MU Extension project helps 93-year-old farmer – Houston Herald

Farmers like 93-year-old Harry Keutzer don’t quit just because their body parts slow down.

His hens, cows and pets depend on him. So do customers at the Kansas City-area farmers markets where he sells produce, eggs and hand-loomed rugs.

The Missouri AgrAbility Project, through University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension and the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, provides aging farmers with information, referrals and a variety of resources to keep working.

Lincoln University Extension farm and AgrAbility outreach worker Susan Jaster carried out an assessment of accessibility at Keutzer’s Lafayette County farm and made recommendations on how to make the home safer and more accessible.


Harry Keutzer


MU Extension state health and safety specialist Karen Funkenbusch said AgrAbility helps farmers with disabilities caused by age, injury or illness to keep farming. The program provides research-based information and appropriate referrals to other agencies as needed.

America’s farm population has been aging rapidly over the last 30 years. According to the USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture, released in 2014, the average age of U.S. farmers is 58.3 years. There are now more farmers over 75 than between the ages of 35 and 44, Funkenbusch said.

Keutzer and his daughter-in-law, Stacy, grew 3,000 tomato plants in a high tunnel last year. They also planted a three-acre garden and put in a large plot of potatoes on a neighbor’s garden spot. Stacy picks all of the produce and Harry sorts it. Both wash and pack it.

Mobility is a challenge. When it rains, Keutzer has to stay inside and can’t work. But Keutzer’s energy level and stamina during the three-hour farm assessment surprised Jaster.

“He has the energy and deserves to be able to carry on his active life,” she said.

AgrAbility recommended a different type of scooter to reduce fatigue and help him maneuver around the farm over muddy and rough ground. The program also recommended a hydraulic lift to move pallets from the ground to make it easier to load produce onto the enclosed truck the Keutzers take to farmers markets.

Harry’s weathered hands are rarely idle and his mind remains active with farmer ingenuity. He finds it increasingly difficult to plant, so he and his son, Virgil, built a transplanter for their small tractor. It plants and waters the plant plug and lays weed-barrier plastic.

He uses his scooter to check on 100 chickens and takes buckets of water to livestock. He milks a three-teated cow that provides milk for two calves and a gallon a day for milk, butter, homemade ice cream and tapioca for the Keutzers.

He still enjoys cutting wood. He makes wine and helps his daughter-in-law cut fabric strips to make into loomed rugs. In October, he assisted a calving cow with a difficult birth.

Keutzer grew up working with his brothers on his father’s 500-acre farm at Creighton, Mo. He was so small when he started milking cows that his father had a special milking stool made for him.

He went to a country school until eighth grade. He said boys carried .22-caliber single-shot rifles to school, shooting rabbits and squirrels along the way to feed their families. And all boys had a two-bladed pocketknife, he says, to skin wild game and play “mumblepeg” at recess.

After school each day, he listened to 15 minutes of the Tom Mix cowboy show on the radio before starting chores. The radio wasn’t turned on again until 9:30 p.m., when the family listened to “Amos ’n’ Andy” and the news.

He farmed with a team of horses before buying his first tractor, a Farmall F-20. In 1942, Harry bought his second tractor, an Allis-Chalmers WC, at auction for $870.

He and other farmers anxiously awaited electrification through REA. On Jan. 7, 1945, he and his wife, Johnnie, celebrated her birthday in nearby Clinton. They returned home to a house lit with electricity, and their new Montgomery Ward refrigerator was plugged in and running.

He, his wife and a hired hand traveled the area baling hay from spring to fall. His wife drove the tractor as he put the 8 ½-foot wires into the baler. The hired hand tied the bales. It was hard work, but Keutzer and his wife made enough money to buy a new Kaiser automobile with cash.

In 1952, the Keutzers moved to southern Minnesota, where his uncles lived. He rented 320 acres on shares and was one of the first to plant soybean. Corn was selling for $1.25 a bushel under a government price-protection system.

Times were different then, Harry recalls. Farm implement dealers and oil companies helped young farmers get started by extending credit until crops were sold. He bought a four-row cultivator, planter, disk, a new corn picker and two new tractors – a John Deere 720 diesel and an IH Farmall 400 – on credit.

He and Johnnie also opened their home to 50 foster children during their time in Minnesota. The dinner table was often set for more than 20. He taught the children the value of rural life, hard work and being self-sufficient.

In 1959, his father quit farming and he returned to Missouri. Harry rented the farm next to his father’s and had 1,000 acres of South Grand River bottomland.

They farmed the home place until 1972, when Truman Reservoir took much of their land. They sold out and returned to Minnesota to a 45-head dairy farm.

His son met Stacy and married. She wasn’t a farm girl but quickly learned how to care for 45 bucket calves. They farmed there until Harry’s wife died, then moved to Iowa. He worked until he was 81 as a night watchman for Spee-Dee Delivery Services before moving to Napoleon.

Keutzer’s farming practices and lifestyle evolved as times and technology changed. He keeps current with technology by following farm auctions and news online.

Just as he learned to incorporate new farming methods throughout his life, he has learned to adjust as a farming nonagenarian.

AgrAbility gives him the resources to continue doing what he loves to do-provide food to feed America.

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of USDA, administers the AgrAbility Project.

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Brighten up your home – Waterbury Republican American

Gorgeous Bull Skull by Aureus Arts

CHICAGO TRIBUNENo need to break out the crayons. Beat the winter grays with bright stuff for your home. Here are some products to get you started.

1. Scottish designer Jonathan Saunders’ cheeky designs make clashing colors harmonious. His Herringbone carpet for The Rug Company is a case in point. $129 per square foot at The Rug Company, Chicago.

2. Primary colors and simple organic shapes mark the chairs from the Swedish design trio Claesson Koivisto Rune for Tacchini. The Kelly E Chair is $2,300, at Orange Skin, Chicago.

3. The Lindona Necklace from Songa Designs, an eco-friendly accessories line made by women in Rwanda as a way to establish their economic independence. Each handmade piece is made of repurposed natural materials such as banana leaf fiber, sisal plant, and cow horn. $48 at songadesigns. com.

4. Improve your mood by upholstering Vitra’s Mariposa sofa in a bold hue. Pick from dozens of colors including poppy red, grass green, magenta and lemon, pictured. $7,520 at

5. Four shades in different hues give the Tam Tam suspension lamp by Design Fabien Dumas a colorful personality. $1,093 at

6. Give time the attention it deserves with a clock that steals the proverbial show. Normann Copenhagen’s Watch Me Wall Clock is $50 at

7. Studio Job’s paper lamp for Moooi is inspired by classic lamps but draws on a crafty material. $1,703.00 at

8. Warm up any seat in the room with Maharam’s Millerstripe Pillow with fabric designed by famed 20th-century industrial designer Alexander Girard. The 17-inch pillow is 92 percent wool and 8 percent nylon and sports a cotton insert with a duck feather fill. $175 at

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Dairy cow grooming behavior reveals complex social networks – Feedstuffs

Like people, cattle are social creatures with complex relationships that change as group dynamics evolve, and a study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science is offering new insights into the social networking behavior of dairy cows, building on a body of research that could someday help reshape farm management practices to create healthier living environments for the animals.

A team of researchers in Chile and the U.S. spent 30 days observing a small herd of dairy cows that had recently given birth to understand the web of bovine interactions based on social grooming behavior, also known as allogrooming, an announcement from the journal publisher said.

In modern dairy production systems, cows are frequently shuffled into different groups depending on factors such as lactation stage, nutrition requirements and breeding, the announcement said. The animals must re-establish their social structure during each regrouping, which previous research has shown causes negative effects on behavior, health and productivity.

Allogrooming, which generally involves one cow licking another around the head and neck, is believed to serve a number of social purposes, the researchers said. For instance, social grooming is a way to establish individual bonds between members of a group and also enhances the herd’s overall social cohesion.

“Our aim was to understand how social networks are formed by cows after they are reunited at the beginning of the milking period and what factors may influence these changes. This is important because cattle form strong bonds, which offer them social support and help them cope with the stressors that occur regularly in dairy cows’ lives,” said lead author Dr. Gustavo E. Monti from the Institute of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at the Austral University of Chile.

The study took place at a pasture-based dairy farm at an agricultural research station in the south-central city of Valdivia, Chile. Researchers recorded a total of 1,329 allogrooming events from 38 cows during the month-long experiment.

Their observations uncovered a variety of patterns based on different attributes, such as each animal’s age and social rank. For example, cows tended to groom individuals that had previously groomed them, implying mutual cooperation, the researchers said. They also tended to prefer individuals of similar age, suggesting a certain familiarity because they grew up together.

Meanwhile, the most active groomers that did not seem to prefer specific individuals actually received less attention from other group members over time. Older individuals groomed more cows than younger ones, suggesting that allogrooming could be related to seniority, the researchers suggested.

“Our results indicate that licking behavior is important to make friends and to maintain harmony in the herd. That older cows groom more individuals suggests that they take the role of ‘peacemakers’ in the herd,” Monti said.

The observational study used a modern sociological research method called social network analysis, which reconstructs social interactions graphically using nodes that represent individuals and links that refer to relationships that connect them, the announcement explained.

While such analyses have been used to understand animals’ social networks, this research is one of the first to employ a statistical modeling method known as stochastic actor-oriented modeling (SAOM) to mammals other than humans. The SAOM framework crunches data on individual attributes and group dynamics to understand how group members change their relationships over time.

“It is important for farmers to be mindful of the relevance of the social aspects of the lives of cows — animals that form complex emotional relationships within their group. Farmers should be aware that cows frequently grooming each other is a positive sign that means that those cows get along. On the contrary, if social grooming declines, it may be a sign of impaired welfare. This new knowledge should be translated into innovative practical strategies that will result in the continued integration of cattle emotional and social needs into management systems,” Monti said.

Other researchers involved in the study include Inés de Freslon and Ana C. Strappini with Universidad Austral de Chile and J.M. Peralta with the Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, Cal.

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Data shows beef cow weight varies from industry standard – Beef Magazine

Keep or cull. It is the age-old question of beef cattle producers when determining whether a cow stays on the farm or is sold. While farmers rely on history of cow performance and calf crop, often this information is filed only in the human mind. And let’s face it, sometimes those memories are not quite as sharp as we would like them to be.

This year, the University of Missouri Extension started a three-year project to help beef producers improve whole-herd record keeping. By comparing individual and herd data to regional and national standards, farmers may be able to use the information to help decide which cows to retain and which ones to remove.

Herd evaluations underway

MU Extension livestock specialists in Columbia, Albany and Savannah worked with three northwestern Missouri producers to record and compare whole-herd production data, says Shawn Deering, MU Extension livestock specialist.

They collected data on cows and calves, which included evaluating age, breed, weight, body condition score, disposition and days pregnant, if available. They also gathered birthdate, breed, sex, dam, sire (if available) and weight on calves.

The data was used to monitor herd and individual animal performance in northwestern Missouri herds. In only six months, the project is yielding results.

“Early data collection has already generated some interesting information related to mature cow weight,” Deering says.

Photo courtesy of MU ExtensionJim Humphrey guiding a calf from the cattle chute to be weighed

DATA COLLECTION: MU Extension livestock specialist Jim Humphrey (right) waits to weigh a spring-born calf for a producer participating in the pilot record-keeping project.

Specialists compared data from the 500 head of cows to accepted industry standards, he says. National industry standards may differ greatly from regional herd data.

Deering says that producers, veterinarians, beef nutritionists and university experts accept 1,200 pounds as the industry standard for average cow weight. However, cows used in this project weighed from 662 to 1,730 pounds.

“That is a 1,068-pound difference between the lightest cow weighed and the heaviest cow,” Deering says.

The lightest animal was a first-calf heifer and the heaviest was a 7-year-old mature cow. “Obviously, the age gap does explain part of the difference,” he says, “but that is still a wide range.”

Looking at all influencers

Environment, forage base and marketing plan all should factor into the ideal cow size for individual producers, Deering says. Bigger cows consume more feed and cost more to maintain.

“Our hope is that this project will give us a good idea of current average cow size in northwest Missouri and serve as a guide to determine what the ideal for our area might be,” he says.

Farmers then can use this type of information to determine which cows can perform at their optimum level in their operation and which ones may have better results in another Missouri beef herd.

For more information on the project, contact MU Extension veterinarian Craig Payne at 573-882-7848; state beef nutritionist Eric Bailey at 573-884-7873; livestock specialist Jim Humphrey at 816-324-3147; or livestock specialist Shawn Deering at 660-726-5610.

Source: University of Missouri Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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Cow 'haunts' tahsildar's car for 30 minutes in Telangana – Mumbai Mirror

Hyderabad: A cow followed a tahsildar’s car for 30 minutes, leaving the officer scared and passersby surprised.

When the tahsildar stopped the car to see that the cow goes away, she too stopped, walked to the front as if she was not allowing him to move.

The unusual incident happened in Wanaparthy town in Telangana.

The cow started following the tahsildar’s car from Praja Vaidya Shala area in the town. When he stopped at bus station, she stopped and moved to the front, ensuring that the car would not move. She also came towards his seat. When he again started, the cow began to walk along. The cow ignored cars, bikes and even a truck moving close.

The cow moved away only after some local people chased it away with logs.

Locals interpreted that the cow bore grudge because the tahsildar got a cowshed (Gau Shala) shifted from its original place to a new place. But, the tahsildar claimed that the cow followed him out of affection. He said the cow wanders in the streets and follows some people. “It is just affection,” the tahsildar maintained.

Wanaparthy tahsildar Rajender Goud issued a statement saying the vehicle does not belong to him. He also clarified that Wanaparthy tahsildar had never shifted cowshed. The cow, he said, follows many people like this.

Some youth videographed the scenes of the cow following the tahsildar’s car and circulated on social media groups.

A similar incident took place in Machilipatnam town in Andhra Pradesh in November last year. A cow attacked A rickshaw puller at bus station, allegedly after her calf died in a road accident and the carcasses were carried in the particular rickshaw. The cow pushed him on the ground and attached as if he was her enemy. The man got relief only after locals chased the cow away using logs.

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Napa Journal: They don't make summers like this anymore – Napa Valley Register

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Kevin Courtney masked

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There is little about my childhood that makes me nostalgic. My family moved ever few years from state to state, my parents got a bitter divorce, I was mostly a loner.

But there was a brief period when conditions were golden — my prime boyhood years between age 7 and 10 when we lived in rural Connecticut. Summertime in Stafford Springs was a glorious ramble.

I have no idea how children that age spend their summers these days. Even before pandemic restrictions, I hardly ever saw kids out and about. Were they inside playing on their devices? Off at camps?

Quite the mystery!

If you could have flown a drone over my country neighborhood in the mid-50s, you’d have seen me romping outdoors all summer with my brother Joe and our buddies next door, Johnny and Freddy. We were New England Huck Finns who improvised our own entertainment.

Some of it was shocking from today’s perspective. We shot tiny birds with our BB guns, then devoured them at “Robin Hood” cookouts.

When we weren’t killing birds, we were hunting frogs and scooping up their gelatinous egg blobs from the nearby pond along the dirt road that disappeared deep into a forest without known limits.

In the late summer, we rode in the bed of a truck behind the baling machine that turned the hay field behind our houses into beautifully wrapped bundles of cow food.

We’d walk down a country lane to an isolated cemetery where graves going back two centuries were protected by a wall built from the rocks that departing glaciers had dropped thousands of years earlier.

We ate sandwiches between the lichen-covered gravestones and attempted to walk the top of the overgrown wall while avoiding poison ivy.

There was an 18th century vibe to our country enclave. The sunken outline of the old “post road” from New York to Boston ran through our front yard. The core of our house was 200 years old and had once been a stable for travelers who stayed at the now-ramshackle inn next door.

According to legend, Lafayette stayed at our house, or at least his horse did.

An elderly woman lived alone in the inn. She once showed off ancient buffalo skin rugs on the floor of a ballroom on springs that softened the impact of dancing. I tried, but my 75-pound body couldn’t get the floor to bounce.

Near the old inn lived a younger playmate whose home barely had modern conveniences. His family had a hand pump in the kitchen to draw well water.

When Joe and I were out of doors, we were mostly bare chested, our skin baked brown by the sun. I cringe at the memory of such epidermis abuse. I don’t blame my mother. I doubt sunscreen had been invented.

When I did clothe myself, it was often to dress up as a cowboy, complete with boots and a toy pistol strapped to my side. How I loved playing cowboys … and Indians. My black-and-white TV heroes were all cowboys.

Where were my parents during these summers? My mother had my younger sister and newborn to care for. I guess my dad was off at work. I don’t recall either of them giving me much summer guidance.

And then, poof, it all ended. We moved to a ticky-tacky, tiny-lot subdivision in a northern New Jersey suburb as I entered sixth grade. This was an alien urban environment filled with teenagers whose mere presence intimidated me.

That ended my roaming, shirt-less adventurous summers. I retreated indoors and became a book worm.

Watch Now: On the Napa River Trail with Carol and Gail

Kevin can be reached at 707- 256-2217 or Napa Valley Register, 1615 Soscol Ave., Napa, 94559, or

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Giant cow spotted on Vermont Statehouse lawn – WCAX

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – Arguably Vermont’s largest cow paid a visit to Montpelier on Friday with a message of bringing people together through art.

Vermont artist D.J. Barry brought his 30-foot inflatable cow onto the Statehouse lawn. On its hide– a world map. The art instillation is called a World Cow.

Amid a global pandemic and deepening political division, Barry says everyone can come together by understanding we are “all spots on the same cow.”

“I think the way we’ll all get past that is if we work together. So World Cow aims to bring people together and remind them we’re in this life together, this is our one shot to move forward and so to do it efficiently, we need to put our differences aside,” Barry said.

Barry has worked with artists across the globe in 13 different countries to paint World Cow. This week, a 15-foot-tall World Cow mural is also in the works in India.

Copyright 2020 WCAX. All rights reserved.

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