From the Rows - Chip Flory - What Makes the Crop Tour 'Work'

August 17, 2012 10:37 AM

From the Rows - Chip Flory - Kickoff Special

We're ready to hit the road on the 2012 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour!

I'll be heading up the western leg of the Tour again with help from certified agronomist Jason Franck. It's Jason's first Tour, but he's a well-experienced agronomist with Carson & Barron Farms, Rowley, Iowa. He'll be along to handle the agronomic questions and I'll handle the questions about the Tour and the results as well as lead the evening meeting.

I'll also have Mike Walsten with me. He's a western Tour veteran on the support side. He makes sure all the scouts have a ride from one place to the next and has been busy for months making plans with venues and coordinating the logistics of the western Tour.

And I've got an intern on Tour this year. She's been in the office this week making sure all the tools of the Tour are ready to roll. Emily Flory (last name is not a coincidence) is a Junior in Ag Business and Marketing and Iowa State University and will be missing her first week of classes to help out on Crop Tour this year. On Tour, she'll do some yield sampling and will help coordinate data gathering efforts.

Pro Farmer Sr. Market Analyst Brian Grete will once again lead the eastern leg of the Tour with help from certified agronomist Mark Bernard. Both are veterans of several Tours and are more than qualified to lead scouts through the burnt-up end of the Corn Belt.

Chuck Roth will be along to support efforts on the eastern leg of the Tour and to make sure evening meetings run smoothly. He'll have help from Tour rookie Joe May who will help Chuck and coordinate data gathering efforts in the eastern Belt. And Shelley Eilderts will catch up with scouts in Bloomington, Illinois, to help with meeting registrations and to generally make things happen on the eastern Tour.

Meghan Pedersen will stay back in Cedar Falls, Iowa, to help with data entry and to make sure our daily service, "Pro Farmer Today," is updated with the information marketers need. She'll sprint from Cedar Falls to Owatonna, Minnesota, on Aug. 23 to help with the final meeting and to help Brian and I write the summary of the Crop Tour for the Aug. 25 issue of Pro Farmer newsletter.

Julianne Johnston will also be back in Cedar Falls to work on daily services. She coordinates the data entry process for the Crop Tour and is in the position that when she gets busy, it's just best to leave her alone. Coordinating the data entry and keeping all the route sheets in the right order and headed in the right direction is a bit like herding cats. Helping to keep the cats corralled is Pro Farmer Inputs Monitor reporter Davis Michaelsen. He's a Tour rookie and will be learning the ropes of how the Tour functions at the Pro Farmer headquarters.

Data entry duties fall to Jo Weidman, Carrie Neil and who ever else we can recruit to punch in numbers.

I'm sure I've forgotten to mention somebody, and each person mentioned (and those I haven't) are absolutely critical to make the Crop Tour work. Without each person doing the job they've been assigned for the most hectic week of the year at Pro Farmer, you'd notice. Information flow from the Tour would get logjammed, meeting attendees wouldn't get fed and scouts would undoubtedly be left in Grand Island, NE, or Fishers, IN, or some cafe` along the way!

Crop Tour is a team effort -- and I thought you should all know how much effort goes into this industry event.

The western leg of the Tour will run 9 routes each day with a total of 45 scouts.

The eastern leg of the Tour will run 12 routes each day with a total of 60 scouts.

Hopefully (and prayerfully) we'll all make it to Owatonna on Aug. 23 accident-free and full of newly discovered information. And -- without a doubt -- we'll all have some new friends made in Midwest corn and soybean fields!

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