Planting takes specialized equipment on a small scale for research and development efforts.

Friday afternoon I was trying to reach a coworker.  I looked on the office instant messaging system and a rush came over me – there was an out of office message saying he was planting just outside of Corpus Christi, Texas. Immediate reaction? Pick up the phone and call to see how it’s going!

It’s a high tech version of what has happened for generations. It used to be conversations at the general store or maybe the church social.  It passed from neighbor to neighbor and town to town.  Now, the news gets out quickly & electronically – and for those of us on or connected to the farm, hearing it creates a rush of excitement.  Optimism strikes.

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Every nine out of 10 years, Iowa farmer Dave Sieck expects the Missouri River to stay in its banks near his farmland in Glenwood, Iowa, about 15 miles south of Council Bluffs. But lately, it’s been a rough run. This is the third year in a run some Sieck and Midwest farmers are facing the threat of flooding.

“It’s a never-ending battle, especially on the bigger rivers,” he said. “We plan on losing a crop once or twice every 10 years.”

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Leland Uden poses with his daughter on his farm.

After washing his combine after harvest, Nebraska farmer Leland Uden takes time to pose for a picture with his daughter. Cleaning the combine is just one of the many chores Uden and many other farmers have to knock out during the fall and winter months.

During the cold days of February, Nebraska farmer Leland Uden sometimes recalls a joke he’s heard from his non-farming friends:

“I wish I could be a school teacher in the summer and a farmer in the winter.”

Uden’s winter to-do list proves at least the farmer part of that joke isn’t true. A farmer’s job doesn’t stop at harvest. Here’s what Uden has been up to since his crop was harvested in November:

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By Tyne Morgan

Tyne uses her muscles of steel to pry open the elevator.

Tyne uses her muscles of steel to pry open the elevator.

What is your biggest fear? Maybe it’s having a close encounter with a venomous snake or getting bit by a shark. But if it’s getting stuck in an elevator by yourself, I recently experienced it firsthand.

Let me preface this by telling you I thought I was stuck in an elevator once before. My father worked at the courthouse, so after school that became a second home for my sister and me. I think I was 5 or so and using the elevator in the building was nothing unusual for us. But this time, we got in and nothing happened. Needless to say we freaked out. We pressed the call button numerous times just to discover once they opened it that we’d never pressed the button for the third floor to begin with. I think practically all the employees at the courthouse came out to see what the commotion was about. Needless to say, this is one of my most embarrassing moments.

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