Union, Iowa, farmer Neil Hadley scours fields in August for signs of disease and clues about this year’s corn yield.
Earning the title of Master Scout isn’t easy. Putting in the hours and gathering reliable data is just part of what it takes. What really catches the attention of the Crop Tour directors when considering candidates for Master Scout is their participation and interaction with the other scouts.
For that, Neil Hadley of Union, Iowa, joins Byron Jones (Saybrook, Ill.) and Gary Wietgrefe (Sioux Falls, S.D.) as a Master Scout.
Neil earned the title for many of the same reasons as Byron and Gary. Not only does Neil have extensive knowledge of what it takes to grow corn and soybeans in the Midwest, he is also a very effective communicator with non-farm scouts and willingly shares what he knows.
"Through spring and early summer, I start to think about Crop Tour every year," he says. "I look forward to the Tour, but sometimes it’s tough to get away for a week and I start to think I could skip a year. In a year like 2010, the questions about yield potential start to build, and there’s no better way to get a handle on what’s out there than to go on the Tour."
The crop isn’t the only reason Neil returns to the Tour year after year. "When I think about the Tour, I start thinking about all the friends I’ve made over the years," he says. "This is as close as it gets to a family reunion without having any family around! I’ve made great friends on Tour, and I look forward to seeing them every year."
Neil looks out for his new friends on Tour, too. At each orientation meeting before hitting the field, Pro Farmer gives Neil the floor to offer a few tips to non-farm scouts about how to find their way out of a corn field should they get lost (it happens more often than you think). "Listen for traffic, look for high-line poles and don’t panic," he says. "Stop and listen … we’ll either be yelling or honking the horn!" —Chip Flory
Top Producer, September 2010
- September 2010