot and muggy.

We have no control on that but we sure can make up silly laws.

Stay cool today.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There are a lot of headlines in the news right now that catch my eye.

Gulf Oil Spill

Story after story from every angle. That Russian scientist's prediction this could go on for years is very scary.


Weather extremes from coast to coast. Is it global warming or cooling or just cycles? How does it affect me and my family? It is really stressing farmers out with lots of cash on the line, will the safety nets be needed and will they be enough if they are?


Supreme Court rules lower court is wrong on its decision to delay RoundUp Ready alfalfa. Biotech and glyphosate are really in the ag news right now. Many huge court decisions are happening or going to happen that are going to impact our future. Do we have the right justices in place?


You can feel the heat bulding for the November elections building already. Tea Party, Downsize DC, Republican, Democrat is ruling the news of who will rule.


Someone important is ill all the time whether it is your spouse or some famous person. A generation is passing right before our eyes and soon the WWII vets will be gone.


It's the economy, stupid, shouldn't this be first? Is it strong, is it weak? Have we borrowed too much money? This one impacts us all and determines what we do day to day. Some act like there is no tomorrow!

My headline is Winkle Struggles to harvest a crop and plant another. It is a day to day battle. We got most of the barley cut yesterday but got rained out harvesting and double cropping soybeans. Sable got scared when the storm blew through yesterday and knocked a panel out of the new screen door. It seems like that would be a headline somewhere if you watch much news!

The first day of summer came in more like the Lion of March here than a dog lazy day.

I wonder what today will bring?


Monday, June 21, 2010


It was a hot Father's Day. Looks like a week or more of hot weather coming, too. Barley harvest is rounding up here and time for wheat, a bit early this year. These pop up showers will rule the work.

Liam and I had a blast as usual, it was good to see him. The new baby is coming along well and Caolin is pretty as a picture. Each child has their own unique characteristics and I love them all.

Trying to figure out what to cut first and how to get it there and see how they grade it while keeping Sable out of trouble.

We planted some new apple trees and she must be short of nutrients, she wanted to eat Tree Toner. She sure doesn't look like she is missing anything!

She sure is a winter dog, she doesn't like this hot weather and she is such a companion she just wants to be close although she is panting. Lots of water and sunblock this week is needed for sure!

Had a surprise visit from my sister and brother in law, what a treat! We will have to get back down there and see her new brood when we get this next big chore done.

The crop is all over the board from good to ugly. The excess water is taking and going to take its toll. Somehow we have to remain cool and collected through all of this.

It's a new, different and uncertain year, for sure!

I had some good pictures to post but it was so hot the camera label got over the tip of the lense and ruined them! You think I would have seen that?

Uh oh, I see showers already north of here on the radar!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

I took off for the evening and went to the NTPA Spring Nationals just up the road at Wlimington, Ohio last evening. It was perfect weather for a pull after a week of rain and heat.

My old friend SnoFarmer was third place in the mods. Young Blood won the new 8300 diesel, Esdon was second, not as much power and the track gave a lot of guys fits. Young Blood had the best pull of the night, very smooth straight and powerful.

He said they were only half done planting beans and the crop is not very good but theirs was as good as an or at least they were satisfied with what they have done given the weather. I talked to one of my former students most of the evening and just caught the jist of the pull.

I talked to Hans Boxler of Varysburg, NY on SR-20A. They fall under the corn is knee high by the fourth of July rule and said they met that rule this year although NY has had difficult growing conditions, too. I always think of Hans when we head east out of East Aurora to LuAnn's mom's house. They run a huge dairy farm in southwest NY.

I didn't get to talk to Esdon Lane, another former dairy farmer from Minnesota. Esdon was always a class act to talk to as far as I am concerned and has done as well in tractor pulling as anyone I have watched the last 40 years.

Every farmer there from whatever part of the country said about the same thing. They all have some good fields but lots of fields have problems. There are sure plenty of holes and poor crops around here. It is still early on the calendar but it may not be for crops not knowing the weather the rest of the year.

Weeds in soybeans is the big issue now. Anyone who doesn't spray their own fields is at the mercy of the custom operators and they are swamped.

It's good to talk about past years until you realize how fast they went and what you have to do right now.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bold Fresh

We went to Columbus yesterday for the Bold, Fresh Tour by O'Reilley and Beck for our 45th anniversary. Yes, that is nine years times the factor of five we have lived those years.

We had dinner at the Japanese Steak House on High Street near the Nationwide Arena. It was as good as ever but downtown has changed so much over the years. The Char Bar was still there though like it was in 1968.

We were approached by people handing out flyers and we assumed they were protestors. They weren't. They were advertizing conservative websites and talk shows and related things.

The program started a few minutes late because of the traffic jams in the city from the President being there to comment on his government stimulus projects there. Betty, who we ate dinner with didn't go home after work at Majestic Paint company and had dinner while the traffic eased up.

We had a great conversation and learned she had just lost her 44 year old daughter to cancer after losing her brother and sister to it. She and her son are the last family members remaining. She commented she prayed she would be with good people for dinner and so it was. That alone was worth the trip.

The Chalk Board was introduced first then its operator, Glenn Beck. With lots of humor he showed the circle including George Soros, CAPS, two brothers, BP, our President and the proposed drilling twice as deep as Gulf well off the coast of Brazil. He also showed how it was being funded. The talk was very revealing yet light with humor as this kind of thing has been going on forever.

He went on his tyrade about Woodrow Wilson as "the most evil president in history, so far..." and how we got out of the 1920 and 1946 Depressions.

Then Bill O'Reilly came out while Beck went backstage and he is as tall as they say he is. With a black beard and tophat like Lincoln, he would make a good impersonator. His best impersonation though was step two of the presedential folly he described when James Carville did the piece "we are dying down here."

Then there was a 15 minute intermission and they both sat on stage for a question and answer session where they really picked on each other but supported each other's principles.

It was FOX News live and it was good. It was really good to be with an arena full of people who see problems like we do.

Nothing will change unless we change it. I see change coming this fall.

Ed Winkle

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Flowers

We noticed our first flowers of summer a week early this week. That is if you go by the calendar which isn't very accurate some years, years like this one.

The first soybeans are flowering, the lillies opened up, the hydrangeas are flowering and the second planting of sweet corn is flowering. These are all heat and light dependent, some more one way than the other.

My goal was to have soybeans in flower by the summer solstice like I talked about at the National NoTillage Conference in January. The teacher ought to practice what he preaches, you know. I did it! One grain buyer said that is nothing short of amazing.

The best thing is the tissue test came back very good as I reported this week. They are a little low in copper and copper gives stalk strength.

Boron (B)
Helps in the use of nutrients and regulates other nutrients.
Aids production of sugar and carbohydrates.
Essential for seed and fruit development.
Sources of boron are organic matter and borax
Copper (Cu)
Important for reproductive growth.
Aids in root metabolism and helps in the utilization of proteins.
Chloride (Cl)
Aids plant metabolism.
Chloride is found in the soil.
Iron (Fe)
Essential for formation of chlorophyll.
Sources of iron are the soil, iron sulfate, iron chelate.
Manganese (Mn)
Functions with enzyme systems involved in breakdown of carbohydrates, and nitrogen metabolism.
Soil is a source of manganese.
Molybdenum (Mo)
Helps in the use of nitrogen
Soil is a source of molybdenum.
Zinc (Zn)
Essential for the transformation of carbohydrates.
Regulates consumption of sugars.
Part of the enzyme systems which regulate plant growth.
Sources of zinc are soil, zinc oxide, zinc sulfate, zinc chelate.

Many farmers and gardeners don't pay much attention to these. I do. This is why MiracleGro fertilizer sells so well. It has a little of these in them but these nutrients are VERY expensive in this package. They are handy to apply this way and you use so little many people use this fertilizer.

It would cost a farmer many hundreds of dollars to feed his crop this way. You can do it much cheaper buying in bulk. I told one farmer he needed Boron and he wondered what it was and what it cost. It was going to cost him $8 per acre to add it to his mix. When I told him he would pick up at least 5 bushels of grain on his yield he thought it was cheap fertilizer. I notice his crops have really good color this summer.

We went for ice cream last night with Sable and the crops are all over the board around here from little to big and from good to poor. It is going to be an interesting harvest and it will be here before you know it.

I hope my neighbors have lots of visitors at their Summer Solstice Festival this weekend. They have a nice video of our area on their website.

The longest day of the year is almost here and the flowers show it.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Midwest Blog

Thanks to the help of my soil lab I was able to transform the picture on the right to the picture on the left! Pretty amazing, isn't it?
When you have your nutrient load in order it is easier for God and man to take something bad and make it good.
No the pictures were not taken in quite the exact same spot but I will do that. I forget to take pictures and say oh I have to get pictures then take a bunch and forget them again but you get my drift. That field had a huge change thanks to favorable weather activating my plan. Midwest Labs provides me information that is key to my plan.
The postmaster asked me yesterday why she couldn't grow the tasty sweet corn her dad did. We didn't have time to explain it all but I offered her a soil test and recommendation. Then I pull leave tissue like my crew is doing right now between jobs and fine tune my nutrient load.
I got a real good report back yesterday on our beautiful bean field. Everything was Sufficient except for K or Potassium which is Sufficient to High, a good place to be on this soil and the Boron that works in conjuction with it was slightly above normal plant needs. The copper was low though so I will add some copper sulfate in the next fertilizer to address that issue.
I got a less than desirable report back on my wheat which is low in K and Boron even though I put it on. My supplier and I have to figure out what happened.
If you watch RFDTV on satellite, record the AgPhD program. Darren and Brian just did a good piece on nutrient load. I hope Darren's blank slate farm is working out as well as our new farm. The corn on the left looks more like it. I enjoy Darren and Brian every week as we think very similarly although we are states apart.
I am meeting with Soil and Water Conservation, NRCS this morning to sign up for Conservation Security Program. Now even I can get rewarded for practicing what I preach across the country on my talks. No one likes government or paperwork intervention but if they want to reward me for doing a good job saving and build soil and protecting our environment for the future generations, I would be a fool not to participate.
When I logged into Midwest Labs website I saw someone at the lab has started a new blog, right down my alley. Take a look and see what you think. They have an interesting piece on McDonald's nutrition information and even though we don't eat there we know the grandkids love to go.
The air finally cooled off last night so we have nice weather again today but it is going to get muggy again. One of those muggy Ohio summers is with us again. Many compare the weather and grain markets to 1983 and I sure hope it doesn't mimic that with no rain the rest of the summer. The markets, yes they can go up like they did in 83.
You know we love our cake and eat it, too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Big Farmers

Big farmers get picked on. Big farmers get picked on a lot. They are called BTO's, Big Time Operators, hated for bidding up land prices unless you are the land owner and avoid small time conversation with small time people. They don't have time to anyway.

Think about what the farmer does:

planning a crop

planting that crop, usually at least 2 or 3 different ones and often many others

scouting that crop

spraying that crop

praying for that crop

marketing that crop

harvesting that crop

storing that crop

watching those bins

hauling that crop

That mandates the management of labor, capital, machinery, parts, repairs, fuel, government, reports and more reports, insurance, taxes and the list goes on forever every day.

Multiply the headache of an average farm whether 300 acres or 700 acres by ten or more and you have the freedom to farm and all the headaches that go with it.

A year likes this one is hard on everybody but use that or any multiplier and I haven't seen any larger farmers stop to talk very long. They and we all have our hands full. The weeds are outgrowing our intended crop and it rains every other day.

That big machinery may impress you and you may not like it when it is in your way but it feeds us all and is a living for a debatable one percent of our population.

Those are big, risky shoes to walk in.

Farming is still a dignified, necessary occupation, large or small. The average age of a farmer is around 60 years old so we are busy training the younger generation with that drive and desire we once had and maybe still have.

My hat is off to the big farmer but someone farmed it before you got there and someone will farm it when you are gone, regardless how large you are.

Big or small we all are tall when we do the right thing. I think we are doing the best we know how.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The School Farm

FLEMINGSBURG -- Fifty acres of land has been leased at Industrial Park II in Fleming County for the use of a school farm, according to a press release issued by Fleming County Schools.
The Fleming County Board of Education recently leased the property from the Fleming County Industrial Park Board. It will benefit the agricultural department at Fleming County High School.

"Fleming County students are fortunate to have continued community support year after years," agriculture teacher Tonya Phillips said. "This confirms the fact the community believes in and sees the value of the agriculture program at FCHS."

Phillips, along with other agriculture teachers Bobby Pease and Anne Clark, are pleased with the opportunities the farm will provide their students. "We appreciate the endless possibilities this will open for the agriculture student body, which involves over 300 students each year,"
Pease said. "Students will have the opportunity to apply basic skills learned in the agriculture classrooms and develop a sense of ownership in the farm."

Mary Jane Pettit with Farm Credit and Gerald Vice with Cargill were instrumental in securing grant funds to start work on developing the land, according to the release. Contact Melinda Charles at or call 606-564-9091, ext. 274.
For more area news, visit
I love news like this! When I started at Blanchester in August 1971, one of the first things I did was try to cultivate fender high soybeans with the chapter's D-15 Series IV and 4 row cultivators. I found that I had inherited a small farm and a line of farm machinery and a large debt.
I had no sooner than taken the job when the cafeteria supervirsor introduced herself and informed me the chapter owed the milk shake fund $1000! I soon found out the chapter owed more than it was worth.
Still, I loved farming and saw it as an avenue to produce income and teach students. That is what it become. In a few years, we had 80 acres and produced more income than the school paid me in salary. I taught, I farmed, I managed a farm, I pulled tractors. I don't know how I did it all.
By the grace of God no one ever got hurt and students flourished and took pride in our farm. It was a great source of pride. I can never thank all the people who helped make it happen, enough. Blanchester is now a successful two teacher department thanks to the work of many going back to Mr. Barnhart in 1924. That discussion came up during the barn quilt tour this weekend with a local historian in Blanchester.
Ah, the memories! Way to go you good folks in Flemingsburg, Kentucky!
Ed Winkle

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wolf Dog

We had a very good quilt barn weekend. We had some rain, we had some heat, we had lots of sunshine and we had a good time.

The interaction between Sable and all the visitors was very interesting. It got too hectic to pay attention to all involved some times and we just put her in her crate. She was outside 90% of the time.

One lady commented on her wolf like appearance. I had to look that up. Yep sure enough, all dogs have a little wolf in them, it just depends how far away the genetic link is in generations.

The German Shepherd is one of the closest relatives to the wolf. When the German captain rounded up the best sheep dogs in Europe for breeding his new breed last century, they were closer related to wolves. His prize number one stud was Hektor who was one quarter wolf.

The breed is only one hundred years old and has been named the most popular breed in many circles. Sable is beautiful and she always gets attention. Your first reaction her is friend or foe? She licked the sheep and licked the children but she has to get to know you a little first. If you try to lure her she goes the other way.

She has become quite a close friend. German Shepherd's are not the easiest to train but they are so smart. They are the most obidient companions when trained. If one of us is not in sight when we are with her, she is not happy. That's her job.
Now that the party's over, it is time to get back to our job this week and focus on the next round of work.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


We learned about another charity at church today. We need to pray about this. Americans find themselves supporting their own families and charities right here at home in this time of need but so many are worse off than we are. Do we understand our blessings?

"WAUPACA – Around the time that Mary Gordon started her own family, she began to think about the many blessings she had.
She watched the commercials that sought to help children in other parts of the world and noticed a tiny ad in a magazine with the same goal.

Gordon, who lives in rural Waupaca, did her research and in the end, felt most comfortable with the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA).

Around 1990, she began sponsoring children through the lay Catholic organization that works with people of all faith traditions.

"I liked the fact that they were very concerned with upholding the dignity of the people they work with. They work with the people. They demand education. Any child sponsored in this has to go to school. They feel that is the only way they can break the chain of poverty," she said.
A sponsorship of $30 a month through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program provides basic necessities such as food, education, clothing, medical care and, in some instances, livelihood programs for the families. The program also includes sponsorship of the elderly.

CFCA works in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and South America.
Gordon said the organization follows Catholic social justice teaching. "Their big thing," she said, "is giving these people hope, dignity, self-worth."
In March, Gordon made her second mission trip to Guatemala to meet children she sponsors, as well as their families. It was her second such trip – her first was in 2004.

"The first trip was probably the most eye-opening and spiritual experience – just becoming aware of the need that there is in another country," Gordon said. "We see pictures on TV and read about it, but when you go and see and meet people living through this through no fault of their own, you just can’t turn away."

When it comes to stewardship, CFCA has consistently been highly rated by independent oversight organizations, with 94.6 percent of its funds going to program support, 2.5 percent to fundraising and 2.9 percent to administration.

Gordon said those who want to sponsor a child can choose the age and gender of the child. Sponsors can even choose a child based on the child’s birthday or name. More than 300,000 children and aged are being sponsored throughout the world, and she said 6,000 children are presently on a waiting list – a number that does not include families with children wanting to be sponsored but not having been processed yet.

"CFCA hires social workers to go into these communities to assess the needs of the town," she said. "They all have different stories. The money you donate is not given to them in cash."
The money goes toward such things as education, medical and dental care, clothing and nutrition, as well as birthday and Christmas gifts.

Sponsors can send letters to the children they are sponsoring and expect to receive letters from the children – the original letters as well as the translations. Privacy is protected. Such things as addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses cannot be exchanged so that donors do not receive phone calls from someone asking for money or have someone show up at their door.
And, when a child completes his education, communication between the sponsor and child ends.
Gordon said what she likes about CFCA is knowing that her donations were always going directly to and affecting a family in a positive way.

At $30 per month to sponsor a child, she said that is about what a family of four might pay to see a movie or to have dinner. "You can stop sponsoring at any time," she said. "If you stop sponsoring, CFCA keeps them on for six months while they try to find another sponsor."
Through the mission trips, sponsors can meet in person those they are helping. "When you visit, they bring the child and some family members to you. A social worker and translator goes with you," Gordon said.

CFCA picks up the sponsors at the airport and provides transportation. The cost of the mission trip also includes lodging and airfare, with security provided throughout the seven-day trip.
"You really get to see the real country. You’ll see the poverty," Gordon said. "You represent all the sponsors from all over the world."

She said the trips were incredible and made her more aware about social justice issues around the world. "It makes me so thankful for the freedoms and opportunities here, and what we take for granted in this country," she said. "There are many people here (in Waupaca) doing this (sponsoring children). It’s just a way to do your part – one person at a time. It makes you feel confident that your money is being well-spent."

The people who are in the program are grateful. "CFCA has been able in less than 30 years to make a difference in these cultures," Gordon said. "The trips awakened me to the desperate situations in other countries that it’s easy to ignore. I became determined to make a difference in a very small way."

Gordon is now involved in helping with CFCA’s advocacy outreach efforts. She will speak to civic groups, nonprofit organizations, churches and others interested in learning about the program.
"I have actual portfolios of children waiting to be sponsored from Guatemala. You can also sponsor an aged person," she said.

Gordon said one does not have to be Catholic to sponsor someone in the program nor do those being sponsored have to be Catholic. While CFCA is a Catholic lay organization, it does not seek to convert the sponsored children and elderly to become Catholic. "The religion of the people is respected," she said.

Those interested in hearing about Gordon’s experience visiting Guatemala and about sponsoring a child or aged person may contact her at 715-258-8439. CFCA’s headquarters is in Kansas City, Kan., and information can also be found at its website at "If not CFCA, there are other organizations to get involved in," Gordon said. "It’s a great opportunity for people with children to teach their children about global responsibility and to have a personal relationship. It’s a way to help struggling communities and people."

So much to pray about...


Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's 1810

Today it is 1810 on this farm. I keep trying to remind myself. Our new friends from Blanchester are here to set up the rug hooking displays. Sabe let us know, good dog.

Sable's had her one year checkup yesterday a little late. Her vet said she is beautiful, well behaved and very healthy. We already knew that. "That will be $177 please." That is as much as my own physical last month! I should have listened to the folks that wanted me to be a veterinarian, now that is a laugh out loud.

I wonder how many people will visit it today? The committee's guess is 300 to a thousand people. That is a wide variation. The answer is no one knows as it has never been done before.

It is going to be challenging to pretend to be 1810 today with all the newer technology everywhere. Electricity, plumbing, even a Port O Pot. I guess that thing is as close to 1810 as anything. They still smell.

The fellow brought it in yesterday and asked where do you want it? LuAnn says away from the house. His eyebrows raised and says my toilets don't stink! Yeah, right. A few uses of a Port O Pot and you know exactly what it is.

We took Madison to Charlie's Place in Sabina last night for something to eat. She loved her pizza and at half my Saratoga Chips. We watched TV and talked until 10 and went to bed. Maybe they went to bed in 1810 because it is finally dark? The longest day of the year is only 10 days away and my early beans are not far from flowering.

Ranger Ted from AgTalk and his wife travelled from Montpelier Indiana to visit. We had a nice chat in the barn while it rained. I am sure we have over half an inch but my cousin from New Richmond emailed and said her scouting camping was cancelled as they had 4-5 inches an hour southwest of us and she would like to visit also.

Jim Ranz, WD8LRF and his wife stopped for a visit and brought me a CD of 3 shots each of the 54 barns in the county so we put it on the laptop for everyone to see.

Time to get going again, will update more if possible.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Big Day

Today is a big day. We put the final touches on the barn and property for the quilt barn tour tomorrow and Sunday.

It's been a lot of work but we take some pride on good work and sharing. Keeping this place up is a big job but we still enjoy it and feel humbled to be doing it.

More mowing needs to be done but everyone is challenged to keep up with mowing and spraying this year. Some buildings need some paint but that isn't on the high priority list just yet.

The good thing is I found another good helper in my desperation to get this done. I have to train him like all the others but he is hard working and trustworthy. Usually I train them and they move on up the ladder. That is OK. We all need stepping points in our career and growth path.

The waterways are not supposed to be mowed until July 20 to help some little critter that is nesting, I don't remember what species are included. I could have gotten special permission to mow as the fescue is in seed and there are noxious weeds present that could justify mowing.

We missed the barn consultant's talk in the city last night. We wanted to go but we were just two tired. By 7 pm on a good day we have finished dinner(or supper) and just watched the evening news as we take some rest.

I hope we get to see the other barn stops but I don't see that happening. Too much to do here and I could spend all day talking and looking at the other stops. A quick view and perception would be good information for the future, though.

We can't wait to see the oldest grandchild working in her new prairie dress and bonnet. It fits her blonde complexion to a Tee.

I am sure we will be more tired tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday night.

I should have lots of material to share in the coming days.


PS Here is the text of the local advertizement:

The Hadley Farm, located at 1133
Lebanon Rd., Clarksville, will be depicting
the 1860’s. Horse drawn wagon rides and
tours of the historic 200 yr old home are
among the interesting activities here. The
Springfield Friends Meeting will have snacks, and CC
Historical Society will have bicentennial merchandise.

The Winkle Farm, at 3308
Martinsville Rd., Martinsville,
will have artists who will be
demonstrating spinning, weaving
and rug hooking and will have
merchandise for sale that reflects the textile arts
from the early 1800’s with help from the
Wilmington FFA.

Stokes Berry Farm will host an Ice Cream Social
just like the early 1900’s at their farm located at
2822 Center Rd. supported by the CC Leadership

The Murphy Homestead, at 2846 Starbuck Rd., will have a
display of antique farm machinery. Enjoy these old “Johnny
Poppers” as they plow, disc and plant like they did in the
1940’s. Listen to the music of the Big Bands as you enjoy a
picnic lunch provided by the Red Cross.

And groove into the 1970’s at the Fliehman Farm at 13422 E St Rt 22 & 3,
Sabina. A petting zoo and quilting demonstration are among the things you will see representing that era in Clinton County.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Thanks to all my friends who worked yesterday so I could go to my uncle's funeral. The service was good but the cemetery service was one of those moments.

An Army blue soldier played the most beautiful taps I can remember. I had to think hard is it live or is it Memorex. Then he came from the trees in the background at Gate of Heaven Cemetery to help the other soldier fold the flag correctly and present it to my cousin. Everyone was spellbound in their own little world for a moment. It was priceless.

We went to her house for lunch afterwards. I got to meet a lot of my uncle's family in Adams County, some are farmers and we had a lot in common. They sure brought an array of excellent food to Hamilton County. Five of the ten Winkle cousins were together, the four youngest were busy at work as well as some of our spouses.

So today I say thanks to all those who serve. This is for those who serve their country, serve their family, serve their community and serve their God. Without you, this world wouldn't be the same. I wouldn't trade it.

We buried another WWII veteran yesterday, but more than that, a father and a friend who was never a foe except for the battlefield.

What more could you ask from a person than that?

Ed Winkle

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

1000 Women Strong

We have always supported our favorite charity. Usually that revolves around our faith and our church. We have one child who works for the Greater Cincinnati Foundation where they procure funds for many programs that help the Greater Cincinnati Community.

This seems like a formidable task in today's economy but the project is off the ground and rolling. Just a few dollars here and there will build the support and then those really benevolent people's donation will make the project fly.

Women, single mothers, the impoverished need help in every community. That is very true in greater Cincinnati near the Appalachian region where unemployment is among the highest in the country.

"1000 Women. One Strong Voice.

We believe when you provide opportunities to women, the entire community benefits. 1000 Women Strong is a movement initiated by The Women’s Fund to establish a community of professional women dedicated to supporting and creating opportunities for the women and girls in Greater Cincinnati through grantmaking, research, and advocacy. Join. Transform."

Company Overview:
1000 Women Strong is an initiative by The Women's Fund of Cincinnati to establish a community of professional women dedicated to supporting and creating opportunities for the women and girls in Greater Cincinnati through grantmaking, research, and advocacy. Agenda for the Future:- Close the gap: reduce disparities faced by women of color, women in poverty and women leading households alone. - Grow strong girls: increase opportunities for girls to connect with their families, peers, school and community. - Develop women leaders: lead collaborations that increase leadership development, networking and mentoring. - Assess progress: support opportunities to improve the collection of gender specific data. (read less)

1000 Women Strong is an initiative by The Women's Fund of Cincinnati to establish a community of professional women dedicated to supporting and creating opportunities for the women and girls in Greater Cincinnati through grantmaking, research, and advocacy. Agenda for the Future:- Close the gap: reduce disparities faced by women of color, women in poverty and women leading households alone. - Grow strong girls: increase opportunities for girls to connect with their families, peers,... (read more)

1,000 Women Strong are committed to driving research and data to heighten awareness and spark action on issues continuing to impact women and girls.

I hear thunder to the north this morning. It is like the sign of the thunder of this project starting. I know it will be very successful with our help.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Today I share Ag STEM. STEM stands for Science, Techology, Engineering and Mathematics. Ag is the backbone of life and the STEM program in the US has gotten all of our attention, even in agriculture. The STEM could be an important piece of the stem of plants that represents the backbone agriculture is to our life.

Pluck the leaves off these corn plants and you will find a stem attached to a root system that feeds the whole plant.

It's no secret that the suburbs and five acre lots have consumed a lot of farmland, and that small family farms are giving way to bigger operations run by fewer farmers. It would follow that K-12 agriculture education should also be on the decline, but nothing could be further from the truth. While times have changed and the agriculture education your father and mother received is not the same offered today, ag education is as strong as ever.Until recently, nearly everyone studying agriculture was male and the only courses offered were in the basics of farming. When people think of ag education, some think of the red barn and the bib overalls and the pitchfork, but that's not what it's like today.

Ag education relevancy has come through demand and necessity. The demand for the same type of ag education offered in the 1970s is gone. What used to be classes in the business of maintaining and selling crops and animals has given way to classes in horticulture, natural science, wildlife, economics and animal husbandry.

Now it's science, math and engineering. We still have to teach kids how to farm, bow it's science, math and engineering in the classroom. We use a lot of hands-on learning techniques to teach with a common language that relates to other subjects like science and economics. For example, in ag classes students learn how photosynthesis works firsthand.

It is part of creating an aggressive, engaging agriculture program to teach students real-world context to the science and business of farming. Fewer students have gone into agriculture, but they still want to know about agriculture. People think they know how food gets to the table, but they don't. Ag education has stayed viable because it has become more recognized as providing academic knowledge of the science of agriculture. While the number of students using ag education to run a farm is down, the number of students interested in agriculture is not.

This is because the average age of a farmer is around my age, 60 years old. Ag careers have more demand than ever today because one farmer in business requires more people to supply his needs and move his staple into food, fiber and fuel. It is a vast, powerful and integrated sytem taken for granted because it is so smooth.

If you like the outdoors or rural life and can master STEM in your curriculum, you can write your own ticket.

This beautiful blue sky today is the limit.

Ed Winkle

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cancer in Farmers

Cancer has really been in the news with the latest study findings and the President's response to it. The first thing farmers thing of is our potential exposure to pesticides and potential cancer causing pathogens.

Good news comes from the long term study of 89,000 farm families in Iowa and North Carolins.

"Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study – abstract

Alavanja MCR, Sandler DP, Lynch CF, Knott C, Lubin JH, Tarone R, Thomas K, Dosemeci M, Barker J, Hoppin JA, Blair A. Scand J Work Environ Health, 31 (S1): 39–45 (2005).

The overall cancer occurrence among farmers and their spouses in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) is significantly less than that expected compared to other men and women of the same age living in Iowa and North Carolina. Farmers have only 88% of the cancer expected and their spouses have only 84% of the cancer expected.
Commercial pesticide applicators, on the other hand, were observed to have the same cancer frequency as that of other men in Iowa and North Carolina. The low overall cancer rates among farmers and their spouses are due in part to their less frequent use of tobacco products and possibly due to greater physical activity on the job. Nonetheless, a number of cancers are observed to occur with significantly greater frequency among farm families in the AHS.
The risk of prostate cancer is significantly greater among farmers and commercial applicators. Female spouses had a significantly greater frequency of a serious type of skin cancer (i.e., melanoma) and female pesticide applicators had a significantly greater frequency of ovarian cancer.
Although the overall cancer picture is generally encouraging for farm families, we are finding that some cancers including lung, colon and some blood related cancers may be related to specific occupational exposures on the farm. Our ongoing research should be able to identify the responsible agents of disease within the next few years.
Dad had prostate cancer but lived to be 85. He also smoked. Mycotoxins we breathe in our lungs has always been a concern of mine because I have had asthma since childhood.
These all give us some clues to think about during our daily tasks. What it takes is setting standards based on your risk and exposure and making special effort to form lifelong habits that avoid these exposures.
I have mentioned breast cancer has been rampant in my cousins and siblings generation. Three of the seven girls were diagnosed with it in later life.
The positive thing is the lower overall cancer cases in farm families. It may be less tobacco but I think the daily routine has a lot to do with it. To me that one finding is really good news with all the bad news we each hear every day.
I am very sorry for my friends in northwest Ohio and the loss of life and property yesterday in the tornado outbreak. I pray that all of you overcome the losses in the hope of a better day.
Ed Winkle

Sunday, June 6, 2010


It's graduation time. I have been to a LOT of graduations starting with my own in the Kindergarten Tom Thumb wedding, my first speech at eighth grade graduation and high school graduation in 1968. Dad made a big effort to come to my college graduations and to all of them.

Graduation is good because it represents some accomplishment in a person's life and serves as a turning point from then on. It's a time to celebrate and reflect for most sadly but that isn't the case for too many people.

We are going to graduation at the Schottenstein Center tonight for my cousin at Worthington High School. I look forward to seeing my cousin and Jake but I don't look forward to sitting through the program. Maybe I have directed or sat through too many graduation ceremonies but this important so you just do it.

When I typed Jake I thought of John Wayne playing Jake McCandless, a rancher in a movie. The Duke was one of my boyhood heroes. Young Jake is nothing like the Jake in the movie but some advice applies to all. Our pastor gave some good advice today for all graduates.


This is graduation weekend. In order to help our
graduates get through life, I would like to give them 10
memorable quotations from John Wayne, famous for his
westerns and know as “the Duke”. Here they are:

• A man ought to do what he thinks is right.
• Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.
• Courage is being scared to death but saddling up
• Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
• A man has to have a code, a way of life to live
• Sure, I wave the American flag. Do you know a
better flag to wave?
• Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.
• Give the American people a good cause, and
there’s nothing they can’t lick.
• I have tried to live my life so that my family
would love me and my friends respect me.

Now that is a list anyone can live by, no matter their gifts or luck or stature in life. Maybe I can give this list to my grandkids, I think they are pretty good advice.

This list represents my code of life too and what I have tried to share in my time. From student to teacher and from farmer to school board president, this is what I tried to do and still try to convey.

Ignorant is a better word than stupid though. I use it too much. I told my students ignorance can be fixed but stupid is forever. Don't be stupid!

American's are facing some pretty big problems to lick and they all start at home. They get magnified thoughout society. Are we up to the challenge?

I wish Jake and all the graduates well. Most of us are here to help them along the way. Just ask. We might tell you what you don't want to hear if you don't ask.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5

It's June fifth and the time is flying. Did you like the blog yesterday? That is one of my best pieces. Some days the the ideas just flow and the pictures turn into words that make sense.

Click on the house picture and tell me what era you think that picture was taken in. The dress of the family, the unusual corn crib wire and wood fence and the metal mailbox just don't fit any one era in my mind. 1920? That would be my guess without more information.

The sad thing is on the barn story the main barn on each of these three farms on the hill was burned by a man gone mad in the Great Depression. We restored the horse barn that became a dairy barn then a hog barn and now it is just a barn to look at. It is around the age of this house.

We went to an auction at the fairgrounds today. I bought 6 books out of thousands. Modern Corn Production, Modern Soybean Production which I taught out of, the 1957-59 USDA books of agriculture and a special book they did in 1976 for our country's Bicentennial. I need them like I need "another hole in my head."

They had tons of old saved articles. The farmers name was Theobald and they even found a brand new front tractor tire under his bed! They had a red Ih 184 Cub Lowboy like the one I had. It looked in excellent condition. Some people just love those old mowing tractors. I don't miss mine one bit when I use our IH DX-24E. Ten grand for an overblown lawn mower is a little outrageous.

The little Gleaner F combine toy brought $140 so Eric yours is worth some money. We mainly just talked to people and looked around. Auctions are fun. So is garage saling so we did that too.

Then we tackled the garden. What a mess. I got the tiller beater running and chopped down a lot of weeds and sadly three nice corn plants. Those front end tillers run wild. They try to dig to China or drag you around, mostly the latter. It does look much better though.

I got the nicest compliment on Facebook. One of our friend families drove to Illinois and back to Hillsboro yesterday and they said I had the nicest field of beans on the whole trip! That made my day like editor friend who called yesterday's blog magnificent. I must be doing something write.

Uncle Bob passed away at 88 years old yesterday. Just like Uncle Charles a few weeks ago. I have one aunt and one uncle left and mom of that whole generation. The last ten years went by so quickly but there have been so many funerals the past few years.

So I will get to see my cousins on a sad but good note this week. Funerals aren't fun but when the person lives to be 88 in a good life I call it a joyous occasion. We all have to face it anyhow, why not make it a tribute to their life? We all did something good no matter how rotten we acted.

That's my take on June 5, what's yours?