Archive for the ‘corn’ Category

As a farmer, what do you think your calling is? This is something I have not thought. Am I here just to have 40 chances to raise a crop? Am I here just to provide for my family? Do I just want to play with cool new toys whether they be big combines, drones or new seed technologies? OR is my calling a higher calling?

On Thursday we had the opportunity to meet with 3 different groups:
Korea Feed Association (KFA)
-Nonghyup Feed Inc (NOFI)
Sunkwang Co Ltd port grain handling facility at Incheon

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What was interesting with these meetings is that they all had the similar messages and similar concerns. While they really like US corn there have been major issues especially with broken kernels as of late. Trying to reason through this has become a challenge. Does the corn have a lower protein content due to higher yields? Is it due to breeding corn more to ethanol production? Is it because of the specific location that the corn is grown? Or is it due to the fact that 2013 required a lot of corn to be heat dried in many areas that deliver to the Pacific Northwrest (PNW)?

I think everyone in our group would agree this lead to a lot more questions than answers for us. It also lead us to realize that there are many things we cannot control when trying to deliver a product to a specific market. Each hybrid has different qualities when mixed together may have a positive effect on grain going to a specific market or it may have a negative effect. This is something that as the American farmer we may not be able to control.

While I cannot control a lot of these issues, I do understand their frustrations and questions. But even as we heard these issues there was one important statement that stuck with me. It was when we met with NOFI. One of the gentleman we met with, Na Sumin, made the following statement:

The US farmer’s calling is to save the world

We always talk about “feeding the world” but I have never had anyone say we are to “save the world”. This really stuck with me. We are the innovators of the world, whether it is biotechnology or equipment or software, it is who we are. We have the ability to spread that knowledge throughout the world. This knowledge is what will allow other farmers in other areas to become more efficient in their production so their families, neighbors and communities can eat better and have a higher quality of life. This is something I believe each of us as the American farmer needs to take a hard look at. What am I doing to help “save the world?”

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Market place at night

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Farming the world around

Posted: September 9, 2014 in agriculture, corn, farming

One of the most important things we, as the American farmer, need to remember is how important it is to raise a high quality crop that the world wants. Many times we tend to worry about yield, yield, yield. I know I am guilty of this thinking. After spending some time with our ag friends in Japan, I have come to appreciate the need to make sure that the quality of crop I am producing is the highest quality corn crop I can produce.

On Tuesday we met with 3 different groups:
Zen-Noh
Japan Ministry of Ag-Livestock Production Division
Japan Feed Manufactures Association

Every single group was greatly concerned about the size and quality of the 2014 corn crop. While we have heard how gigantic this crop will be, they have heard the same thing and wanted us to verify that this is true. We were able to verify that at this stage it looks to be an exceptional crop.

But the biggest thing that came up was the quality. We heard over and over how the 2012 corn crop’s quality was very bad. It was bad enough it forced them to go and buy South American corn. This is a big deal because the Japanese livestock and miller industries like to have a consistent quality of crop. This includes color, hardiness and protein. When they have to go to South America the color and hardiness is different which affects the quality of meat and eggs they produce.

While this was a major deal of the quality from the 2012 crop, they are also greatly concerned about the protein quality in the crop. Apparently when we raise a big crop the protein amount in the corn goes down. This seems to be an issue we are going to have to work on in American corn production. While there is no one specific factor in causing the low protein there seems to be some theories as to the cause. Whether it is weather related, artificial drying related or the fact that we are breeding more and more for ethanol production, they all seem to play a factor. But with the ability to meet with these groups face to face it allows us to reassure them that we are raising a very good crop.

At the end of the day, most everything we do is built upon relationships. Whether it is the relationship between and farmer and his seed supplier or the relationship between the farmer and the end user, they all help in making sure that the products coming out of America are still the best in the world.

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower                                                     (http://bit.ly/On7Hdt)


lead·er·ship
ability to lead: As early as sixth grade she displayed remarkableleadership potential. authoritativeness, influence,command, effectiveness; sway, clout.       (http://bit.ly/On7UNE)


One of the most frustrating things in life is when you have someone who is supposed to be a leader and it turns out they have absolutely no desire to do it.  They will give lip service to it and “act” like a leader but when it actually comes to making the tough decisions they become a follower or an excuse maker.  This doesn’t matter if it is an Elder/Pastor in a church, a coach on a team, a husband or a member of Congress. Those that are truly leaders will lead and those that aren’t only get in the way.

In agriculture right now there is a very important bill that is stalled out in the House of Representatives.  Many  of you know I am talking about the Farm Bill.  It is a bill that is not only important to farmers but also to the school lunch program and SNAP (food stamps).  Why, pray tell, is this stalled out?  It is because of the lack of leadership from the Speaker of the House and certain individual Congressmen. They have wasted 80 hours of debate time to vote on the Repeal Obamacare 33 different times knowing full well that the Senate will not take it up.  I have no problem with a symbolic vote but 33 of them borders on insanity.

In Nebraska, especially the 3rd Congressional District, we are blessed with the “Golden Triangle” of corn, ethanol and cattle. If we are not the single largest grower, producer and raiser of each of these then we are a close second.  Anything that affects these three things is a big deal.  Ag is the main driver in this district from actual crop and livestock production to irrigation and equipment manufacturers in addition to all the other industries that are ag related. When something as important as the Farm Bill comes up to the House and Senate, we expect are delegation to lead in the battle. We thank our Senators for doing this.

However, our Congressman Rep. Adrian Smith, is not leading on this.  Oh, he is saying the talking points like:
  –“ag committee only trimmed Nutrition Title by a few percentage points when the spending for it as quadrupled in the last number of years.
  –“Senate recessed without taking up a disaster bill that the House passed” (There is disaster relief in the Senate farm bill)
  –“we are about a year ahead of schedule when compared to the last farm bill” (A failure to lead then is not an excuse to not lead now)
  –“the bill would come to the floor if the Speaker had the votes” (Be a leader and get those votes)

I know he isn’t on the Ag Committee and is on the Ways and Means committee but he is constantly making a big deal about the caucuses he chairs like the Congressional Rural Caucus and the Modern Agriculture Caucus but being the chair is not the same as leading the fight in the battle for the Farm Bill.  It is time for Rep. Smith to step up and truly fight for his 3rd District which we elected him to do.  It is time to work for the floor and find the votes to pass the bill so it can get to Conference Committee.  It is time to show the people back here why we elected him and that he does think all of ag is important in his district and he isn’t just giving lip service to stay in power.  And, by the way, when invited to speak in front of a bunch of corn farmers, don’t find any excuse to not come. (That doesn’t show leadership but a lack of testicular fortitude to face your critics)

If our Congressmen are going to refuse to truly lead on these issues that we know are important for agriculture then it is time to flood their offices with phone calls and emails.  It is time for us to demand answers when we have the opportunity to talk to  them one on one. It is time for the editorials asking these key questions of “if not now, then when and if not you, then who?”