I watch U.S. Farm Report on channel 45 in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. I moved away from the farm when I was a teenager, but I watch the report regularly. A few years ago, I became more involved in controlling my retirement funds through stocks and commodities. It's astounding to me how farm commodities are more and more following the rules of the stock market (which are hardly rules at all!).
I typically enjoy watching your program a lot. I was disappointed, though, on how few examples were given by the men who had the advisors working with them in the 'Ultimate Farm Quest'. There seemed to be only 2 things to take away: get advisors and maybe thermal imaging might help your land assessment. Surely pressing the interviewees for a few more specific examples (small though they might be) would have been a little more helpful.
It's hard for me to believe farmers would be motivated to get advice because of the example of a single technical process that they may or may not have interest in using themselves. I know you want to get the most from your money on projects like the 'the Ultimate Farm Quest'.
***Editor's Note: Based on numerous feedback just like this, we've asked our Ultimate Farm Quest participants to outline specific examples of what they learned during this process. We begin with this response from Doug & Nancy Rupp of Stryker, Ohio:
The most important information we learned from The Ultimate Farm Quest was an overall concept that no one person has a corner on knowledge or a full perception of what to do or when to do it. Rather, there is a multitude of information and ideas that consultants are able to share that can help the total outcome for any farming operation.
In making informed decisions in marketing, Chip Flory was able to help our operation make better pre-sales with formulas that have been successful for other farmers. He shared information to help us better take hedge to arrive contracts and analyze basis improvements over time, adding major dollars to our bottom line.
Barry Ward gave us decision making models that we could plug into our operation to determine what fertilizer and grain systems (size, payback period, profitability and feasibility) are needed over the next few years.
Missy Bauer has been extremely helpful in the development of soil testing zones and writing prescriptions for variable fertilizer and seed placement. In addition, we worked on infared imaging and disovered some major areas of compaction. Based on this information, we have ordered a new planter which will enable us to cut 10,000 pounds off the weight of the planter and tractor. We feel this will improve profitability enough that the gain will pay for the planter over the next 3 year period. Where else can you make 33% interest on your investment?
The Ultimate Farm Quest has been both challenging and rewarding for our operation. We definitely appreciated the experts in helping us improve our day-to-day farming operation.