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Special Features Section, Superior Express

Jenny's REESources

Straight From The Horse's Mouth


Jenny's REESources, by Jenny Rees, UNL Extension
Crop and livestock producers, consultants and others interested in learning how to address critical issues related to farm finances are encouraged to view an upcoming webinar series. Beginning Monday at 10 a.m., experts from the department of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska­Lincoln will discuss financial issues affecting Nebraska farmers and ranchers during webinars held each Monday for five consecutive weeks. The webinar series is sponsored by the UNL department of agricultural economics, Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
The webinars can be viewed online at Each session will be recorded for later viewing. There is no cost to view the webinars.
Webinar schedule and topics:
Date: Nov. 23, 10 a.m. CST; Topic: Cornhusker Economics Outlook. Overview: A concise, fast-paced discussion of crop, livestock, policy and financial outlook with attention to production, management and marketing decisions for 2016. Presenters: Brad Lubben, Kathleen Brooks, Cory Walters, Jay Parsons.
Date: Nov. 30, 10 a.m. CST; Topic: Know your costs. Overview: Presenters will review marginal analysis and enterprise budgets which are tools producers can use to understand how and where to implement cost control measures. Presenters: Matt Stockton, Robert Tigner, Roger Wilson, Tina Barrett.
Date: Dec. 7, 10 a.m. CST; Topic: Negotiating your lease. Overview: This session will look at current lease values, discuss leasing alternatives and give suggestions on how to communicate to hold leasing costs down. Presenters: Allen Vyhnalek, Tina Barrett, Dave Aiken, Tim Lemmons, Roger Wilson, Jim Jansen.
Date: Dec. 14, 10 a.m. CST; Topic: Communicating with your banker. Overview: Bankers will share how they approach loan requests and what financial documentation is most useful to lenders and producers. Presenters: Larry Van Tassell and a panel of four bankers.
Date: Dec. 21, 10 a.m. CST; Topic: Decision making in an uncertain world
Overview: This session, based on the topics covered in previous webinars, will explore important factors producers need to consider in making decisions in an uncertain world. Presenters: Jay Parsons, Cory Walters, Kathleen Brooks.
For more information on the webinars, visit, or contact the UNL department of agricultural economics.

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Straight From The Horse's Mouth, by Duane Lienemann, UNL Extension
As you get older, your body ends up paying for the abuse you punish it with over the years. I am writing this column the night before I go in for some surgery on my shoulder, rotator cuff and bicep tendon. I am not complaining, as I was warned years ago that if I kept doing things like I was still 25 years old, it would come back to haunt me ­­ and it has. I am not asking for sympathy, and I doubt I would get too much anyway. This will, however, make it a little more difficult to do the things I normally do, including time in the office, out in the fields and all the other sundry things that I am used to doing, including writing. I will see how it goes and how this old body reacts to the work being done on it, but I felt I should let individuals know should they be looking for me over the next several days to a couple of weeks. Now that this is off my chest, let us look at some things that caught my eye this week. Are you ready for some incredible stuff?
Slaughter Trucks? I have to add this to the "You have to be kidding me file!" The attack against animal agriculture just keeps on coming. Now growing up on a farm and even hitching a ride with a trucker or two with our cattle or hogs to the sale barn or even the Omaha Stockyards, I never thought of the straight truck or a semi-tractor with a pot as anything more than a truck. But, "slaughter truck?" It's a new term to me, and for that matter an insult to farmers, ranchers, feeders or anybody with a CDL that makes their living transporting livestock.
But more than 9,500 misguided and misinformed souls have signed a petition at asking Walmart CEO C. Douglas McMillon to "stop selling toy slaughter trucks in Walmart stores." The petition states, "Normalizing the enslavement and murder of animals to kids is not okay." They don't even try to point out that livestock trucks are used for many purposes on the farm, not just to take animals to slaughter. These trailers are used as a transport! It doesn't mean that they are going to the slaughter house. Most are just moving their livestock from one location to another. Perhaps from farm to farm or maybe they've been sold to another rancher, or they are being moved to another pasture or home.
Those "slaughter trucks" are what most of us would call toy livestock transport trucks, mini versions of the ones that roll down the highways of America. Walmart is selling an "ERTL Big Farm 1:32 Peterbilt Model 579 semi with livestock trailer" for $34.99. But somebody using the online name "Vegan Oso" started the petition and claims that "normalizing the enslavement and murder of animals to kids is not okay." This is taking the vegan movement one giant leap further than what I can stomach. It is one thing to call attention to your thoughts on animal agriculture, but in this way? I draw the line! I am amazed and dismayed at all the different ways people can shoot at livestock production and the producers of our food!
If you have a strong stomach, read what they say to justify this petition: "No matter how 'humanely' animals are raised for food, inevitably the pigs, cows, horses and other animals doomed for factory slaughter are crowded onto slaughter trucks; there is no shelter against the weather, no food or water and no place for the animals to defecate or urinate except on each other and under their own feet. Someday, look inside a slaughter truck; there you will see the eyes of an animal treated worse than anyone can imagine. They foam at the mouth, their eyes are crusted with infections, their faces silently scream from abject fright and abuse. At truck stops, they watch humans passing them by; hoping someone will save them before their last day on earth in a slaughter line. This is not what a child's toy should represent."
All I can say is, "What?"
If it wasn't so incredibly stupid, it is almost entertaining to read some of the comments that have been posted. You will be shaking your head and wondering what is coming of this world. I will guarantee I will be responding to this petition and I would suggest if you want to offer your opinion, you can visit the petition site ( and leave a comment, or you can visit Walmart's Facebook page ( and tell Mr. McMillon to keep selling the toys and for him to tell this idiot ­­ Vegan Oso ­­ that calling livestock transports "slaughter trucks" is an insult to the responsible, professional farmers, ranchers and truck drivers who work hard to help put food on America's tables, and do so in an humane and caring way. If you agree with this wingnut, I hope you get more informed and don't do the knee jerk reaction to misinformation and become one of those people who unwittingly further the cause of a group committed to their own particular agenda regardless of who they hurt!
PETA wants to rename Turkey, Texas. Let's just add one more to the file. You read the headline correctly. Of all the asinine, publicity-seeking ideas from one of my "favorite" groups ­­ People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) ­­ this one was about as appealing as a barefoot walk through a chicken coop. It ranks right up there with their last endeavor to have fish renamed as "Kitties of the Seas." The folks at PETA have asked the folks in Turkey, Texas, to change the town's name to, get this, "Tofurkey," for one day. That day being on Thanksgiving. PETA sent a letter to the Turkey mayor on Monday, offering to provide a vegan feast for the whole town. Tofurky is described as "a savory, flavorful, 'meaty' vegan entree with wild-rice and bread-crumb stuffing that is 100 percent cruelty-free." The meal would come with "mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes (made with vegan margarine), and vegan apple pie topped with vanilla dairy-free ice cream." It is not surprising to me that the 410 townsfolk basically responded "Tophooey!" The old adage of you don't mess with Texas. I am glad they stood their ground and proved to these PETA nut jobs that you also don't mess with Turkey either!