FIELD NOTES LAUNCHES 2013 SEASON, MEETS MARYLAND FARMER JENNIE SCHMIDT

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(Posted Fri. Apr 5th, 2013)

April 5: This week, the National Corn Growers Association launches the third 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 meets Jennie Schmidt, who farms a diversified operation with her husband on the eastern coast of Maryland. While her grandfather-in-law began the farm when he emigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1920s as a more traditional farm and ranch, the Schmidts now have moved from raising hogs and cattle to raising vineyard vines, green beans and tomatoes alongside their soybean and corn fields.

This week, Schmidt began planting the vineyard, which she custom grows following the specifications outlined by her clients. Explaining that the process is more similar to planting trees, she notes that the technology she uses varies as she travels from client to client yet, while not as precise as the equipment used in her grain operation, the movement toward precision farming has greatly improved in this sector of agriculture as well.

Explaining how the weather is affecting their work this year, Schmidt explains that a cold spring may delay corn planting in her area.

“This morning, the temperature was 24 degrees and we had frost on the ground,” she said. “That has been true for most of the month of April although, of course, we are only a week into it. Right now, we are going to be pushed back probably about two weeks because of the weather. The soil temperatures have been running in the low to mid 30s. We are doing some prep work now, but this is definitely putting those around us behind where they normally are at this point in the spring.”

To listen to the full interview, 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.