Try giving your favorite farmer a book this year

Giving a book as a gift for the holidays may seem rote to some, but it can also be an opportunity to speak to the person’s interests; help foster imagination; or impart deep knowledge on a subject they’re trying to master.

International Harvester Trucks: The Complete History

Giving a book as a gift for the holidays might seem rote to some, but it can be an opportunity to speak to the person's interests, help foster imagination or impart deep knowledge on a subject they're trying to master.

Books make excellent gifts for young and old. No matter whether it's staying up-to-date on the most recent technological trends or getting lost in a novel about pioneer farming efforts, there really is something for everyone. Besides, as Garrison Keillor said, "A books is a gift you can open again and again."

"International Harvester Trucks: The Complete History"

by Patrick Foster

Published 2015


208 pages

International Harvester has had a lot of irons on the fire over the years. That includes manufacturing everything from station wagons to heavy-duty trucks for agricultural and industrial uses. International Harvester Trucks: The Complete History captures the company's work with detail. IH's International Truck and Engine Corporation's first truck rolled off the assembly line in 1907 and continues to produce vehicles of all kinds today. The book gives special attention to now-collectible models, including the Travelall and Scout, and is filled with photos old and new to bring early experimental models and modern technological marvels to life.

"Freeman: The Agriculture Years"

by Rodney Leonard

Published 2015

184 pages

Minnesota native Orville Freeman not only served as the state's governor from the mid-1950s until the early '60s, he went on to be U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. In Freeman: The Agriculture Years, author Rodney Leonard chronicles Freeman's work. During his turn as ag secretary, Freeman helped stabilize commodity prices and decrease chronic malnutrition and hunger. He did so by creating demand for agricultural products through new programs like the food stamp and Women, Infants and Children programs and through expanding school lunch programs.

"The Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food from America's Dairy Farm" Families


Edited by Lisa Kingsley

Published 2015

256 pages

This year saw the publication of a cookbook dedicated wholeheartedly to dairy and the farmers that produce those products. The Dairy Good Cookbooks: Everyday Comfort Food from America's Dairy Farm Families includes 115 recipes, with many being contributed by dairy farmers. That includes Lance and Joanna Schutte's, of Jolane Dairy near Monona, Iowa, chunky baked potato chowder recipe and the vanilla eggnog from Bill and Merri Post of Middleroad Acres outside Chandler, Minn. The book is loaded with full color pictures, stories of dairy cows and farm life and includes a forward by Carla Hall of ABC's "The Chew."

"The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories from the Farm of My Youth"

by Alan Guebert

Published 2015

152 pages


Agricultural journalist and columnist Alan Guebert worked with his daughter, Mary Grace Foxwell, to revisit his youth on Indian Farm in Illinois. The dairy farm, at 720 acres, was a large one for its time a half-century ago and, as often is the case, the people colored Guebert's experience of growing up and working there. Uncle Honey, who was often at war with machinery and prone to setting fires, made a particular impression on Guebert. Whether there was trouble or smooth sailing, Guebert's book encapsulates farm life at a time when the work was hard and the pleasures were simple.

"Big Tractors with Casey and Friends" and "Combines with Casey and Friends"

by Holly Dufek

Published 2015

32 pages each

Case IH makes farming fun for machinery-oriented kids with Big Tractors and Combines. Pulling in the Casey and Friends team, the books use illustrations, photographs and fun details to show and tell about the machines, their implements and the kinds of work they do. Did you know a Steiger weighs more than 44 cows? Or that farmers have gone from 300 hours in the 1800s to 3.5 minutes in 2015 to harvest 100 bushels of wheat? The books also include historical perspective, from the roots of horsepower to the evolution of tractor design. Tillus the earthworm likes to talk about science related to the subject at hand, whether it's how power take-offs work or the process combines use to clean grain. A glossary and fun facts round out each book.

"The Birchwood Café Cookbook: Good Real Food"

by Tracy Singleton and Marshall Paulsen with Beth Dooley


Published 2015

200 pages

A pioneer in farm-to-table food in the Twin Cities, the Birchwood Café is built on serving dishes made with fresh ingredients from local farms. Owner Tracy Singleton and chef Marshall Paulsen have captured many favorites from the café, made suitable for home cooking, in this cookbook. Along the way, they've captured stories of some of the Midwestern farmers they work with. The cookbook is divided into eight seasons, including times like Scorch and Dusk, accounting for the shades of change the North experiences and the bounty each change in environment brings.

"Surrendering the Reins"

by Les Graham

Published 2015

198 pages

Minnesota author Les Graham continues what he started in Jude's Gentle Giants with a new novel called "Surrendering the Reins." The sequel continues to follow Jude Bonner, who grew up on a farm outside Belgrade, Minn. Readers can follow Jude through life on the farm while he works with his Percheron draft horses, Joe and Pete. As Jude grows into adulthood, he faces challenges on the farm and at home. Though Joe and Pete need Jude and Jude needs his horses, adversity leans on Jude to turn to God through it all.


"Red Combines 1915-2015: The Authoritative Guide to International Harvester and Case IH Harvesting Equipment"

by Lee Klancher

Published 2015

384 pages

If you've outgrown Combines with Casey and Friends, but still love red in the field at harvest time, Lee Klancher has crafted the book for you. "Red Combines 1915-2015" is a masterful coffee table volume. It tells the story of how harvesting equipment revolutionized harvest for farmers across the United States and beyond and gives a tip of the hat to those who invented the mighty combine. Stunning drawings and photography bring machines of the past to life. Stories from authors and researchers bring vibrancy to the research and development process and Case IH worked to refine combines.

"Minnesota Weather Almanac: Second Edition, Completely Updated for the New Normals"

by Mark Seeley

Published 2015


344 pages

When Minnesota state climatologist and meteorologist Mark Seeley wrote the first edition of his "Minnesota Weather Almanac," it was 10 years ago. A lot can change in 10 years, according to Seeley's second edition of his all-things-Minnesota-climate-and-weather tome, especially 10-year normals for highs, lows and precipitation. New ones, using 1981-2010 averages, are included in this edition. Seeley brings a human element to cataloging the state's weather, throwing in stories here and there and including profiles of weather folks from around the state. There are also enough trivia tidbits to keep you on top of discussions at the coffee shop and Seeley's book is not shy about the numbers, either, of course, with plenty of charts, tables and maps.

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