The VALOR class ended up in Suffolk Va for our second seminar and I have to say I was very impressed with the people we met and the agriculture we got to see on the eastern shore. Being from the Valley on the western side of the state I was excited to learn about the types of commodities that were not in our area, such as cotton and VA peanuts.
I would like to share with you one of our many stops on our tour of the eastern shore and that was our host for the second evening of the seminar at Rogers Farms. Now being from the valley area of VA I was not overly excited to see a farm that has 1800 acres of corn and soybeans as that is the type of agriculture that I see every day. However after talking with Paul Rogers about his operation you can feel the passion that he has for agriculture and is pushing to make his operation better any way he can. Rogers farm has been in operation for over 45 years and it has made a lot of changes along the way and Paul explained how it must continue to change to remain a viable operation today and in the future.
Many of the VALOR fellows got to ride in a John Deere combine as Paul harvested soybeans and discussed the commodity markets and input costs, but after many hours eating dust in a CIH combine on my home farm over the years I decided to check out the John Deere precision ag display instead.
We talked with Matt Brantley from John Deere about the Integrated Solutions that he is involved with in mapping fields with electric pulses in the coulters of a 6 row cultivator and how that is changing the way that fields are mapped to show a more accurate picture of the field and the soil types within the fields.
Of course it was a little cold and a little late to be driving the tractor and mapping fields but we did get to see the readouts and displays that the cultivator generates and how that helps farmers make clearer decisions on their crops and keeps from over applying or under applying fertilizers and chemicals, saving the famers money, increasing their yields, and helping the environment.
Paul took us on a tour of the peanut operation on his farm and showed us the harvester and dryers for the peanuts and explained to us the capital intensive nature of growing peanuts. He talked at length about how the peanut markets have changed over the years and what the future may be like for peanut farmers.
In the end Paul and his wife treated us to great homemade dinner at their hunting cabin, where we continued the discussion about agriculture issues and were joined by many special guests.
I would like to thank the Rogers family again for opening their farm and their home to show the VALOR II class what agriculture is really like on the eastern shore and being able to discuss important ag issues while having a great meal. Thanks again.