Family Dinners

family dinner1Being a traditional farm family, family dinners are a way of life! From Sunday dinners in the winter to Tuesday lunches in the summer. Everyone stops what he or she is doing and sits down to eat together.

My dad is a farmer. Now this means work hours vary so much for him throughout the year. Winter hours are the relaxed with days of 9 am to 4 pm. Planting season, aka spring, he could work 9am to 9pm or 6 am to 4 pm depending on the day. Summer months are a little more relaxed working from 8 am to 5 pm on average. During these ‘seasons’ as we call them, family meals are made a priority at least once a day. But then there’s the most glorious time of the year, harvest.

family dinner2Harvest is the time when people and animals stockpile their food for the year. But harvesting all that food for the people and animals of the world comes at a sacrifice for farm families. Most of the time that sacrifice comes at spending time with family. Now the crazy hours already mentioned might seems extreme but nothing gets as crazy as harvest when it comes to time away from family and home. My dad works on average during harvest season, 6 am to 12 am. My dad does what he can to see us during harvest time but I could go days without seeing him because of the time he spends in the field.

family dinner3Family dinners are a way for us to all catch up on the week and during harvest, these dinners are made a priority for Sunday evening. The amount of time my dad spends through out the year providing food for others is kind of crazy once you see the numbers. I know what he does, along with the thousands of farmers across the nation, is so important to the world.

Farmers spend way more time than forty hours a week providing for their families, family dinners are just a small way to always stay connected. family dinner4


Emily Puls bio pic

Thanksgiving Dinner Up a Tad, to Just Over $50

Thanksgiving Marketbasket flyerThe American Farm Bureau Federation’s 30th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $50.11, a 70-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.41.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $23.04 this year. That’s roughly $1.44 per pound, an increase of less than 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.39 per whole turkey, compared to 2014.

“Retail prices seem to have stabilized quite a bit for turkey, which is the centerpiece of the meal in our marketbasket,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. “There were some production disruptions earlier this year due to the highly pathogenic Avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest. Turkey production is down this year but not dramatically. Our survey shows a modest increase in turkey prices compared to last year. But we’re now starting to see retailers feature turkeys aggressively for the holiday. According to USDA retail price reports, featured prices fell sharply just last week and were actually lower than last year,” he added.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

SouthernDeepFriedTurkey-HighFoods showing the largest increases this year in addition to turkey were pumpkin pie mix, a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pie shells. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.20; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.61; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.47.

“Despite concerns earlier this fall about pumpkin production due to wet weather, the supply of canned product will be adequate for this holiday season,” Anderson said.

Items that declined modestly in price were mainly dairy items including one gallon of whole milk, $3.25; a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $3.18; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.94; and 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.29. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery (79 cents) and one pound of green peas ($1.52) also decreased slightly in price.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. This year’s survey totaled over $50 for the first time.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are able to provide a bounty of food for a classic Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for just over $5 per serving.”

thanksgiving graphic_1The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. For October, the most recent month available, the food at home CPI posted a 0.7 percent increase compared to a year ago (available online at

A total of 138 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 32 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Item 2014 Price 2015 Price Difference
Misc. ingredients 3.48 3.18 -.30
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. 3.56 3.57 +.01
Whipping cream, 1/2 pint 2.00 1.94 -.06
Milk, 1 gallon whole 3.76 3.25 -.51
Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz. 3.12 3.20 +.08
1-pound relish tray (carrots and celery) .82 .79 -.03
Green peas, 1 lb. 1.55 1.52 -.03
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. 2.54 2.61 +.07
16-pound turkey 21.65 23.04 +1.39
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. 2.34 2.29 -.05
Pie shells (2) 2.42 2.47 +.05
Rolls, 12 2.17 2.25 +.08
TOTAL 49.41 50.11 +.70

NEFB President Steve Nelson Testifies at Legislative Hearing About School Funding and Tax Issues

On Thursday, Nov. 12th, the Legislature’s Education and Revenue Committee held a joint public hearing to hear testimony on school funding in the state of Nebraska.  The hearing is part of joint interim studies being conducted by the Committees (LRs 332 & 344) on funding of public schools.   The Committees hope to make recommendations for improving the funding of schools to be discussed during the 2016 Legislative session.  Nebraska Farm Bureau was invited to testify before the Committees and urged the senators to undertake fundamental reform of school funding to reduce property taxes and improve taxpayer equity.

Watch NEFB President Steve Nelson’s testimony here.

Why Do Farmers Let Their Corn Die in the Fields?


“I don’t understand! If farmers are feeding us corn, why are they letting it die before we can eat it?”

This is a question that has maybe crossed your mind a time or two. Here in Nebraska, we like to eat corn. We like it off the cob, in our casseroles, or served on the side of a delicious summer hamburger. But who in the world would like to eat dead corn? Let me explain…corn2As you can tell from the pictures, there is a big difference between the corn you eat (left) and the corn that you see in the field (right). Sweet corn is the kind of corn that you would buy at the grocery store in the summer and eat when you get home.

“If sweet corn is used for food.. then what is this field corn used for? And why do farmers plant it if we don’t eat it? Tell me about this field corn!”

Field corn is used to make a whole bunch of things. It is essential to our state, country, and world. Without it, we simply could not create a majority of things we use in our every day lives. Here a few of the MANY things you can find corn in…


Not only is it an important component to all of these products, but also to a multitude of others. Field corn is also used as food; for an example, corn is used as cornstarch, corn oil, and corn syrup, three very popular ingredients in food. “Wow, I had no idea that is a few reasons why we plant so much corn; I did not realize it was so essential! Tell me though, why do we have to let corn die to use it in all of these products?corn7In the picture above, this ear of corn is ready for harvest. There are a multitude of reasons why farmers allow it to get to this point so we can use it..corn6

Harvest: Farmers have to wait until it all the little kernels are completely hard before they can be picked. If they were still soft, the kernels would break and result in losing all of their starch, a huge factor in creating many products.corn4

As you can see, a large portion of the kernel is full of starch. When the kernel is still soft, all of that starch will escape the kernel as it is still in a liquid form, leaving little behind for the use of the many products we need. When the corn fully matures (yellow), then all of the liquid starch turns into a solid starch through a process called “denting”.


You can see the seed change from a milky substance into the solid starch as the corn plant matures. The last seed shown is ready for harvest!

The corn in the field is not necessarily dying, but drying. By drying out the liquid starch (milk stage), the corn can be harvested and used for all the necessities you and I need! From glue to corn flakes, cattle feed to fuel, corn (the dented field corn) is not only a complement to our society, but also a crucial source to create so many things. Without corn, a nation would simply not be born!

Laura Lundeen bio pic

Healthier Times – Fall Trail Mix Tips

Pg A13 - Amber Pankonin PhotoEvery fall I look forward to the leaves changing color and the delicious flavors that fall brings. Whether it’s a pumpkin spice latte or kettle corn, I know there’s a time and place for fall treats.

As a child, I remember my mom preparing trail mix in the fall with peanuts, candy corn, pretzels, and occasionally white chocolate chips. Don’t get me wrong—it was delicious, but this combination can turn what seems like a healthy snack into a calorie bomb.

Did you know that 20 pieces of candy corn is around 150 calories and ¼ cup of roasted peanuts is about 200 calories? Add that together and you’re looking at a very high calorie snack. And unless you’re measuring the amount you’re consuming, it can be easy to overeat.

In order to reduce the overall amount of calories in your trail mix, try reducing the amount of candy corn, peanuts, and pretzels and add popcorn instead. Plain popcorn is a great snack as it offers fiber and volume, which can definitely help fill you up and add great flavor.


Amber Pankonin is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist passionate about food, nutrition science, and agriculture. She works as a nutrition communications consultant and adjunct professor. She is sassy, sarcastic and her nutrition views are based on science, not popular hype. Her friends call her a “realistic nutritionist” because she doesn’t quite fit the mold of the perfect dietitian. But she loves food, creating cool things, and she’s passionate about building community.

Meet The Crew by Nebraska Farm Bureau!

Nebraska Farm Bureau has identified nine social media savvy student members to join our Crew. The Crew is a group of Nebraska Farm Bureau student members who enjoy agriculture communication and social media. Together, The Crew will work on reaching a larger audience with pro-ag messages and will help put a face to agriculture through social media in conjunction with Nebraska Farm Bureau. Members of The Crew have access to unique training sessions, such as exploring social media strategies on Capitol Hill.

NFBF is excited to introduce our Crew members to you! For the next year these students will help promote agriculture and rural America through social media posts!


Jacob Goldfuss

Jacob GoldfussMy name is Jacob Goldfuss, I am from O’Neill Nebraska and have been passionate about agriculture for a long time. Even though I lived in town, I helped my grandpa on his ranch south of town for as long as I can remember. When my grandpa retired my dad and I bought back some cows and a few bulls and run a small cow/calf operation still today. Agriculture is such a vital part of our everyday lives, that’s why I am so passionate about advocating for it. I love educating and communicating agriculture to people who might not know as much about it as I do. That is why I am currently a sophomore at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln pursuing a degree in Agricultural Education.

I have always tried to get as involved in agriculture related clubs and organization as I could my whole life. I was very dedicated to FFA in High School and donated most of my time to the chapter as I held an office all four years. Now in college, I am the vice president of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, on the leadership team for the CASNR Coffee Cup Club, in Collegiate FFA, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and now, the CREW! I look forward to working with Nebraska Farm Bureau this year promoting and advocating for all the Nebraska farmers and ranchers out there through the use of social Media!


Victoria Talcott

Victoria TalcottIf I were asked to describe myself I would say passionate about agriculture, creative thinker, and looking to make an impact on the world. I love everything about agriculture, and I especially love educating people about the importance of agriculture in Nebraska and the entire world.

My name is Victoria Talcott. I grew up on a farm near Bennet, NE with my parents, Norris and Lynnet, and my brother, Garret. On our farm we raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and cattle. I have always been very active in 4-H. I seriously tried out almost every project from showing livestock to making a babysitting kit. I loved everything about 4-H! I was also very active in my FFA chapter. This year I will be receiving my American Degree in Kentucky. My SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) includes farming my own 30 acre farm, my own cattle herd, and working on my parents farm.

I am currently a student at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln where I study Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication. I chose this major because I want to express the importance of agriculture to people around the world. I am currently an intern at the Nebraska FFA Foundation. This next year I will be blogging, writing social media posts, and much more as a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to start sharing my knowledge of agriculture. I can’t wait to write for you all this year!


Laura Lundeen

Laura LundeenHi everyone!

I’m a small-town, Nebraska born and raised, sunset loving, faith, family, and farm girl. I am very passionate about many things, and many of those things have a foot in agriculture; therefore, I am very passionate about agriculture! (Especially its impact on our world through food and other products.)

I grew up on a farm of corn and soybeans near a small town of 750 people. I have a hardworking dad, mom, and older and younger brothers. Although we have never raised livestock, I brought pigs, sheep, and cattle to the county fair. I learned to love farming through my family and the work we do, but when I left for the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, I learned to love it even more. I am studying Agricultural Education and plan to graduate in December of 2017. I did not start out studying ag. The quote, “You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone” came into play for me my first semester of college. After spending 6 weeks of my life having little contact with the industry that makes the world go around, I quickly learned that I did not love what I was studying at that time. It was not long before I decided to switch to my degree to agriculture.

Ever since, my classes and other activities have sparked my love for food and agriculture and I am excited to share. I hope you enjoy learning about ag as much as I do!


Haley Ehrke

Haley EhrkeHi everyone my name is Haley Ehrke! I grew up in South Central Nebraska, I am very proud of my roots. I am a farmer’s daughter and very excited to be a member of the Farm Bureau Crew. I am currently a senior in High School and plan on majoring in Agricultural Education next fall. I enjoy spending my time showing cattle, checking cows, spending time with friends and family, biking, and taking pictures. Random fact, my favorite food is steak. On our farming operation we grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, milo and we have a cowherd.


Catherine Jones

Catherine JonesHello Everybody! I am a farmer’s daughter, a sister and granddaughter. I am a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying agricultural communications. My name is Catherine Jones, I grew up on a farm in the middle of Omaha where my family owns a horse boarding facility, and raises 4H livestock for our urban 4H club. I have had the unique experience of helping urban youth learn all about the agriculture industry and how to be farm tough! Living in the city, I saw all of the urban population’s misconceptions of agriculture’s’ true story. That is how I found my passion, advocating for agriculture and improving society’s agricultural literacy!


Cheyenne Gerlach

Cheyenne GerlachMy name is Cheyenne Gerlach and I am passionate about animals. I love riding horses and I’m known as the bottle calf whisperer at my house. I also tame 1,300 pound steers every year for the fair. My favorite sport is showing pigs. I pulled my first pig at twelve. I think the best bonding time is in the farrowing house. I have a voice for agriculture.





Rachel Noe

Rachel NoeHey there! My name is Rachel Noe and I’m a senior Agricultural Communications major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am a fifth generation Noe to have been brought up on my family’s farm in Spring Bay, Illinois. On our farm, we grow corn, soybeans, cantaloupes, watermelons, hogs, and wheat. Although I grew up working in production agriculture, I didn’t truly appreciate the industry until I started college. I decided to study Ag Communications because I enjoy speaking to others about agriculture and want to give back to the industry that has shaped me into the person I am today. I’m looking forward to the conversations this blog will start, as well as this opportunity to share my passion for agriculture.


Emily Puls

Emily PulsI am a farm girl, born and raised. I am from Wakefield, Nebraska, where my family raises corn and soybeans!

Currently, I am at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studying Agricultural Education in hopes of educating future consumers the importance of the agriculture industry and all the careers linked to it.

My free time is spent helping dad around the farm, reading, watching NCIS, and of course…cheering on the Huskers! GBR!

I want to advocate for agriculture because not only is it a great industry but also people need to know about certain areas like their food production. Creating informed consumers another step in combating misinformation that is so wide spread. Everyone wants to know where their food comes from and I just want consumers to see the hard work production agriculturalist do to keep the food they produce safe!


Emily Cumming

Emily CummingI’m not the everyday farmer’s daughter. Born and raised on a family farm in Central Nebraska, I have taken my love for agriculture and found something that I adore. Bees! Who would have thought a grain and livestock farmer’s daughter would find joy in working with honey bees? I sure didn’t!

I started working with bees after I had the push from my parents to take up an activity in agriculture that interested me. I talked to members of the Nebraska Beekeeper’s Association who helped me make my dream of becoming a beekeeper a reality. I am proud to say I have been raising these little delights for three years! I am so excited to share my point of view on agriculture!

Agriculture has had a large influence in my life since I was very little. I may not take part in the same type of agriculture that my family raises and nurtures, but agriculture is agriculture and I am more than happy to participate in the agriculture industry, especially with the all-important honeybees.

I’m Emily Cumming and I am a beekeeper.

Pumpkin Silk Pie

Pg 16 - pumpkin pieIngredients
32 gingersnaps
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Three 8-oz. containers of whipped topping, divided


1. In medium bowl, finely crush 32 ginger snaps.
2. Mix in melted butter and sugar. Press into spring-form pan.
3. Bake at 325º for 5 minutes.
4. In large bowl, beat softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.
5. Add powdered sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.
6. Beat until smooth.
7. Fold in 2 containers of whipped topping and spread over crust in spring-form pan.
8. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to allow dessert to set.
9. When ready to serve, remove the spring-form pan ring and top dessert with additional whipped topping. Sprinkle with a little pumpkin pie spice.



Yield: 8 Servings
Photo by Lois Linke