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Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour: Learning from Mr. Jones

00:00AM Sep 05, 2008

Mrs. Jones may give Mrs. Fields a run for her money in a contest to determine the ag world's most famous cookie. Since the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour's inception, crop scouts from across the U.S. and the globe have sampled some of the finest cookies to ever come out of McLean County, Ill.

Together, the cookies and Mrs. Jones' husband, Byron, have become legendary in Crop Tour lore. Jones, a Pro Farmer Charter Member and 20-year-plus veteran of the tour, is the first-ever Midwest Crop Tour Master Scout.

In presenting the award to Jones, Pro Farmer Senior Vice President Chuck Roth said: "Over the years, Byron has welcomed dozens of first-time, nonfarming crop scouts and media reps into his car for a long day of collecting corn and soybean samples and has educated them on scouting, crop production and the issues impacting agriculture. He's been an outstanding representative of agriculture to scouts from around the world.”

Jones, who was "speechless and humbled,” keeps coming back to the tour for the training he receives himself by gaining insights into other cultures.

"It's the people I meet that keep me coming back,” he says. "I get experiences with people from across the United States and around the world that I couldn't get otherwise. I've traveled with people from Japan to Argentina to the Nether-lands to France…I can't even remember where they're all from, but they're from all over the world.”

Getting to know these people is invaluable for any farmer, Jones says. "If we can't learn to hear how they think, we can't communicate with them and we don't have any understanding of their environment. How can we be expected to sell our products to them?” he asks.

Chip Flory, Pro Farmer editor and a tour pupil of Jones when he was a reporter at the Chicago Board of Trade, adds: "He's always been an innovator. In the 1970s, he was one of the first to drill beans after he latched two modified oat drills together. His keen insight on ag happenings has kept Pro Farmer editors on top of the issues that really matter since its launch in 1973.”

A Taste of The Tour
We can't offer any cookies in the magazine, but if you'd like to sample the world-famous Mrs. Jones' cookies, go to and click on "Cookie Recipes.” Mrs. Jones has graciously offered to share her secret.

Top Producer, September 2008