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Stumped on what to get the farmer in your life? Check out these eight ideas

It isn't in most of our budgets to buy the farmers and ranchers on our gift lists combines, tractors, grain bins or heated calving barns. However, we can find small, thoughtful, intentional gifts within realistic budgets.

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The Agweek staff offers some unique gift ideas for farmers and ranchers. Pixabay photo

It isn't in most of our budgets to buy the farmers and ranchers on our gift lists combines, tractors, grain bins or heated calving barns.

However, we can find small, thoughtful, intentional gifts within realistic budgets.

Our Agweek staff offered up a few gift ideas that might help out your shopping this season.

Keep your fungi growing, even in winter’s dark

If your farmers likes to eat mushrooms with their favorite protein-- or if they just can’t get enough of growing edibles -- consider buying them a mushroom grow kit.

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Box kits for producing edible mushrooms indoors, year-round, are available for $28 from North Shore LLC, Westbrook, Maine. Farmers who can’t get enough of growing crops might enjoy an off-season project as a Christmas gift. Photo courtesy North Spore LLC.

One source is North Spore LLC, based at Westbrook, Maine. The company, started in 2014, provides indoor edible mushroom production, all year-round for farmers and home growers -- beginners to experts.

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Farmers who can’t get enough of growing and harvesting in the winter might enjoy a grow-your-own edible mushroom kit as a Christmas gift. These are pink oyster mushrooms, produced from a $28 kit from North Spore LLC of Maine. Photo courtesy North Spore LLC.

The company produces sawdust, plug and grain spawn, a line of sterile substrates, and medicinal mushroom supplements. Introductory mushroom kits, to grow edible mushrooms with names like “pink oyster,” “lion’s mane,” or “golden oysters.” A complete line of sterile substrates allows the happy grower to produce their favorite dung-loving or wood-loving species. Kits start at $28.

— Mikkel Pates

A coffee mug that even Dad couldn't spill

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The Black Rifle Coffee Company x Fellow Carter Move mug is one farmers and ranches can carry with them without fear of spelling the contents. Black Rifle Coffee Co. photo.

My late father, Adrian Bailey, who was a farmer, loved coffee no matter how weak or strong or how long it had been sitting in the pot. He carried his coffee with him, leaving cups in random places; on a corral fence, on the seat of his tractor, in the shop, and someone would find them weeks or months later filled with a brackish substance that once was coffee.

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After my dad retired from farming, he mostly carried around foam cups on his daily rounds to the elevator, implement dealer and the bank. Sometimes the coffee he carried with him spilled, like the time he was at the drugstore buying a card for my mom’s birthday and his cup tipped. Me, my mom and siblings received coffee-stained cards for the next few years on our birthdays.

I have to believe that my dad would have enjoyed drinking his coffee hot from an insulated, spill-proof mug like the Black Rifle Coffee Co. x Fellow Carter Move. The coffee mug features a heat-lock double-wall vacuum that keeps drinks hot for 12 hours or cold for 24. It also has a snap-in splash guard that keeps liquids from spilling out and a leak-proof seal.

I know my dad, a World War II veteran, also would have appreciated that Black Rifle Coffee Co. is owned by veterans and supports them, law enforcement and first responders. The company gives back with each purchase.

The 16-ounce BRCC x Fellow Carter Move sells for $35. You can find it at https://www.blackriflecoffee.com/collections/mugs .

— Ann Bailey

A good set of binoculars to zoom in on what matters

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A good set of binoculars can help around the farm and ranch. Pixabay.

A good set of binoculars can sure come in handy in the field or pasture or sometimes even from your own kitchen window, especially in the winter cold. This is an item where you don't want to scrimp on quality. Cheap binoculars can be frustrating to use and get left in the junk drawer. Of course, in addition to using them on the farm, they are fun to have for zooming in on wildlife, live sports, concerts and other events. There are good binoculars made right here in the good ol' U.S.A. We want to free up those West Coast ports for ag exports!

— Jeff Beach

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Replicate restaurant dishes with an air fryer

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An air fryer can make restaurant-quality dishes in a healthier way. Pixabay photo.

If you've been wondering if an air fryer is worth it, or just another fad appliance that will clutter your countertop, let's consult some experts. My niece: "These are the best chicken nuggets I've ever had." My daughter: "These wings are as good as the ones at [big wing chain we love]." I gave a couple of them as family gifts last year and they were a huge hit. If you can't get to a restaurant you can easily replicate some of your favorite dishes at home, even a little healthier, as you use little or no oil for frying. Most retailers seem to be offering a wide variety of sizes, prices and types this holiday season, and some perform a variety of other tasks, like toaster oven. A sampling of what I've seen ranges from less than $40 for a 2-quart drawer style (good for cooking servings for one or two) to $300 for a deluxe model that can do a whole rotisserie chicken while also cooking your side dishes.

— Rose Dunn

In the land of cheese and honey . . .

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Redhead Creamery is named after Sjostrom and her three red-headed sisters.

Each year I try to find different small, rural businesses to support for gifts to share with my agriculture rooted family, farm (and urban) friends and my husband's small business customers. Julie Peterson of Peterson Farm Seeds shared this year with me she has previously purchased Redhead Creamery cheese gifts, so I connected on their easy to use website with prompt follow-up from the redhead in Redhead Creamery, Alise Sjostrom, who owns the company with her husband and parents . The company made some changes during the pandemic and continues to thrive.

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North Dakota leads the nation in honey production, which is produced during the summer months in the state. Danzig Honey sends most of its honey to a honey packer but packs a small amount for local sales. Jenny Schlecht / Forum News Service

Earlier this fall, I sent Jon Knutson a birthday/retirement gift of cheese from Redhead Creamery. Then, I ordered holiday gift boxes of cheese to pick up on their Fargo delivery route this December to share and give to family, friends and small business customers. Cheese is a never fail gift to share, give and enjoy with family over the holidays. Sweeten up the gift with honey, I thought, so I ordered honey bears from Danzig Honey from Wishek, North Dakota, another ag family business .

Every farm family I know likes learning about other farm families, their ag businesses and bringing value-add back to a farm. Give the gifts of cheese and honey this holiday season, ag products from the land we love to share with those who we care about most this season.

— Katie Pinke

Relive stress with a puzzle with a twist

A jigsaw puzzle can be a great family activity but it can also be a great way to clear the mind and relieve stress. For a different take on the traditional puzzle, a Minnesota company called PuzzleTwist creates puzzles that are just a little different from what is shown on the box. Check local game stores (Game Giant in Fargo carries them) or order from the website. Set it up in the house or the shop for a little winter diversion. And it doesn't involve a screen!

— Jeff Beach

A hands-free gift for tractor and elsewhere

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A Bluetooth headset, like this one from BlueParrot, can be a helpful gift for the farmer or rancher in your life. BlueParrot photo.

I remember the summers I drove tractor for my dad. Suffice it to say, I was not good at it. My attention span did not fit with fieldwork. I would like to blame the radio, which bored me repeatedly by playing the same songs, over and over again, in the course of the day. This was before cellphones were everywhere and certainly before smartphones gave us myriad entertainment opportunities.

Now, we have a lot more entertainment possibilities, but most old tractors still only have a clunky AM/FM radio. I suggest getting the farmer or rancher in your life a hands-free way to listen to podcasts or music or games. I've gotten my husband a few BlueParrot headsets over the years. These are great not only if he wants to listen to something but also for more safely taking calls while he's in the tractor or pickup. He gets a lot of business work done while also getting farm work done, which wouldn't be anywhere near as feasible without his headset.

There are many styles and many other brands to choose from. My husband likes a sturdy, over-the-head set that cancels noise. I prefer something lighter weight.

— Jenny Schlecht

The gift of ag knowledge and news

Ag news is a moving target. Policy, markets, weather and news change constantly. There's always something new to learn and some information that can help inform decisions made on farms and ranches.

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Related Topics: AGRICULTURECHRISTMAS
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