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April 25, 2014
  • EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was first published in the Des Moines Register and is reprinted here at th

    e request of Decorah Newspapers.


    U.S. veterans since 1954, when America took over the war in Vietnam after the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, may be tragic figures but we are not heroes needing tax breaks. 
     
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  • Moooooving forward: Not your grandpa's dairy barn

    It was 1970 when Futurist Alvin Toffler coined the term “future shock.” 

    In essence, the term referred to the idea that certain individuals (or even whole societies) can suffer from virtual paralysis when faced with so many changes in science or technology in such a short time. 

     
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  • College choirs from northern states love to include San Antonio, Texas, in their annual tour during the winter season. 

    They anticipate warm, sunny hours spent on the River Walk, at the Alamo and other historic sites about which they’ve studied in history classes. In addition, balmy Gulf of Mexico breezes, accompanied by bright sunshine, often lure them to spend several hours in the surf at Mustang Island. Oblivious to the intense power of the Texas sun, fire-red sunburn is common. Looking like boiled lobsters, they have something to brag about when they return back north to Decorah, Iowa, home-base for Luther College’s Nordic Choir.

     
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  • If there's a rock n' roll heaven, you know they've got one hell of a band."

    The older I get, the more often I find that old Climax/Righteous Brothers song creeping into my consciousness, whenever I hear of the loss of one of the world's great entertainers. 
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  • This has been an up and down winter in the Midwest, with sub-zero temps followed by high 50s, then back into the deep freeze. But, there have been enough of the deep freeze days to cause a propane shortage, followed by sky-rocketing propane prices, tough to take if you're a farmer dependent for heat on the little blue flame. 
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  • The tug of war between producers who support and plant genetically modified crops and those consumers who resist eating food containing them continues. Two news items the past week illustrate. 
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  • Drought, severe weather and craziness in Washington have all been cited recently as providing woes for agriculture, but little has been said about another natural disaster for some farmers, Goss' wilt in their corn. The disease is showing up to accompany the drought. 
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  • Innovation is alive and well down on the farm, as producers work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve farm, ranch and rural business energy efficiency and generation. 
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  • Battle lines are being drawn - the war for retention of the nation's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is getting under way. An early salvo was lobbed in June by Fuels America, a coalition of organizations committed to protection of the Renewable Fuel Standard even as Big Oil plans ways to attack it. 
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  • When you order that barbecue sandwich at the drive thru, or sit back from that roast beef dinner Sunday evening, how much of it remains in your wrapper or on the plate?

     
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  • Reasons why a comprehensive farm bill needs to be passed by Congress go beyond crop insurance and conservation programs, even beyond food stamps and nutrition programs. USDA Rural Development efforts to create jobs also depend upon such a bill. 
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  • If price per acre is any indicator, farmland in the Upper Midwest these days is at a premium. In fact, the prices should include the word "wow" as an addendum to underscore just how high this precious land is going. 
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  • Contrary to popular belief and first impressions, I have always had a love of silence; it is equal to, and perhaps greater than, my love of music. 
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  • As Father's Day rolled around this year, I was reminded of how hard it can be to experience a holiday without our loved ones who have passed. 
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  • Museums. What a peculiar thing it is, to save up so many oddments and display them. 
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