This week, students attending the New Century Farmer conference will be blogging about the lessons they’re learning and the friends they’re making there. The conference is taking place on the Pioneer campus in Des Moines, Iowa. Topics covered include the global agricultural marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management.
On Tuesday, July 10, we kicked off the day by visiting commodity groups, both crop and livestock based. During the livestock tour, Corey Geiger from Hoard’s Dairyman and Jeff Muchow from Iowa Premium Beef shared many points about trends and issues in the beef and dairy industries.
On the crop commodity tours, we engaged with the Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Corn Growers. Our discussions ranged from global communication and trade efforts to issues facing beginning family farmers transitioning from one generation to the next.
Peter Woltz of Timber Ridge Cattle Co. shared his knowledge of marketing and niche marketing from the standpoint of his own flax-fed beef cattle operation. From Peter, we learned that we have to think outside of the box for new opportunities and enterprises. We must realize that our enterprises may take us down many avenues and that we must keep an open mind to expansion or alternate avenues.
The highlight of the day was having the privilege of touring the research plots, labs, and state of the art greenhouses at Pioneer Hi-Bred International. We gained valuable insight into what goes into the crop development phase to make our hybrids as vigorous as possible. It was very clear that research and customer satisfaction are Pioneer’s leading priorities. Their dedication to the American and global consumer will continue to allow them to make strides in yield innovation. Their support of this program is invaluable!
The theme of today at NCF was “Planting the seed for your vision!” We took some time out of the day to work on the first draft of our visions, and what we foresee for our operations in the future. It was a very eye opening experience to take a look at the foundations of our operations and think about what it is currently and what we would like to see it become.
Once again, we wrapped up the day with “Ag in a Bag.” We each brought 5-6 significant items that uniquely defined us and shared these with the group. This allowed us to gain a slight glimpse into the present, and as we hear each others visions near the end of the week, we may get to share in each others passions and excitement for the future of our operations!
~Chelsea McFarland – Kentucky
~Nathan Sahr- Minnesota
~Seth Menefee- New Mexico
The New Century Farmer program is sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business; Case IH; CSX Corporation; and Farm Credit; with media partner Successful Farming as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The program is designed to provide participants with valuable skills and knowledge applicable to their own farming operations. In addition, they will build a network of colleagues that will benefit them throughout their careers.