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Crop Tour: More than Just a Number!

Aug 30, 2012

Now that the 2012 Pro Farmer Crop Tour is in the books, I thought I'd discuss some observations from the tour. Everyone knows by now that Pro Farmer pegged the corn crop at 10.478 billion bushels (120.25/ac.) and the soybean crop at 2.60 billion bushels (34.8/ac.). This is valuable information for those of us who farm. Confirmation on production and the potential supply for the rest of this year is also critical information. Thanks to Pro Farmer, we as producers have access to this type of information which has historically been very accurate.
The numbers are very important, but what is it that brings these numbers to farmers? The key ingredient as with any successful endeavor is always the "people"! Before this year, like most farmers, I enjoyed following the media coverage or attended one of the four evening meetings during the tour. The thing I didn't realize was how much organizing, long hours, thousands of miles, and dedication to accurate information that the staff of Pro-Farmer and the scouts are committed to for the entire week!
The opportunity to meet people from different countries is an amazing way to get a better perspective on global agriculture. The people I had the pleasure of meeting were fantastic, and it was a joy to learn different things about their countries as we scouted our US corn and soybean crops.
What a wonderful experience being a scout! Lots of long hours and hard work, which reminded me of fall harvest on my farm. It was exciting to see what the crop conditions and yields were at every stop. As the day went on it was interesting to average the findings for yields and then at the evening meetings see the results from our combined efforts.
I can’t go into the details of everything I learned this week in this single blog, but I would say this was the most educational single week for myself as a farmer! Even though I regularly work in the area agronomy, I was able to learn a tremendous amount from an agronomist from Argentina.  I had great conversations with a person from France who is based in Singapore involved in grain marketing. I had the pleasure of meeting a "grain originator" from Japan who was living in Chicago. I also had the opportunity to scout with individuals from New York and Chicago with amazing knowledge about commodities and other financial markets. I met some amazing farmers who were also on the tour, some who have been dedicated scouts for Pro Farmer Crop Tour over many years.
As I said in the beginning of this blog, the numbers are obviously the primary objective for the Pro-Farmer Crop Tour. But it's ultimately the wonderful people who dedicate their time, knowledge, and skills that make this information available. Thanks to the staff at Pro-Farmer and all of the scouts for a job well done!!
I can't wait to help out again next year!!


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