When I used to think of crop production it envisioned rusty equipment clacking across the field. The vision I had was covered in dust, mud, sweat and exertion. I pictured heat and rain and glorious discomfort as hard working people put the definition in tough and the grit in GRIT. There was plenty of doubt and stress in wondering if the producer would get enough crop in, or heck, any crop at all. I envisioned plows and fertilizer trucks and sprayers racing across fields to get the job done. There was only the cost of fuel and a weather map to contend with.
Sound familiar? Certainly I’ve forgotten about X Y and Z things that encompass crop farming and I’m certain I could use some schooling on how things used to be. My aim is to paint a picture of imprecision, in the light of today’s technology, yes I said imprecision.
Imprecise is to say “make cookies but don’t worry about how much sugar, flour, baking soda or egg you use, just make sure you use them”. What’s the end product? If you are like me then it’s probably dripping from the kitchen ceiling.
What’s going on today at many farms in Virginia?
Farmers like Paul Roger Sr. are now using cell phones to monitor the moisture of grain in the silo. They use the same phone to check the weather. Wait, I do that too. What’s new? His equipment is. He’s not lazy but he has self-steering tractors and harvesters. Trust me, I thought about self-driving cars in California too and how maybe that’s maybe a bad idea…. Yeah, but in the field it’s a GREAT idea. His tractors are GOOD drivers, NASCAR driver good. Just not as fast, not yet anyway. It’s all about efficiency.
Technology has caught fire in a 10,000 year old profession. Some farmers like to say they’ve invested their money in new paint – that is new equipment that’s not dirty yet. Nowadays it is agricultural technicians bragging they have invested their money in new monitors. Norman Rockwell (American Gothic), meet Steve Jobs(Apple). Steve, put your boots on you’re getting dirty today.
VALOR Class III met with Glen Roundtree of Monsanto to learn the newest line of productive and thus efficient products available to producers. Thank you Glen, and congratulations Clemson!
We met with Charles Green, Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Mr. Green reminded us of the plethora of services that VDACS provides to us producers and for all citizens of the Commonwealth. To the consumer VDACS may be the man behind the curtain, but us producers know the value their services bring. Thank you Charles!
Final thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. Your culinary talent and hospitality are unsurpassed. As we drove back to the hotel that night Megan Sibel took a call from Paul Rogers. He specifically wanted Megan to tell our group his trick above all others to being successful in the difficult work of agriculture. His faith and trust in the Lord. Thank you Mr. Rogers for your wisdom. God bless.