Category Archives: Video

My Favorite Super Bowl Ads – that I completely missed out on


Salt Lake City airport is full of Delta planes and Mountains. But it's an airport with one of the best views - from both inside the airport and up in the sky.
Salt Lake City airport is full of Delta planes and Mountains. But it’s an airport with one of the best views – from both inside the airport and up in the sky.

When you’re flying out of Helena, Montana, there are two choices for flying out of town. Either you fly out at 6 a.m. or you leave on one of two mid-day flights. And during the winter, you can pretty much bet on delays somewhere along the way. Since I had just returned from the AgChat Regional Conference in Portland (more on that later) at 1:30 on Saturday morning, I decided to go for the afternoon flight on Sunday. And of course, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that it was going to be Super Bowl Sunday. So of course, I missed most of the game and only caught the pre-game while sitting in the Salt Lake airport. Not that I really missed much, or even had a horse in the race, but I do like to support Peyton Manning. I liked the fact that the pre-game announcers mentioned that Peyton’s recognition as one of the all-time greats in the game lie in his winning SB48. Really? All that depended on the results of one game? I think he’s had a pretty accomplished career so far. But that’s another can of worms…

Since I was on the plane the entire time, I missed all of the Super Bowl Commercials, but I did catch a few ads ahead of time.

Chevy decided to take another turn for the ranching crowd with their Silverado ad series. This time, they plugged in a little humor and romance. I loved this one because every time I’ve ever turned out bulls for breeding season, I wish em luck with the ladies!

There was also another great ranching commercial that aired in only a few select markets. My friend and cattlewoman from Kansas, Debbie Blythe (Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch) was featured in the America’s Farmers ad. I think this series of ads provides some pretty cool visuals that shows how farming and ranching families really do have a lot in common with urban families. Sometimes we fail to recognize that. I especially like the 3rd video in this playlist.

These are just a couple of ads I caught before they actually aired for the Super Bowl. What were your favorites? Which ones did I miss that I need to be sure and catch up on?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I was flying to Nashville yesterday. I’ll be here all week for the 2014 Annual Cattle Industry Convention. There were over 7,000 preregistrants and it should be an awesome week with all my ranching friends from across the country. If you happen to be here, keep an eye out for me in the Montana Stockgrowers Trade Show booth (#1815). If you’re not here, you can still follow along online. I’ll be posting on the MSGA Facebook and Twitter accounts all week. You can also follow the hashtags, #CIC14 and #BeefMeet to stay on top of things!

Travel Montana: Helena to Havre on the Missouri River


I’ve done a poor job of keeping up with my travels in the past few months. So over the next few weeks, I’ll be catching up a bit. I’ve already written about my drive over Flesher Pass and a fun trip to Sun Valley, Idaho.

In November, just before Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to drive up to Havre, Montana to visit with our Collegiate group at Montana State University – Northern. It’s a small group of Collegiates, but they’re excited to get involved. The drive 3 hours and covered several different landscapes.

Sieben Montana I-15I drive through the mountains along the Missouri River between Helena and Great Falls any time I head north. One of these days I’ll make it to the Missouri Headwaters near Three Forks. But the canyon Sieben and Cascade can be pretty dangerous, covered and ice and snow, with plenty of sharp turns. There are some pretty cool sights through there though!

From Great Falls to Havre is where things really start to flatten out. This area is on the edge of what is referred to as the Golden Triangle of Montana. This is a huge area where wheat is grown in the state and lies to the West of the Missouri. The drive up U.S. 87 follows the river and provides some pretty awesome views, especially around historic Fort Benton, Loma, and Big Sandy.

Missouri River Fort Benton Montana overlook selfieFort Benton is nicknamed “The Birthplace of Montana” and was the uppermost port on the Missouri River. The city was established in 1846 and is one of the oldest in the American West. Prior to the establishment of the railroad system, Fort Benton was a critical river port for fur and trade and the beginning of important land transport further West to Washington.

I took some time to stand out over the Missouri River above Fort Benton and soak in the sights and sounds. Overlooks like these are on of the best places to take a few minutes out of the drive to clear your mind. Not sure if you can see on this video, but there was a ton of waterfowl down along the edge of the water. The view up near the Hi Line just seems to go on forever. One of these days, maybe I’ll keep heading north and cross the Canadian border.

Enjoy a piece of it!

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Ranching gives you a perspective of life… (Video)


Turns out I was writing about the Montana Stockgrowers Association LONG before I ever even knew I would be moving to Montana and working with this great group of ranchers. I’ve now met Heath and Kiley Martinell and their children and know much more about how they contribute to the Montana ranching community.

This post showed up in a Google search today and I think it’s well worth a reshare. Some #FoodForThought through the words of an awesome ranching family.

Take 2:07 to watch this video from Montana Stockgrowers Association (Facebook) about the Martinell Family and what ranching means to them. There are 3 generations on the ranch working together, what a blessing that must be.

Many of us do not have the opportunity to pass on land to future generations, but we do have the ability to pass on our passion for the lifestyle of production Agriculture.

Heath sums it up well when he says “Ranchers have a true appreciation for the land and their livestock” We have to love what we do to go to work every day, and not many businesses allow us to work daily with our family. How many people can say that?

ranching gives you a perspective of life

What else sticks out for you from the Martinell family’s message?

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Ask A Farmer: Why do farmers leave dying corn in fields?


Today we have a guest post from Indiana farmer, blogger Brian Scott (Facebook, Twitter). Brian does a great job of explaining difficult questions about farming operations, how crops are grown, and the management decisions surrounding growing Genetically Modified crops. Brian blogs about growing corn, soybeans, and popcorn at TheFarmersLife.com.

I am always intrigued by the questions people ask about agriculture. What might seem like a silly question to me at first is really a great question from someone who has not been around a farm very much if at all. Apparently, people have been asking Agriculture Proud why farmers let their corn die in the field. I imagine this question is spurred by the idea many people believe when they drive through areas of the country, like Indiana where I farm, they are looking at endless expanses of sweet corn. This is not so.

Green corn too wet and too immature to harvestThe vast majority of corn spotted in rural America is not sweet corn. And when I say majority I mean like 99% of it is not sweet corn. Not always but more than likely the corn in question is yellow dent corn. Dent corn feeds livestock, fuels cars, and makes plastics, starches, adhesives, and a huge array of other products. Sweet corn is harvested at what would be considered very early in the season for a farmer like me. The plant is still pretty green and the kernels are of course juicy and sweet. I do not want sweet juicy corn on my farm. My corn goes through a juicy stage after pollination although the sugars are more starchy than sweet.

So why do I let the corn die?

Well to me it’s not dying it’s drying. After pollination kernels appear. Sweet corn is harvested shortly afterwards. When the kernels are formed and full of liquid it’s called the milk stage because if you squeeze a kernel the stuff that squirts out has a milky consistency. After milk, we go to dough where the kernel gets a bit more solid. Eventually we hit black layer, which signifies physiological maturity. Black layer refers to a, you guessed it, black layer at the tip of the corn kernel. So now, the corn is physiologically mature and dent corn is maybe a month further along than harvested sweet corn. Time for harvest, right? Nope.

Now we start the corn drying process.

Corn can be safely stored for long periods at 15% moisture. Black layer is around 35% moisture in the kernel. 15% is a level at which the risk for developing storage issues is very low, and it’s no coincidence grain purchasers base their pay schedules on 15% moisture. Higher than that number on corn delivered to the elevator and I have part of my pay taken to cover the elevator’s drying cost. But there’s no premium for delivering under 15% moisture. Fair enough. Not all farmers have dryers on their farms, but many do. I have one. Dryers are generally powered by propane. Our dryer actually looks like a normal grain bin, but the top section has a floor to hold wet grain to be dried in batches. A large burner fan pumps air, sometimes over 200 degrees F, to dry the corn. Traps in the floor open after a specified period of time, and another batch enters.

So if wet corn costs me money to dry, whether doing it on site or upon delivery, why not leave corn in the field until it dries all the way down to 15% moisture in the field? We tend to start harvest at just over 20% maybe up to 25% normally. We plant various maturities of corn so the drying process is spread out. Sometimes farmers can get a break on drying costs. The local ethanol planted wanted corn early in 2011. In early September, they took corn deliveries for one week while covering the drying cost up to 25%. We harvested about 40 acres near 30%, and didn’t harvest anything else until 3 weeks later. Corn starts to be ground up and damaged a bit when it’s that wet running through the combine.

We dry most of our corn ourselves because we have the capacity to store most of our own crop. During harvest, lines at the grain elevator are usually long, and I can’t keep the combine running if there isn’t an empty truck waiting on the roadside. Since corn is in greatest abundance at harvest, the price may be relatively low as well. Storing means we can hold on to grain while waiting for higher prices. Pay or pricing can be held back upon delivery to an elevator as well, but you’ll be charged a per bushel storage fee for time between delivery and sale.

Farmers leave dead corn in field to dry2013 was a wet and cool year overall except for August. Our average harvest moisture was 20% across the whole farm. If we let corn dry all the way to 15% (maybe pushing into December with 2013 weather) in the field we would likely lose more money in grain loss than what we’d pay for drying. I believe this is where the idea of dead corn comes into play. Fields full of browning plants sitting in fields for weeks as compared to green sweet corn. I want the corn to look dried up, but when the time is right, I want the corn out of the field as fast as we can harvest.

The plant is dying and drying right along with the kernels. Stalks become hard and brittle, and ears might start dropping on the ground. Once they hit the ground, my combine isn’t going to pick them up. The last thing I want to see coming at dry corn stalks is a strong windstorm. Wind is bad enough on green and growing corn so it won’t have much trouble knocking down dead corn. The ground also needs to be dry for harvest to limit the risk of soil compaction and for ease of operating equipment.

Now you will know the next time you see acres of green corn that has turned like fall leaves on trees that in the farmer’s eyes his corn is not dying but drying!

 

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