Today, Latham RSM, John Toft, was in the field with KTIC 840 AM Rural Radio’s Farm Broadcaster Chad Moyer, along with Latham Dealer Joel Tyson and his son John Tyson.
Farming was Rory Allen’s first love. His dad gave him a gilt when he was 9 years old. And by the time he was age 14, Rory was farrowing 60 sows. He first rented ground in 1974 as part of his high school FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) and has continued to build his operation over the past 38 years.
After a tornado took half of the hog barn in 1993, Rory was forced to make a decision. He either needed to build new hog facilities or get out of the business. He decided, given hog prices at the time, to focus his attention elsewhere. The time and energy that Rory had devoted to raising hogs was then channeled into his seed business.
“I started as a Latham® dealer 22 years ago, and the quality of the seed has always been excellent,” says Rory. “We’ve had issues with lower germ with other companies in the past but never with Latham. Plus, we enjoy the personal service we get from Latham. It means a lot to have the company owners know you on a first-name basis, shake your hand as they greet you, and sit down and talk with you.”
Sitting down with customers and helping them select the seed that best fits their farming style is one of the things Rory enjoys most about being a seed dealer. He also likes being able to get a first look at new technology and is especially pleased with the results he’s been seeing with Latham® soybean genetics combined with the Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® trait technology.
Pride in farming and a love for the country life is evident when you pull into the lane of Rory and Carol Allen’s beautiful farmstead just outside the village of Pender, Nebraska. As newlyweds, the couple moved onto the farm where Rory was raised. It’s also where they raised their son and two daughters: Lance, 27; Courtney, 25; and Kayci, 21. Now they’re also the proud grandparents of a 15-month-old grandson.
“I’d never been on a farm before I met Rory, but I really enjoy living in the country,” says Carol, who has become adept at driving tractors and hauling grain. She’s also been a Pampered Chef® consultant for 18 years, which has given her the flexibility to work around kids’ schedules and farming. “Our kids enjoyed many freedoms by living here, yet we were close enough to town so they could be involved in many school activities and sports.”
While both Rory and Carol enjoy operating their own businesses, they also like to make time for family meals. Make-ahead meals are perfect for busy times of year like spring planting. That’s why Runza Casserole is one of Carol’s go-to recipes. Today she’s also sharing a recipe for Biscuits & Gravy Casserole that was a crowd pleaser at their church’s recent Easter breakfast.
I have to admit that I was feeling a bit pampered myself after sitting down with the Allens and being treated to a piece of angel food cake topped with pineapple. Perhaps that’s another recipe I can request from Carol…
- 1 lb pork sausage
- 2 T butter
- 2 packages Sausage Gravy Mix (makes 2 cups per package)
- 12 eggs
- 1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tubes refrigerated biscuits
Cook sausage, set aside. In large saucepan, make gravy according to directions. Add sausage to gravy, set aside. In large bowl whisk eggs, evaporated milk and salt. Soft scramble eggs with the butter. In a 9×13 pan (or the Pampered Chef Stoneware Rectangle Baker) layer gravy, eggs, gravy, eggs, gravy, then top with biscuits.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350° until biscuits are golden brown.
- 1 lb hamburger
- 1/2 head cabbage
- 3/4 c chopped onion
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 packages crescent rolls
- 1 1/2 c cheese (American or Velvetta)
Brown hamburger with onion. Leave burner on low & add shredded cabbage, salt, black pepper & garlic. Cook until cabbage is wilted & soft (about 7 minutes). Grease 9×13 pan (or Pampered Chef Stoneware Rectangle Baker). Put half of the meat mixture in the pan & sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Place 1 package of crescent rolls on top of cheese. Repeat layers again. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.
Among the rolling hills of eastern Nebraska, business is flourishing for Virgil and Irene Rasmussen. This enterprising couple has found a way to turn their passions into business. Virgil began farming in 1975 and also serves as a Latham® seed dealer. Plus, he sells customized toy tractors. Irene operates a custom embroidery business from the comfort of their two-story farmhouse where Irene’s grandparents made their home from 1912 to 1962.
The Rasmussens are situated in the heart of farm country with quick and easy access to large markets including Sioux City, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska. While many farmers associate the term “market” with their local grain elevator, “market” for the Rasmussens encompasses clothing retailers.
Irene’s embroidery business, Taylor-Made Clothing, began nearly 15 years ago on somewhat of a whim. She and Virgil were on their way to Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha when a sign for sewing machine, offering a year’s free interest, caught her eye.
“My goal was to make that sewing machine pay for itself within a year, but I paid for it within three months!” says Irene with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. “I started doing custom embroidery with that little machine and kept upgrading as my business grew. Today I operate two commercial embroidery machines.”
Taylor-Made Clothing is a thriving, one-woman business. This time of year Irene enters her sewing room before 9 a.m. and often doesn’t leave it again until 7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. Fridays are reserved for traveling and setting up at craft shows.
“We’ve made so many friends by going to the same shows year after year, and we’ve met so many interesting people from around the world,” says Irene. “A gentleman from Britain asked me to customize a shirt with a British tractor and then he ordered more shirts for his staff after he got back home. Men from Japan, Russia, South Africa and South America, who are visiting the Farm Progress Show, have purchased our shirts as gifts for their wives and children.”
Irene travels to farm shows and craft fairs nearly every weekend between July and December. Her handiwork also is offered through the Grow Nebraska website and in boutique stores including Unforgettable Nebraska in Omaha, the Great Platte Archway gift shop and the Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center (formerly the Crane Meadows Nature Center).
When he’s not farming with their son, Troy, or tending to the seed business, Virgil accompanies Irene on the farm show circuit. This time of year, however, he’s busy meeting with his customers and confirming their seed orders.
“I’m reiterating to my customers the importance of planting a diversified portfolio of seed products. I’m especially interested in new modes of action,” says Virgil, who believes diversity of tactics is key to fighting weed resistance. “We’re starting to see resistance to marestail and waterhemp. I don’t want to lose yield to weeds, so we’re interested in comparing the performance of Liberty products verses Roundup Ready.”
Improving product performance is another of Virgil’s passions. He’s excited about the new corn hybrid and soybean varieties that are a part of Latham’s 2012 lineup.
Gardening is another shared passion. Each summer the Rasmussens plant five large vegetable plots in which they raise tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. They also raise their own sweet corn and enjoy shopping at farmers’ markets.
This past summer Irene found a dressing recipe that they especially enjoyed using as a dip for fresh produce. She used this same recipe as a dressing for a vegetable salad served at her granddaughter’s high school graduation, and it was such a hit that she’s sharing the “secret” recipe with The Field Position today. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
• 1 c. sugar
• ½ c. white vinegar
• dash of lemon juice
• 1 t. salt
• ¾ c. ketchup