Down on the Farm

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association, CropLife America, and Renewable Fuels Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary –

Harvest is here. I was at the farm in Illinois last week. We have two combines – one harvesting corn and the other harvesting soybeans. Riding that combine and watching that big machine stop. Our corn wagon pulls alongside as our combine crosses the field. Corn is augured into the wagon on the move.

Our corn yields are pretty good. 210-220 bushel per acre. Soybeans are better – more than 60
bushels per acre. I can’t help but think about all the challenges and uncertainty a farmer must
endure to get to the finish line. Our fields were fertilized with nitrogen, phosphate, potash, and in
some cases and lime, right after last Fall’s harvest. Last Spring when soil temperature reached 50
degrees, we started planting. Oh yes, we had to buy the seed. Also, we had to spray on weed
killer. On some fields we applied fungicide by airplane. All of this cost money and time. If you
neglect something, you will have weeds in your fields. Most farms have to borrow a lot of
money to pay for all of the expensive inputs. That means that you better have a good crop to pay
off the debt.

Prices are better this year than the last 3 or 4 years. That will help. I know there are some farms that have experienced drought, wind, or other weather challenges. But unpredictable weather hits all of us from time to time. I have some river bottom land that can flood. Weather and prices are out of our control. In spite of the challenges – I love farming. I love to actually produce something that we all need. Watch it roll into the combine. Take it to the elevator. Sell it, then celebrate. I don’t want to forget our hogs. They are happy and healthy.

Prices this year have been much better than the last year. But we do have something to worry
about. African Swine Fever confirmed in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. We don’t want any
of that. African Swine Fever wiped out half of Chinese hogs in the last two years. They are
building back up, but that disease can be devastating. Now we have thousands of Haitian
immigrants flooding across our southern border. Don’t bring in any pigs or pork chops. Wild
boars could spread the disease across the country as they did in Germany and Poland.

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