(Posted Fri. Oct 17th, 2014)
The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.
Today, Field Notes caught up with Brian Scott, an Indiana corn farmer who also authors the blog thefarmerslife.com. Like many farmers, continuous rain has kept him out of the fields for a while now.
“Harvest here hasn’t moved at all since Saturday,” said Scott. “Because of the weather, we are sitting still and not planning on doing anything this week. Right now, we have completed about 25 percent of our corn harvest.”
Since a series of rains started in August, fields have not been dry in his area. Even a few additional inches keep him out of the fields as they have been completely saturated for so long.
While harvest drags on, Scott does see a bountiful corn crop at the end of his labors.
“The quality is really great here. The corn has dried down some since we began harvest. When we began, the corn’s moisture content ran around 28 percent. Now, we are down to 20 to 22 percent. There are a lot of bushels out there too. We haven’t seen yields under 200 bushels per acre yet, and we have averaged around 219.”
To listen to the full interview with Scott, including his assessment of the difficulties farmers face despite the potentially record crop, click here.
Field Notes also spoke with April Hemmes, a farmer from north central Iowa.
“Harvest is coming along slowly, and we just recently got rain on my farm,” said Hemmes. “We only got about a little more than an inch of rain, but our neighbors to the south got four to five inches of rain. Down there, I have heard of people who already had to mount a cable to the combine to tow it out of wet spots before the additional rain. This is going to be a long, wet harvest for some people.”
An active member of her farming community, Hemmes recently had the chance to attend the presentation of the Borlaug Council of Agricultural Science and Technology Communication Award, presented during The World Food Prize. During this event, Hemmes learned not only about the award winner but also a Food Dialogues panel on GMOs sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.
“At the end of the day, we really came away with the basic idea that we, as farmers, need to keep telling our story and telling the truth,” she said. “The anti-GMO activists can often say whatever they like, but we need to keep speaking honestly and openly about our industry and values.”
To listen to the full interview with Hemmes, including her account of the World Food Prize events, click here.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.