Financial Analyst for JP Morgan
While Peter Meyer is not a farmer, knowing how corn and soybeans are progressing is still extremely important to him. Meyer is an agriculture product specialist for JP Morgan, and he is attending his second year on the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour.
"Part of my job is to talk to clients about what we see on the fundamentals side,” he says. "The honesty of the farmers on the Tour is invaluable.” By having quality time to talk to farmers about what they do on their own operations, Meyer says, he's learned a lot about crop production. "You can never learn enough about the business.” —Sara Schafer
Victoria, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Molinos Río de la Plata
An entire day of travel, which can include 14 or more hours on several planes, to attend the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is worth the time to Alejandra Sarquis. This year marks Sarquis' fourth year attending the Tour; she's now traveled both the eastern and western legs twice.
Sarquis, a crop researcher for the food company Molinos Río de la Plata, says, "It is important to know how the crops, especially soybeans, are doing.”
While some production techniques are the same in Argentina, Sarquis says agronomic differences do exist. Learning these differences interests her and expands her knowledge. —Sara Schafer
Dow Jones Reporter
Andrew Johnson works for Dow Jones Newswires and is on his fourth Crop Tour. He says he keeps coming back because he gets to keep in contact with the people he's met in past years. Since he writes about grain markets, it's good to get a firsthand view of the fields.
In past years the crops have had a lot of variability, Johnson says, and this year they have been more consistent, with fewer issues in the fields. His advice for first-timers is to get in the car with the veterans and ask as many questions as possible. He says it helps you learn the intricacies of how crops are grown and to see what aspects affect crop yield. —Rachel Duff
Minnesota Lake, Minn.
Lawrence Landsteiner is a farmer on his ninth Crop Tour. He says he keeps coming back because every year is a challenge. It's exciting to see the variation in crops from year to year and get acquainted with different people, he says, and you're never too old to learn.
This year Landsteiner has noticed that everything is much greener than last year. The irrigation pivots aren't running as much as last year because of the good moisture. There has been more hail than in the past, though, he says.
His advice for first-timers is to listen, and you'll learn more than by talking. —Rachel Duff
Top Producer, September 2009