View from the Hill
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 21 July 2009 13:46The subject of climate change and what America should do about it is a topic dearly loved by liberals these days. It’s equally hated by most conservatives, or perhaps even more so.
As for agriculture, I don’t know of any farmer who likes to discuss the topic—that is, unless it comes up as a response to the usual question, “How’s your day going?” After a smart remark or two, it’s long forgotten as more interesting topics come up.
For Kansans, losing last year’s presidential election to a Democrat, plus losing all chances of regaining a majority in one or both Houses in the near term, doesn’t help matters much, either.
Take away the Senate seat from Minnesota and hand it to the Democrats, giving them a filibuster-proof...
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 23 June 2009 09:48The much-anticipated annual wheat harvest has arrived and is progressing toward completion. So far, yields have ranged from the generally expected “average” to surprisingly good.
Last Saturday’s rain may have reduced the yields somewhat as test weights generally trend downward after the rain.
Though my attention primarily focuses on completing harvest as efficiently and safely as possible, I appreciate the human component of the workforce that assembles and assists our family’s observance of the age-old ritual.
Jason is a new member of our team and friend of Jessica and Tom. He drives the tractor with the grain cart while Ben keeps the green machine working at full capacity in the field. Ben’s spouse, Anna, was unable to...
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 26 May 2009 14:04Kansas wheat producers have a great reason to celebrate this year. According to a news release from the Kansas Wheat office, last week the Kansas Bioscience Authority announced it will fund the Kansas Innovation Center for Advanced Plant Design in the amount of $4 million for fiscal year 2010.
The Innovation Center is a public and private collaboration between Kansas Wheat, Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and many private investors.
The center will use a unique, state-of-the-art technology platform to conduct wheat, sorghum and native plants research targeted to specific market needs in the areas of human health and nutrition, animal nutrition and health and biofuels/biomaterials.
Once discoveries are made, the...
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 21 April 2009 13:31“…statistics will always lie.” —David Simon, producer of “The Wire” on HBO.
Perhaps that quote isn’t shocking news to anyone these days, even though we may disagree with it, because we pretend to be idealists at heart.
Whether the topic is about student test scores or how many wealthy millionaire farmers are receiving farm subsidies, the statistics can be interpreted, twisted or reported in a manner that can support any hypothesis that we want to believe or want to convince other people that our cause is right.
In last week’s interview with David Simon, Bill Moyers discusses the difficulty a journalist encounters when writing about complex issues of poverty and drugs in America.
Simon responds, “One of the...
Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 24 March 2009 13:48Traveling over long distances by air comes at a price. The greatest sacrifice is time spent on the road in a vehicle or shuttling through city streets to airports, standing in line, passing through security checkpoints, waiting for flights to come in or sleeping in waiting rooms, thanks to rescheduled or cancelled flights.
Did you ever notice that sitting in an airplane can be the least amount of time you spent in real travel time to and from your destination?
At best, sitting in the plane by the window, watching the terrain or clouds, if the weather is behaving badly, makes it seem like you are finally getting somewhere.
Whether I’m sitting at a terminal, waiting for a flight or in the plane, a nice diversion from mundane...
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