Archive for the ‘water’ Category

Tokyo Here I Come

Posted: September 8, 2014 in agriculture, farming, seed, technology, water

As many people know, agriculture, especially corn, is near and dear to my heart. Getting to talk to groups about what we do in Nebraska and specifically on our farm is something I love to do. So when the opportunity arose for me to travel with US Grains Council on a trade mission to Japan and Korea I was more than willing to accept the challenge of presenting half way around the world.

One of the great partnerships the Nebraska Corn Board has is with the US Grains Council (USGC). We are proud supporters of them, understanding the importance of foreign markets to the farmers in the United States. With these foreign markets we have many great rewards and many challenges depending on the quality and quantity of the crop produced. Because of this, it is important to get farmers in front of the foreign markets from time to time.

This year I have the privilege to be one of those “faces of the American corn farmer”. As it turns out I also get to be the technology spokesman, which is something that I thoroughly enjoy. And I get to spend this time with 4 other farmers from some of the major corn growing states. They are
– Denny Vennekotter, Ohio Corn Marketing Program
– Dan Cole, Illinois Corn Growers Association
– Kevin Hurst, Missouri Corn Growers Association

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– Carl Jardon, Iowa Corn Growers Association
Also on the trip are
– Sean Broderick, CHS

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– Lyndsey Erb-Sharkey, Director of Industry Relations, USGC
– Manuel Sanchez, Manager of Global Trade, USGC

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– Tetsuo (Tommy) Hamamoto, Director USGC Japan

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After a long day of travel with a couple hour “maintenance” delay in Denver, we hit the ground in Tokyo, made it through customs, changed the dollar to Yen and crashed at the hotel.

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Outside our hotel

On Monday morning we found my home away from home…Starbucks. It did cost me about 50% more than back home but it was worth it. After this we had our briefing meeting at USGC’s Tokyo Office followed by an amazing lunch.

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This all lead up to our first official presentation in the afternoon in front of different Japanese groups and media. This was a great time which allowed me to appreciate the challenges in communication. As I was presenting in English they needed to translate into Japanese. The challenge was speaking mainly in 2 sentence bullet points so as not to get too far ahead of the interpreter. But it was a great and receptive audience which had very good questions.

Kevin Hurst gave a great “farmer” look at the 2014 corn crop followed by an overall look at the corn crop from Manuel Sanchez. After this was a great look from Sean Broderick at DDGs with the pricing, usage worldwide and consistency of the overall product.

The importance of explaining how we do things in America to produce our corn crop should never be forgotten or minimized. We need to continue to spread this message whether to our neighbors down the street or our neighbors across the globe.

Tomorrow is another day of meetings but with more face to face time instead of a seminar format. We will see what tomorrow holds.

This year on Hunnicutt Farms has been dry. Not the devastating drought dry but dry enough that irrigation has been going on sporadically for a month in the area. Farmers are watering corn, soybeans and seed corn.

The same is true for our Obsession II sweet corn. This is our crop that I baby. Yes it doesn’t bring in any income but the reward of smiles on my family’s face is payment enough.

So yesterday I used the tractor and hiller to create a ditch to run water down. After I got done, my cousin’s hired man set out the garden hose and the watering contraption that my cousin built. Slowly but surely water started traveling down the ditch I made.

I can’t wait to enjoy this patch of sweet corn. My family was able to try some a couple weeks ago when Monsanto graciously sent us a sample to tease our tastebuds for what we will have in a few short weeks.

I can taste the juices already.