Today’s Agriculture

March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020

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 –

I was on the farm in Illinois last week. After that tough weather that we had to deal with
last year – it was beautiful. The soil is dry. Not the muck that made harvest almost impossible.
We weren’t able to get all of the anhydrous applied last Fall for this year’s corn crop, but when I
was back, the applicators went to work and now we are done. We will start planting in April,
and it is exciting to think about a new crop year.

In a little over a week it will be Ag Week beginning March 23 rd . When I step back and
compare today’s farming to the industry when I grew up, the change is more than I could have
imagined in that day. We had 2 old horses, their names were Burt and Bill. They pulled our 2-
row corn planter. Our planter today is 32 rows wide. We plant 4000 acres – not the 120 we
planted back in the day. We didn’t have any weed killer then. We had to fight the weeds with a
cultivator and high school kids with hoes. It’s too much to explain, but we cultivated our corn
cross ways as well as with the rows. We used a check wire across the field to make all of that

For 2 or 3 years my dad picked corn by hand. Then we got a picker that picked off the
ears which we stored in the ear corn crib. Later the sheller would come to the farm and shell the
corn leaving a big pile of corn cobs. Those corn cobs were used to help start the coal furnace in
our house. The same cobs were used to start the furnace in the one room grade school where I
went for 8 years.

Our hog production today is much different. In those early days our baby pigs were farrowed in a small hog house. We didn’t breed sows for babies in January – too cold. Barns are heated today, and we use farrowing crates. The crates help protect the babies from being laid on by their mothers. Looking back to the 1970’s, we were still having baby pigs born in the field – in the woods. Not today – Everything is inside.

We must be proud of our ag industry today with innovation, precision farming, volume
and efficiency. As we look ahead to a new year, we can celebrate a great industry.

Until next week, this John Block reporting from Washington, D.C. If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to