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Root Zone by  Ken Root

Ken Root


Ken Root has been an agricultural reporter for 37 years. He grew up on a small farm in central Oklahoma and taught vocational agriculture as his first job after college at Oklahoma State University. He has worked in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa as a broadcaster. Root was the original host of AgriTalk from 1994 to 2001. He has also been the executive director of the National AgriChemical Retailers Association and the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. He was recognized as the farm broadcaster of the year in 2009 and has won two Oscars in Agriculture for his reporting (1983 and 2008). Root now does daily radio and television programming and is a weekly columnist for the High Plains Journal and the Midwest Ag Journal.He can be reached at kenroot@gmail.com.

Getting past the passwords

By Ken Root I don’t know about you, but I am having a hard time with all the passwords required for accessing everything from my phone to my computer to my bank account. Every system has a password I have to type or punch in to


315 Articles:

NOV 10, 2014 —Chasing daylight

We re-positioned ourselves between dawn and dusk last week as we engaged in the semi-annual ritual of “springing forward and falling back” that leaves us with jet lag without going anywhere. I love daylight and I often curse the darkness, but it is [Read More]

NOV 3, 2014 —'From whence comes my help?'

I once posed this question to a group of farmers: “If you were dumped in downtown Dallas in your underwear, what would happen to you?” A few told me that my question was inappropriate. I told them I didn’t create the mental [Read More]

OCT 27, 2014 —What does Africa bring to the world's table?

By Ken Root Editor’s note: Root has been in South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia over the past two weeks looking at farms and observing the governments and culture of the region. Africa bring [Read More]

OCT 20, 2014 —Political and social issues still not sorted out in Southern Africa

By Ken Root Editor’s note: Root is in Southern Africa visiting farms in South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia. Hiring a full-time farm employee fo [Read More]

OCT 13, 2014 —Destination: Africa

By Ken Root I am ready to depart on a two-week trip to three countries in southern Africa. When this edition is published, I will have been on the continent for five days. It has been a longstanding dream for me, as an agricultural reporter, [Read More]

OCT 6, 2014 —The transformation of information

By Ken Root Human learning has been much the same since we started walking upright and became civilized. Perhaps you are thinking that happened to some of us only in the past few years. Learning is somewhat by tri [Read More]

SEP 29, 2014 —Nothing better than fresh picked

By Ken Root We are creatures of our senses with a long-term memory connected to taste and smell. I can catch the aroma of something that will trigger a memory far back in my childhood. My sense of taste, especially [Read More]

SEP 22, 2014 —'Big Brother' in the tractor cab

By Ken Root The greatest joy of many farmers is to drive their tractor across mellow ground, either tilling the soil or planting a new crop. Now farmers find their time is too valuable to be spent in a machine, but [Read More]

SEP 15, 2014 —Beef checkoff is in the fire

By Ken Root The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sent a terse message to the beef industry last week: “I do not shy away from tough decisions!” (In other words: “Don’t make me come in there!”) This is humorous and [Read More]

SEP 8, 2014 —The sole of a man

SEP 1, 2014 —Still learning at OSU with Alpha Gamma Rho reunion

AUG 18, 2014 —Trade counters conflict

AUG 11, 2014 —The sweet and sour of a progressive society

AUG 4, 2014 —The cyclical nature of agriculture--never to be denied

JUL 28, 2014 —The next generation of agricultural communicators: Ready to lead

JUL 21, 2014 —Gone fishin'

JUL 14, 2014 —The glacier of environmental regulation

JUL 7, 2014 —The Gold Rush: Greed vs. social responsibility

JUN 30, 2014 —Farmers at sea

JUN 23, 2014 —Feed sack dresses and marketing genius

JUN 9, 2014 —Condemning our children in the name of politics

JUN 2, 2014 —A close shave

MAY 26, 2014 —Memorials and memories

MAY 19, 2014 —Big Data: Who wins, who loses?

MAY 12, 2014 —Pasture poultry and breakfast burritos

MAY 5, 2014 —Study wars

APR 28, 2014 —Agriculture teachers touch young lives

APR 21, 2014 —When Wal-Mart goes organic, where will organic go?

APR 14, 2014 —Back to the Garden

MAR 31, 2014 —Eliminating work and expanding welfare

MAR 24, 2014 —Will there be another Norman Borlaug in the 21st century?

MAR 17, 2014 —An Okie looks at Texas

MAR 10, 2014 —Leave Russia alone

MAR 3, 2014 —Build the pipeline

FEB 24, 2014 —Hunger for spring renews and sustains life

FEB 17, 2014 —Farm reporters need counter cyclical payments

FEB 10, 2014 —Livestock interests fighting themselves over COOL rule

FEB 3, 2014 —Gunboat diplomacy may be needed to finish the Panama Canal

JAN 27, 2014 —Mail order returns

JAN 20, 2014 —January thaw

JAN 13, 2014 —General Mills is ridin' for the brand

JAN 6, 2014 —BSE: A decade of determination pays off

DEC 30, 2013 —The sale barn: You never know what's going to come through that gate

DEC 23, 2013 —Hell fire and brimstone

DEC 16, 2013 —A buyer's market in a changing world

DEC 2, 2013 —Climate change: How do we treat the earth's fever?

NOV 25, 2013 —Agriculture's Golden Goose expected to decrease production

NOV 18, 2013 —Sometimes you have to retreat to advance

NOV 11, 2013 —Doing nothing is not a strategy

NOV 4, 2013 —Election season is open early this time

OCT 28, 2013 —Africa--different continent--same world

OCT 14, 2013 —Data deprivation: A reality check for agriculture

OCT 7, 2013 —What people put in their front yards

SEP 30, 2013 —The world's future hinges on the harvest

SEP 23, 2013 —Legends of baseball bring back memories

SEP 16, 2013 —Embracing the hungry, rejecting the farmer

SEP 9, 2013 —The Irish drive on

AUG 26, 2013 —Ireland and U.S.: Entwined past, shared future

AUG 19, 2013 —The last slice of Americana?

AUG 12, 2013 —Laboratory-grown meat raises questions

JUL 29, 2013 —Sweet corn sweetens summer

JUL 22, 2013 —Finding my 'Roots' in a remarkable town--West Union, Iowa

JUL 15, 2013 —The 'Ditch Theory' of government revisited

JUL 8, 2013 —Work: The basis of human dignity

JUL 1, 2013 —Which form of energy production do you hate the least?

JUN 17, 2013 —Rainy days

JUN 10, 2013 —Capitalist-communist marketing merger

JUN 3, 2013 —Haircuts

MAY 27, 2013 —Farm versus food

MAY 20, 2013 —Passing this farm bill won't be a 'SNAP'

MAY 13, 2013 —Soaking up the sun

MAY 6, 2013 —Turkey camp

APR 22, 2013 —Ethanol recall

APR 15, 2013 —I predict the weather in 2013 will be...

APR 8, 2013 —Harvesting the land or mining the soil

APR 1, 2013 —Red capitalists

MAR 25, 2013 —Generation by generation, China moves ahead

MAR 18, 2013 —The fine art of napping

MAR 4, 2013 —A good man

FEB 25, 2013 —Ag secretaries step away from U.S. Senate

FEB 18, 2013 —Is it time to build new lakes across America?

FEB 11, 2013 —'So God Made a Farmer' touched our soul

FEB 4, 2013 —The Panamax Canal

JAN 28, 2013 —Change is constant; Uncertainty is certain

JAN 21, 2013 —Robots are taking our jobs

JAN 14, 2013 —The little church at the center of our world

DEC 24, 2012 —Company's coming

DEC 17, 2012 —Tough land, tougher people

DEC 10, 2012 —My food journey through life: From biscuits and gravy to pho soup

DEC 3, 2012 —Biased against both sides

NOV 26, 2012 —Dad's lunch pail

NOV 19, 2012 —First liar doesn't have a chance

NOV 12, 2012 —Seeing red, feeling blue

NOV 5, 2012 —Loss of federal jobs: Coming soon to your community

OCT 29, 2012 —Dan 'The Man' still fired up about agricultural policy

OCT 22, 2012 —Come on in, and we'll put on a pot of coffee

OCT 15, 2012 —Life without a farm bill--Is it worth living?

OCT 8, 2012 —From round fields to square

OCT 1, 2012 —The life you change may be your own

SEP 24, 2012 —Next time we'll bring our tractors

SEP 17, 2012 —Is every political goal impossible?

SEP 10, 2012 —Life on the Mississippi: Room for everyone

SEP 3, 2012 —How can anyone be hungry in America?

AUG 27, 2012 —The database of our lives

AUG 20, 2012 —Battleground Iowa

AUG 6, 2012 —Do the math!

JUL 30, 2012 —A kid at the fair

JUL 23, 2012 —Praying for rain

JUL 16, 2012 —Raising livestock is good for the soul

JUL 9, 2012 —Sweat!

JUN 25, 2012 —Trade's trials and tribulations

JUN 18, 2012 —Oren lives

JUN 11, 2012 —It'll ride

JUN 4, 2012 —No grass unmown

MAY 28, 2012 —Education in peril

MAY 14, 2012 —The future of China

MAY 7, 2012 —A Brave New World--Trainees wanted

APR 30, 2012 —Hope for 'slightly annoyed bovine' reaction

APR 16, 2012 —Severely early spring

APR 9, 2012 —Father to son

MAR 26, 2012 —Fractured and failing infrastructure

MAR 19, 2012 —Don't plant more corn

MAR 12, 2012 —Stay in the ruts

MAR 5, 2012 —Monsanto returns to South American soybean market

FEB 27, 2012 —Go south, young man? Brazil has great potential

FEB 20, 2012 —21st century communism

FEB 13, 2012 —Life in rural America is not a spectator sport

FEB 6, 2012 —Little cattle

JAN 30, 2012 —Closing government offices and opening our minds

JAN 23, 2012 —Costa Rica: Prototype for the future?

JAN 16, 2012 —Appreciating abilities

JAN 9, 2012 —Crop insurance: A safety net that is real

JAN 2, 2012 —Birthday of the century

DEC 26, 2011 —Goin' after one

DEC 19, 2011 —Hope from the heartland

DEC 5, 2011 —Intoxicated by cheap gasoline

NOV 28, 2011 —Ag committee rushes to board train that is 'off the tracks'

NOV 21, 2011 —Why do we work?

NOV 14, 2011 —Ethanol: Love it or leave it?

NOV 7, 2011 —Sharing power with China

OCT 31, 2011 —Poor but proud

OCT 24, 2011 —Pumpkin record heads north

OCT 17, 2011 —Everyone needs an identity

OCT 10, 2011 —Weed Armageddon?

SEP 26, 2011 —The dreaded tomato hornworm

SEP 19, 2011 —Get off my land

SEP 12, 2011 —Closing post offices

SEP 5, 2011 —Crop insurance may be the last program standing

AUG 29, 2011 —'24 Hour Bait Shop'

AUG 15, 2011 —A commercial driver's license to operate a tractor?

AUG 8, 2011 —Man versus mountain

AUG 1, 2011 —Willie Nelson to be inducted into Agriculture Hall of Fame

JUL 25, 2011 —Social insecurity

JUL 18, 2011 —Cellulosic ethanol and cold fusion

JUL 11, 2011 —Berry picking season

JUL 4, 2011 —Flooding on the Missouri River: An agricultural perspective

JUN 27, 2011 —Last call for ethanol?

JUN 20, 2011 —Upgrading the grid

JUN 13, 2011 —I'll buy the coffee

JUN 6, 2011 —Storms on the Plains

MAY 30, 2011 —Pets past and present

MAY 23, 2011 —Mexican trucks: NAFTA's next big challenge

MAY 16, 2011 —Please welcome the graduates of 2011

MAY 9, 2011 —Government accountability, bottom to top

MAY 2, 2011 —Driving to church

APR 25, 2011 —How will agriculture cope with regulatory agencies?

APR 18, 2011 —Ken Root asks again: The last farm bill?

APR 11, 2011 —Chairman Lucas: The Man from Oklahoma

MAR 28, 2011 —Counties need to go

MAR 21, 2011 —What will spring bring?

MAR 14, 2011 —The times they are a-changin'

MAR 7, 2011 —The dark of night

FEB 28, 2011 —A congressional revolution

FEB 21, 2011 —Egypt's revolution

FEB 7, 2011 —Winter storms then and now

JAN 31, 2011 —Men can't shop!

JAN 24, 2011 —Shrinking horizons

JAN 17, 2011 —Ken into space

JAN 10, 2011 —EPA and the Chesapeake Bay

JAN 3, 2011 —The ethanol decade

DEC 27, 2010 —The ideal solution

DEC 20, 2010 —Winter's cold was countered by family's warmth

DEC 13, 2010 —Cowboys in Vegas

DEC 6, 2010 —Auctions: Woven into the fabric of agriculture

NOV 22, 2010 —Cellulosic ethanol may not materialize

NOV 15, 2010 —The ditch theory of government

NOV 8, 2010 —For Sale: GTO, broke to lead

NOV 1, 2010 —Empty spaces

OCT 25, 2010 —Helping people help themselves

OCT 18, 2010 —Morality in trade

OCT 11, 2010 —October is April backward

OCT 4, 2010 —Explain why, not just how

SEP 27, 2010 —Lucky to be alive

SEP 20, 2010 —Expanding grain exports: Dead in the water

SEP 13, 2010 —The strings that connect us

SEP 6, 2010 —Break the packers: Secure the White House

AUG 30, 2010 —The cost of money

AUG 16, 2010 —Standing at the gateway to the world of biotechnology

AUG 9, 2010 —Being cool

AUG 2, 2010 —Cattle industry conflict threatens checkoff and leadership

JUL 26, 2010 —The end of capitalism?

JUL 19, 2010 —Will Congress renew renewables?

JUL 12, 2010 —Ohio truce with HSUS will reveal social truth about animal agriculture

JUL 5, 2010 —A developing world

JUN 28, 2010 —A bureaucratic nightmare

JUN 21, 2010 —Fish out of water

JUN 14, 2010 —Long, warm days can bring us new insights

JUN 7, 2010 —Chain saw madness

MAY 31, 2010 —The politics of pork

MAY 24, 2010 —Working for wages

MAY 17, 2010 —America's meat preferences change slowly

MAY 10, 2010 —Must the government pay farmers to farm?

MAY 3, 2010 —Conservation districts celebrate 55 years of stewardship

APR 26, 2010 —Conservation was our salvation

APR 19, 2010 —Immigration frustration

APR 12, 2010 —Fighting junk

APR 5, 2010 —Planting the seed

MAR 29, 2010 —The magic box

MAR 22, 2010 —Anti-trust politics

MAR 15, 2010 —Food is life

MAR 8, 2010 —Farmers listen best to other farmers

MAR 1, 2010 —Can we stomach raw milk?

FEB 22, 2010 —Global warming has left me cold

FEB 15, 2010 —Animal identification: USDA surrenders, but it's still going to happen

FEB 8, 2010 —Animal rights versus animal welfare

FEB 1, 2010 —You are never too old to be stupid

JAN 25, 2010 —The American bison: Romance and reality

JAN 18, 2010 —Poor, but proud

JAN 11, 2010 —Mail order catalogs

JAN 4, 2010 —Looking forward, not back

DEC 28, 2009 —Pull the plug on Granny...Pull the plug for free!

DEC 21, 2009 —Winter: The most challenging season

DEC 14, 2009 —Manifest destiny for Brazil versus global climate treaty

DEC 7, 2009 —Ethanol needs to disappear

NOV 30, 2009 —Growing vertical

NOV 23, 2009 —Doing good deeds

NOV 16, 2009 —The fall of the Wall

NOV 9, 2009 —Crop scouting In space

NOV 2, 2009 —TV fantasy is not scientific reality

OCT 26, 2009 —Is polarized politics good for anyone?

OCT 19, 2009 —Death of the dollar?

OCT 12, 2009 —Uncertain times

OCT 5, 2009 —Orion rises

SEP 28, 2009 —The honor box

SEP 21, 2009 —Norman Borlaug: Agriculture's ultimate humanitarian

SEP 14, 2009 —COOL Fuel

SEP 14, 2009 —COOL Fuel

SEP 7, 2009 —Sharing the road

AUG 31, 2009 —The biggest and the best

AUG 24, 2009 —Freedom to Fail

AUG 17, 2009 —We will bury you, but first let's look at your hybrid corn

AUG 10, 2009 —Report card time

AUG 3, 2009 —Climate change legislation is real!

JUL 27, 2009 —Thank you, Uncle Walter

JUL 20, 2009 —Words rather than deeds

JUL 13, 2009 —Commerce face to face

JUL 6, 2009 —Political climate change

JUN 29, 2009 —Stained glass windows

JUN 22, 2009 —Agriculture: White as the snow, but are we as pure?

JUN 15, 2009 —Switchgrass to ethanol, will the day ever come?

JUN 1, 2009 —The Flint Hills of Kansas

MAY 25, 2009 —No beef about this beef

MAY 18, 2009 —My affinity for junk

MAY 11, 2009 —Time to erase county lines

MAY 4, 2009 —Putting a face on animal activism

APR 27, 2009 —The carbon footprint may be on agriculture's face

APR 20, 2009 —Many miles of bad road

APR 13, 2009 —What will become of us?

APR 6, 2009 —Delayed but not deterred!

MAR 30, 2009 —Ahead of our time

MAR 23, 2009 —U.S farm policy: Have we become Zimbabwe West?

MAR 16, 2009 —Sunrise/Sunset

MAR 9, 2009 —Surviving tough times

MAR 2, 2009 —Starlink: The sequel

FEB 23, 2009 —I'm ready for an electronic identification chip

FEB 16, 2009 —Does a farm have a soul?

FEB 9, 2009 —Rural broadband is the next big thing

FEB 2, 2009 —Farming in Paradise

JAN 26, 2009 —No cow left behind

JAN 19, 2009 —We still have to eat!

JAN 12, 2009 —Resolve to evolve

JAN 5, 2009 —Lost! (According to my wife)

DEC 29, 2008 —Now is good time to examine what our land means to us

DEC 22, 2008 —Shots fired in soybean checkoff battle

DEC 15, 2008 —Watch the signs to know what's coming

DEC 8, 2008 —Snow- Memories of an older child

DEC 1, 2008 —A gas tax... for livestock?

NOV 17, 2008 —Life before refrigeration

NOV 10, 2008 —My word is my bond

NOV 3, 2008 —Please keep your hands and feet inside the car until the ride has come to a complete stop

OCT 27, 2008 —Shall we gather at the river and throw our cell phones away?

OCT 20, 2008 —Continent of origin labeling

OCT 13, 2008 —Encouragement and philosophy

OCT 6, 2008 —The role of government

SEP 22, 2008 —Sending money home

SEP 8, 2008 —Summer circus

SEP 1, 2008 —Ethanol- Can it blend in?

AUG 25, 2008 —The power is in the people

AUG 18, 2008 —Long, warm days can bring us new insights

AUG 11, 2008 —Declare victory and retreat

AUG 4, 2008 —The regulatory glacier is not melting

JUL 21, 2008 —Emotion versus logic on the Conservation Reserve

JUL 14, 2008 —Raising livestock may be bad for the pocketbook but it is good for the soul

JUL 7, 2008 —The Blame Game

JUN 30, 2008 —Left-handed ice cream

JUN 23, 2008 —Rivers and corn are both on the rise in Iowa

JUN 2, 2008 —Keeping natural disasters in perspective

MAY 26, 2008 —There are some things even a president can't do

MAY 19, 2008 —Food production is front and center

MAY 12, 2008 —The dignity of the seed

APR 28, 2008 —Balancing trade

MAR 24, 2008 —Turning parking lots into plowed fields

FEB 4, 2008 —Stand by for allotments and parity!

JAN 7, 2008 —Today's farmers are just scratching the surface


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