USFR Weekly Recap - December 31, 2011

January 2, 2012 09:36 AM

DECEMBER 31-1, 2011

JOHN’S OPEN: Hello and welcome to this special edition U.S.Farm Report, I'm John Phipps. It is our privilege to cover the people and places that make up the world of agriculture. Each year we do our best to cover all corners of farm country...this weekend, we are going to highlight some of our favorite stops along the way. We begin in New Mexico - home to one of the nation's top collegiate rodeo teams. As Clinton Griffiths shows us, these athletes are just one step away from the arenas of the professional circuit.

PRAIRIE DOG JAZZ: Thanks urban sprawl pushes back the rural curtain of America, some unusual combinations can be found. In fact, for a jazz musician in Colorado - the trend has provided him with a new audience...or at least it's raised questions about who he's really performing for. Anne Herbst from the Denver Post has our story.

AFRICA DRESSES: We turn now to a story that makes us feel good about the future of our country. In Oklahoma, a small-town girl is making a big time difference in the world around her. But her success is not confined to her own community. She's reaching across oceans and cultures to impact the lives of young people she's never even met. Lyndall Stout from Oklahoma State's Sunup TV has our story.

BAXTER BLACK: For many of us, the alarm clock is a necessary evil - but on the farm, time marches to a much different beat. Baxter black joins us now to explain...You can catch Baxter every other week on U.S. Farm the meantime, check out his work online at

TRACTOR TALES: Welcome back. Each and every week on u-s farm report we feature classic iron and the collectors who bring them back to life. Today we have a John Deere that's missing it's stripes. Why? Because the owner didn't want to paint his treasure. Remember, you can watch some of your favorite tractor tales on or you can now download these segments as podcasts. Go to the iTunes store and search Tractor Tales. Stay with us - John's World is next.

JOHN’S WORLD: Americans have never been wild about studying geography. We have a pretty big and varied country, so many of us didn't bother to learn much about Canada, let alone the Baltic states. This blind side does not serve us well as we are woven more tightly into a global economy. Just as many of us have pulled out an atlas to learn where a nephew or sister will be stationed during their tour of military service, it might be time for us to make a globe a new fixture in our house. I say globe, because one of our biggest geographical problems is the age-old dilemma of how to depict the ball in which we live with two-dimensional maps. This problem could become more troublesome because of the looming new star on the global stage: Africa. Americans know next to nothing about this continent, as we discovered when trying to understand the recent Arab spring uprising. But even when we look at maps we are misled. Virtually all are mercator projections which grossly distort the size of land masses. For example, usually Greenland looks about 1/4 the size of Africa, when in truth it is only 1/14 as big. Africa is enormous with some of the fastest growing economies and populations. The Chinese already are focusing on its potential. For farmers the important point is Africa is the last great source of new farmland. Those who remember frantically studying maps of South America thirty years ago might want to shift their attention a few thousand miles east. Let us know what you think.... Send emails to or call and leave us a voice mail.

Hello and welcome to this special edition of U.S. Farm Report, I'm John Phipps. Each year we are fortunate to visit all corners of farm country - and this weekend, we're featuring some of our favorite stops. We begin in the Hoosier State where a seed company celebrated its 75th anniversary in a high-powered way. Wes Mills has our story.

OUTDOORS JUSTIN MOORE: Time now to head "Outdoors on the Farm" with Chip Flory. What's a good hunting segment without a memorable theme song??? We have that covered thanks to Justin up-and-coming country music star who joined Chip on a hunt in northern Michigan. To learn more about Justin - including upcoming appearances - head to Still to come on this special edition of U.S. Farm Report, an Illinois theater turns to corn to keep things warm. "Spirit of the Heartland" is next.

WATSEKA MOVIE THEATER: Each weekend on "Spirit of the Heartland" we feature the people and places unique to rural America. One such place is a born-again theatre in Illinois that has turned to corn to keep its customers warm. Wes Mills has our story. Thanks Wes. Baxter Black is next - please stay with us.

BAXTER BLACK: Life on an Arizona ranch requires all kinds of equipment - some new, some not so new. Baxter Black tells us about an old trailer that has served him well. Tractor Tales is up next on this special edition of U.S. Farm Report...we'll be right back.

TRACTOR TALES: Tractor Tales features machines of all makes, models and sizes. Today, we introduce a 'Case' wheat thresher from the early 1900's that's really big...for its size. Remember, you can watch some of your favorite tractor tales on or you can now download these segments as podcasts. Go to the iTunes store and search Tractor Tales. Stay with us - the mailbag is next.

MAILBAG: We received this simple question from David Schafer that is frankly worrying many economists and political leaders: "If tractors drive themselves and robots do the milking, where are all the people going to work?" David the classic economic answer to that question is people will move on to other jobs or work building the machines that replaced them, but that does not seem to be the case. First off, the number of new jobs is almost always much smaller than the number whose jobs disappear. Those new jobs take specialized and often lengthy training as well, which makes the transition harder. Too many displaced workers are older, which complicates this solution. Our housing market right now makes labor more immobile - you can't move easily to where the jobs are because selling a home is often very difficult. Finally, the areas where technology is eliminating jobs is expanding into the service sector. Fields such as law and accounting are finding computers enable many to do with fewer services. The short, but worrisome answer is we don't know where new jobs will come from. One idea is we will work less. This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Another is more will work in health care, tourism and consumer technology. One possible source of jobs is the next technological breakthrough such as nanotechnology. But all of these areas will likely be targets for computers to replace people as well, making a wide range of job skills important. As always, we want to hear from you, send comments to or leave us a voice mail at 800-792-4329.

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