“A Boy and His Dog”
Today’s commodity groups, such as the Iowa Soybean Association and others, ranging from the grains and hooves to the fins and feathers, are key to the growth of agriculture’s many successes. Using the farmers’ very own dollars sourced from membership and production, we help fund university research, expand market opportunities and promote honest and fair regulation. And though there are no guarantees in farming, by using solid science and recognizing the importance of a healthy environment, agriculture is devoted to a strong farmer and consumer partnership. In fact, did you know that 97 percent of the more than 88,000 farms in Iowa are family farms?
Marking the Close of Summer
August is Iowa State Fair time where a million of Iowa’s closest friends come together to celebrate Midwest agriculture and all things food (on a stick)! It also marks the close of summer with harvest quickly approaching and crops racing to maturity’s finish-line. With typical August rains, the corn stalk transfers sugars into its ears to fill the starch packed kernels while the soybean plant fills its many pods with protein rich beans.
Just as my grandfather said about there being no guarantees, I’ve been experiencing the worst drought Mother Nature has delivered in my area of southeastern Iowa in nearly 30 years. With only one-third of Iowa seriously affected by a lack of rain, markets are not reflecting the drought. This situation becomes the worst-case scenario for farmers like me – a short crop at reduced prices. For me, crop insurance payments won’t start paying until I have at least a 25 percent loss, which at these price levels, an average crop will barely cover my cost of production. It’s very likely that my family’s countless hours of labor will go unrewarded for 2017. We’re not alone in this situation.
To this point, part of my annual planning is to incorporate top-rated, drought-resistant corn hybrids. Despite receiving slightly less than 1.5 inches of rain since the third week in May, I still have the potential to produce a partial crop. The use of modern GMO hybrids greatly reduces or eliminates the formation of cancer-causing toxins (typical in drought corn), which could cause the total rejection of my harvested crop. Regardless of the situation, preparations for fall harvest must continue.
Home-grown Food, Home-cooked Meals
Unlike my farm fields, I can regularly water my gardens, allowing my flowers and produce to mature properly despite the blazing sun and hot temperatures. One of my most unusual garden flowers are my “Naked Ladies” – or, as my mother would lovingly call them, Surprise Lilies. Combine these flowers with Cleomes, Phlox, Cone Flowers and several others, and my beautiful parade of colors and butterflies continues throughout the summer!