I was invited to speak at another agriculture conference this past week, in St. Louis. This was the thirty-first National No-Till Conference, presented by Lessiter Media, which publishes the “No-Till Farmer” magazine and other periodicals and books, plus Podcasts. I’ve attended all thirty-one conferences.
The conference had about fifty presenters so I can’t list ‘em all. David Hula of Virginia, Randy Dowdy (Georgia), and Russell Hendricks (North Carolina), are champion corn growers who shared their tips to increase production. Marion Calmer (Illinois) has done research on his farm for thirty years and designed innovative components for corn harvesting with combines. Phil Needham (Kentucky) shared tips for wheat growers to increase production and profits, such as planting in rows spaced 5 inches apart.
Two others who have developed new technology and equipment to make grain farming more efficient are Rob Saik (Alberta, Canada) and Gregg Sauder (Illinois). Several leading farmers and university professors also spoke at the conference which lasted from Tuesday to Friday. I’m mentioning this because my talk on Friday morning (presented with Vinayak Shedekar, a new Assistant Professor at Ohio State University) was a review of the latest practical no-till research and a look at the future. By Friday, half of the “future” technology we planned to talk about (including new uses of drones and robots) had already been introduced by previous speakers who had developed and were using it. That shows you how fast technology is advancing to make food production more economical and environmentally friendly.
At the beginning of the conference on Tuesday, I was the Moderator for a series of presentations by 10 companies with innovative products to make farming more efficient (and therefore reduce the cost of food). To wrap up the conference on Friday, I moderated a panel of three farmers who shared 50 tips on growing soybeans. As I closed the conference with about 800 farmers who plant crops without plowing the ground, I slipped in a favorite Will Rogers quote from 99 years ago, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”
While I was occupied in St. Louis, we learned about some questionable decisions by people who ought to know better. When Joe Biden left office as Vice-President in January 2017, he took a few boxes of Top Secret Classified documents with him to Delaware.
Nobody knows where all these boxes have been the last 6 years. At least one was found in his garage beside his ’67 Corvette, another in a closet, others in the basement (where Mr. Biden campaigned from for the entire 2020 election) and a box ended up in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. These Top Secret documents were discovered before the November election, about the same time that President Biden was scolding President Trump for having Top Secret documents at his Florida home. This just shows that you need to be cautious who you criticize, because you may end up guilty of the same practice. This may also knock both of the old codgers out of the 2024 election.
In Los Angeles, the University of Southern California wants to ban the word ‘field.’ The last two weeks I have been with farmers and ranchers whose livelihood depends on what grows in their fields. I think those professors in the School of Social Work at USC have forgotten where their three meals a day comes from. Do they dislike California farmers for using water to irrigate their fields that they prefer to have available for their hot tubs and swimming pools? Maybe they should ban the word ‘work.’
Who wants to ban gas stoves? Definitely no one who has been cooking with gas for generations. But a few politicians decided gas is bad and we should cook with electricity instead. And where does electricity come from? Forty percent from natural gas.
Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics.” WA #31, July 15, 1923