Editor's Notebook: Fighting For Every Bushel

08:35PM Jul 29, 2008
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Intense global demand, diminishing stocks and one of the most frustrating growing seasons in memory has all of agriculture fighting for every bushel. Even the crops seem to be fighting. My 700 windshield miles through the heartland this weekend tore at my heart.

The scraggly corn with enormous empty pockets was struggling to catch up, and many soybeans were just punching through ground packed by pounding rains. You could almost see today's powerful genetics at work, maximizing every heat unit.

Even so, it's heartbreaking to see crops looking like that when the corn is normally towering overhead and the beans are bushed out.

In neighboring fields, wheat combines were flying across the fields, trying to make up for lost time, and balers were wrapping up hay ahead of the storm clouds and booming thunder. I could feel the stress.

Along the river, field after field lay idle, reminding me that the worst crop is no crop at all.

A farmer friend summed it up well: "I'm trying to forget about this spring and growing season and focus on the fall. I'm praying for a late frost, a dry harvest and the chance to rip every compacted acre I have.”

High-dollar diesel won't stop him from getting his ground in shape and poised for the next crop. That's the forward-thinking resilience that makes farmers and agriculture great. This year will be talked about for decades by old-timers and future generations, but keep fighting for those bushels—and the crops to come.