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Tractor Shows: In this video podcast, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser says a poem that began as an exercise in resentment became a love poem to a state.

In October 2006, dozens of antique tractor owners gathered at the Wessels Living History Farm at York, Nebraska, to show off their restored machines. This video podcast highlights the traditional Parade of Power

In the 30s, 40s and 50s, folks in rural America found inexpensive ways to have fun dancing to home-made music. In this video podcast, two women who would “rather dance than eat” remember those times.

In the early 20th century, threshing was a critical economic and social event. Several families would gather to separate wheat from the chaff using huge steam engines, horse-drawn wagons and threshing machines. In this video podcast, oral history interviews take you back to those days.

In this video podcast, a crew overcomes long days, thousands of parts and even a tornado to build a center pivot system.e times.
In the 1950s and 60s, center pivot irrigation systems were the cutting edge of agricultural technology and Robert Daugherty was a young entrepreneur. In this video podcast, Daugherty remembers how he bought the patent for the first center pivot system and then spent years improving the reliability of the system.

At its height, the Omaha Livestock Market hired 300 to 400 people to process six to seven million head of cattle, hogs and sheep a year. In this video podcast, both farmers and workers remember how the market operated and what it meant to them.

August 15, 1945, the news broke that World War II was over. Victory over Japan was celebrated all around the world – including the small city of North Platte, Nebraska. This video podcast features historic footage of the celebration in North Platte.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser says a poem that began as an exercise in resentment and then became a love poem to a state.

“Abandoned Farmhouse” is a poem that is reproduced in several school literature textbooks. This video podcast uses small details to fill out a full story of the lives lived in an abandoned farmhouse.

“Something is calling to me / from the corners of field,” says Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate, in this video podcast.

Because he grew up in the Midwest, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has heard perhaps hundreds of ways to foretell the future. In this video podcast, Ted Kooser reads his poetic renderings of folklore weather predictions.

In this video podcast of his poem, Ted Kooser says “Osage” is a gift from the Great Plains to the world.

No one but a poet would look out of a bus and see a barn “loosen itself from its old foundations.” In this video podcast, Ted Kooser transforms a quick glance into an imaginative evocation of rural life.

In this short video podcast, Ted Kooser explores how he feels when he experiences the “Great Plains in Winter.”

The former U.S. Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, reads “Tillage Marks,” a poem about the marks that farm tools make on stones in a farmer’s field in this video podcast.

For 20 years, Ted Kooser wrote a new poem each Valentine’s Day. He sent them as postcards to his wife and friends. In this video podcast, Ted reads a Valentine’s Day poem that still has a rural theme, “Barn Owl.”
When horses were introduced to the North American continent by the Spanish explorers, the lives of Native Americans, European settlers and American farmers changed profoundly. Ted Kooser reads a short poem about the primal power of the “Horse.”
During World War II, folks at home listened closely to war news on the radio. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser reads his poem “Zenith” in this video podcast.
Ted Kooser says that, “when they’re lucky, poets can give people ways of looking at the world afresh.” Here, Ted reads “Spring Plowing” One reader was so moved by the poem that she wrote she would never look at a newly plowed field in the same way again.
On any given day, you might find former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser touring country cemetaries around his rural Nebraska home. In this podcast, Ted reads “There Is Always a Little Wind.”
In this video podcast, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser reads “The Great Grandparents”. Ted remembers meeting them at the train depot and the sense of history that they brought with them in their very beings.
How did a nation of pioneers settle down and accept the limits of civilization? Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, reads “City Limits” in this video podcast.

In this video podcast, Ted Kooser reads “Memory” that, he says, is about the way memory works for writers. It’s also about some of the touchstones of rural life. (Note that this is a 21 MB file that may take a while to download.)

In this video podcast, Dr. Norman Borlaug remembers the events that led him from a farm in Iowa to the Nobel Peace Prize for the Green Revolution. Norman says serendipity played a large part in the process.
In this video podcast, Borlaug recalls the major events that helped save millions from starvation.
From Mexico, Dr. Normal Borlaug began working in India and Pakistan where millions faced hunger. In this video podcast, Borlaug talks about overcoming technological, psychological, economic and political hurdles to get new varieties and agricultural practices adopted.
Theodore (Ted) Sorensen was President John F. Kennedy’s speech writer and special assistant. In this video podcast, Ted talks about Kennedy’s farm programs – he may not have understood them, but JFK was able to relate to farmers in the same way he related to other voters.
In this video podcast, Ted Sorensen says the future might have been very different if John F. Kennedy had lived – different for young people and minorities, different for the economy, and different for the Vietnam War and prospects for peace.
Ted Sorensen remembers that early in the Cold War governments and families built fallout shelters and practiced “Duck and Cover” drills to try and survive a nuclear attack. In this video podcast, Sorensen wonders if they would have been effective.