This Tennessee farming family has roots going back nine generations. That’s a lot of legacy to protect.
When you’re a ninth-generation farming family responsible for ensuring that an amazing legacy lives on, everything in the mix matters: the people around you, the products you use, the plan you grow by.
That’s one of the big reasons the Grills went all-in on dicamba-tolerant beans in 2017. They know taking on weed resistance with solutions like Engenia® herbicide will help deliver profitability — and therefore sustainability — in the years to come.
Rusty Grills and his brothers Hunter and Cody know very well how to manage their operation in a way that ensures it’s there for the next generation. Together with their dad, Jack, the Grills run their 3,000-acre corn and soybean operation in this northwestern corner of the state.
From the Grills’ farm in the northwestern corner of Tennessee, it’s only about a 20-minute drive to the state lines of Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri.
The brothers are proud, vocal ambassadors for what they call “the greatest industry in the world.”
“I’ve said many times, we farmers have the obligation as well as the opportunity to feed a growing population,” Hunter Grills said. “It’s very rewarding to go out and put my hands in the dirt, plant a crop, invest in that crop, nurture it, watch it grow, then reap the benefits,” he added. “My dad taught me early on to have respect for the land, and I really do.”
The Grills’ long-term vision for their farming operation takes a smart, day-to-day approach in the present to stay profitable now, and therefore sustainable in the future. And one of their biggest challenges is fighting weed pressure, particularly pigweed.
While rotation and other crop management practices have helped with weed control and weed resistance, along with other benefits, the Grills decided in 2017 to go all-in by planting dicamba-tolerant soybeans and applying Engenia herbicide from BASF. And they’re doing it again this year.
“We believe in a ‘start clean, stay clean’ approach,” Hunter offered. “I believe that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, especially with our pigweed pressure. Fortunately, we have dicamba technology, and we had a wonderful experience with it last year.”
Among the other aspects of their Engenia herbicide plan that made it so successful was the Grills’ proactive communication with their neighbors. Rusty explained, “What made it successful on our farm is talking to our neighbors before we applied it. We need to make sure we have a conversation with these guys and let them know we are there to work with them. We want to be sure we’re neighbors at the end of the year as well as the beginning of the year. If there is a certain (neighboring) crop that we’re concerned about, we may plant corn instead to rotate the field.”
When a decision to use an effective weed management solution helps the farm maintain its profitability, it also helps sustain the operation for generations to come. Rusty sums it up this way: “If you’re unprofitable, you’re out of business before long, so Engenia is definitely a tool we keep in our toolbox. This farm has been in the family since the 1830s, so we’re going to keep it around here for a lot longer, Lord willing.”
That’s good news for the 10th generation.